Bus Station and Miscommunication

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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bus station

Flag of China  , Guangdong Sheng,
Sunday, April 24, 2011

When we woke in the morning we packed up our bags and began the trip to the bus station in Shenzen. It took us a little over an hour on the train to get there with 3 or 4 transfers in the middle (on the very efficient and super easy to use Hong Kong subway system). It was a little nerve racking once we went through the border because there is virtually no english in mainland China.

As soon as we stepped out of the building some official police like men came up to us and started talking to us in Chinese and waving their hands; needless to say we were a little freaked out. We initially assumed they wanted to see our passports to check our visas or something (it's mandatory to always have your passports on you in China as police will randomly stop you to identify you). After some strange looks though and some more Chinese and hand gestures we figured out they were asking if we needed a cab or something like that. We tried to politely shake our heads and walk away as we knew the general direction in which we needed to go.

We managed to find our way to the ticket office and with lots of hand gestures and pointing at our lonely planet book we were able to book the night bus to Yangshuo. Now all we had to do was wait about 9 hours until it left at 8:30pm. We initially planned to store our things somewhere and do some shopping in Shenzen as we've read it's a bargain place but couldn't find any lockers to put our bags in so we just waited beside the station. The was a mall attached to where we sat and waited and we took turns walking around or guarding the bags but there wasn't really anything we wanted and every corner we went around there was someone asking if we wanted this or that and offering to show us things. While we were waiting though I (James) managed to find a shoe repair stand and he fixed my broken sandle for $3, gotta love that conversion rate (and I was going to throw them out!).

By the end of the day unfortunately Jackie's throat was getting hoarse and scratchy and it hurt a bit to swallow. It had started to get like this in Hong Kong to though and from what we can guess it's from all the smog in the air...it really is that bad. (Should be interesting for her in Beijing where they say it's like smoking 70 cigarettes in a day!)

When it got time to board the bus we made sure to ask several times which bus it was just so that we didn't end up a long way from where we wanted to be or miss it. The night bus was actually really comfy except that I was just a little too tall for the beds but what are you going to do. They even had a movie playing in english (Avatar) which was nice even though we've seen it a couple dozen times and for some reason they stopped it right when they were about to have the big battle. After falling asleep we stopped a few times during the night at public washrooms and to pick up more people.

(Jackie: the one washroom I used in the middle of the night was like something out of my worst nightmare! I had to pee so bad from all the bumps in the road I was so happy when we stopped but my stomache did a flop when I went around the corner in the bathroom. Again we are in squat toilet counrty, which is no surprise to me and bothers me a lot less than it first did but this washroom had no stalls either!! The little stone partitions that divided the squatters were only about 2 feet high! Good thing I had to go so bad I didn't care and it was dark and everyone was half asleep. I simply put my head down walked to the last stall and kept my head down (cz if I looked up I would be staring face to face with the next lady squatting, ya they have them face to face too!). Not only did they not have stalls but these toilets were unmentionably disgusting; I really can't go into detail but what I saw in there would make a lot of people vomit!)

April 25
We made a stop around 5 o'clock in the morning which was around the time we were supposed to get there and one girl got off the bus but noone looked back for us so we did'nt think it was our stop (wrong again). A guy had come back to get some peple for a stop before that so we thought we would be told where to get off too but the guy that took our ticket wasn't on the bus anymore so we can only guess that no one knew we were to get off. So we ended up driving an extra 1 1/2 hrs to Guilin where we had to get another bus back to Yangshuo. Funny thing is that bus dropped us down the road from the bus station as well, thank god we found a couple from Calgary who pointed us in the right direction, another thanks to a chinese lady who led us to the hotel when we looked lost. Turns out she's the owner's cousin.....which I don't think was just an expression this time cz she didn't stay to collect a commission for bringing us or anything.

We got cleaned up and were very thankful to be in our own room again. We've either been in a hostel or a campervan since Feb.15 so it was nice to just throw our stuff anywhere and crank the A/C.

For the afternoon and then supper we wandered down to the pedestrian street (called west street) and looked in all the little shops and then later found a restaurant with an english menu to make things easier on us for our first night.

That night back in the room we went on the internet to see if we could access everything we usually use like travelpod, hotmail, google, and of course facebook because we have heard China blocks some sites. Sadly we found out facebook is blocked, so no updates and checking up on friends for us this month. Everything else seems to be working fine though; we were especially relieved to find travelpod working.
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