Lost in Transit in China !

Trip Start May 10, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2012

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What I did
Some unknown damp location !

Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So we left the fun, beers, tasty noodle shop and the Engligh speaking Yangshuo, our hostel advised us to get a bus (3 hours) to Lizhou then when we get to the station we can get a sleeper train to Zhangjiajie. So off  we went ,bus was at 11am so got to the bus station only to find bus was full next one was at 1.30, we had little sleep so were gutted we had dragged ourselves from bed so early.  I was not letting it go, we needed to get there in plenty of time to get train tickets.  I played match the chinese symbols (my new game its like pairs) and found the bus, lucky there was a guy getting on that spoke bit of Engligh, there was one seat left of bus but not 2 – so I got him to say can we get on and I will stand.  Anyway with much chinese conversation going on then me standing by the bus door in defiance – next min the bus guy takes my ticket off me goes to the ticket office – he comes back and waves me on the bus -I have to run get Marc and we get on the bus – RESULT – didn't have to stand either some girl sat by the driver hehe.

Our delight was about to come to an abrupt end though.  We arrive at the bus station – thanks to iphone app we show the taxi driver train station and we get to the train station.  So our hostel wrote down in Chinese we want Lizhou to Zhangjiajie on a hard sleeper.  I hand it over at ticket counter she checks some stuff and just shakes her head – NO. So I talk in English which she talks back in Chinese meanwhile the queue behind me is now tutting and sighing.  I walk away!  I get back to Marc sitting with our bags on the floor – I am guessing she said no sleepers available – we have had this before as it’s the Uni holidays !  This place Lizhou is not even in the Lonely Planet so we are completetely helpless.  I go back 2 times to the counter waiting in line about 20 mins each time – between the basic iphone app that is only good for one words or fixed sentances and the bits of paper the hostel gave me I somehow manage to establish I can get a "hard seat" for the next night – great ticket booked, bad it’s a hard seat for 12 hours overnight – we are defo not sleeping!

Not amused the next problem is where are we gonna stay – no lonely planet info and all signs are in chinese so its just not obvious what a hostel or hotel is!  Then I hear behind me “can I help you” these two wee chinese girls – after over  2 hours at ticket counters I could have kissed her finally some help.  So I took full advantage of this and got her to try and book our next leg of the journey from Zhangjiaje to Chengdu – but no once again it seems the trains are full and we are not doing a hard seat for 20 hours.  I am exhausted and frustrated I give up on the trains, the girls actually take us to a hotel and get us a room nearby – we needed cheap and were caught out as the reception was lovely so we just got the room.  Well in all our travels so far this was the worst room we stayed see pics.  It was stinking of damp, the paper was hanging off the walls and everything and for £8 in this non existant town it was expensive !!   I think we were just so glad to have a bed for the night we certainly were not about to go tackle the issue wih the non english speaking receptionist !!

We did however go out a wander and got some noodles then found a peoper supermarket woo hoo always good for a nosey of strange foods – see pics.  Anyway we get a cheap bottle of red wine some munchies and we are set for a movie night – our first wine since we started travelling as its so expensive was luckily nice – I miss wine, drinking beer sucks.

Next day we check out at 12 then have 9 hours to kill till our train.  Its back to the supermarket, I have been craving cheese – they just don’t seem to eat it anywhere here – delighted when I found a pack of cheddar, ham and got some rolls and we sat outside the supermarket for cheese n ham rolls for breakky mmmm mmm they were delicious. 

Thanks to iphone app it has a phrase “is there an internet café nearby” so after pointing it at a few people this guy in a shop takes us to it – its gigantic at least 150 computers, so for the next 4 hours we sat n chilled out catching up on stuff.  Had a delicious stir fry outside for dinner then headed off for train.

We get on the train and there is no question of a double we have a HARD seat after about 20 mins our backsides were numb we had to keep standing up and there was no way you could have slept.  It was a looong night, the animal carridge was joined onto ours at 6am all we heard was cock a doooooodle dooooo – I go to look and there are loads of boxes of wee chicks all squashed up and obviously the cocks in these bigger boxes !!!

We get to Zhangjiajie trains station shattered but I try again at the ticket counter for our next lef of the journey, same thing queue for 20 mins, I show her the chinese she checks it says now, I show her another date she checks it says no – I speak in English she speaks in Chinese or even writes it in Chinese to me god knows why – the tutting and the sighing behind me – you get the picture its horrific.  I give up and go back to Marc and have a wee cry – this is fooking hard work we are only here for 2 days and NEED to get those tickets we are against the clock with our visa to get out in 30 days and not miss the things we want to do. 

We get to the hostel to find they only speak basic English and DON’T book train tickets and have messed up our room booking – an english guy ourhears our converstaion and comes to our rescue and explains stuff about the hostel and how to get to the park we are going to.  He too has to book a train ticket, the hostel tells us of a travel agent that books them nearby but don’t speak engligh but its worth a shot – I cant relax till I know we are getting out of here in 3 days time.  So off we go armed with more bits of paper writted in chinese – this time she says to call her and she will translate – RESULT – we manage to get a train ticket sorted – lucky I read about a different fast train from another place so with 2 train changes now we are finally we are off to Chengdu.

We go for some noodles have a wee deserved beer then fall into bed its now 2pm in the afternoon we have been up all night – but we have train tickets – AT LAST !  We sleep for a few hours then get up wander eat then back to bed its been some journey!

Glad to get that rant out !!!! haha
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