Never Again, not this week anyway.
Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
132Trip End Jan 04, 2012
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Where I stayed
Situated outside of Lijiang (about 15 minutes by taxi) the new airport looking train station (open for just over a week) stands as yet another reminder of how well this community has recovered post-earthquake. Pretty much straight onto the train we settle into our home for the next 7-8 hours. The train is a two tier and our hard seats are basically soft sleepers which would usually take 4 people during daylight hours, instead holding 8. I would not wish the backpain I am currently experiencing on anyone (I write this while on the train 5 hours in to ensure none of the feeling is missing from my text). I ache, my legs hurt - smaller people would find it easier I would think (like the chinese perhaps?) however 6ft2 does not work well with small spaces - and the lovely and innocently pleasant, but sadly highly irritating lady opposite me is working her way through a field worth of sunflower seeds
All quiet otherwise, and the Beach Boys seem to work well as a soundtrack to the rolling countryside. Hopefully no more than 3 hours to go.
'Left a bit, Rock to the right, Wiggle forwards, straighten up'
'Left a little, Roll to the right, Wiggle to the side, Arch back'
'Clench, first left, then right, scrunch toes'
No good, left buttock in agony, Right buttock doesn't have a clue it's so numb. Right foot all but out of action. I'll never take standing up for granted ever again. 7 Hours and counting.
And we arrive - 8hrs 10 mins of pain. Into the busy streets of Kunming and using the map that is only in our heads after looking it up on the internet before we left Lijiang - we head for 'The Hump' Hostel (named after a route across the Himalayas). First time we haven't had a map or directions to the hostel, and it shows. We turn, double back and pretty much try every road in existence looking for the damn thing. I check my bag, and check it again for the leaflet of the hostel we picked up 'Kate is sure' from Panba Guesthouse. "I don't have it, lets just keep walking - we won't find it standing still". "Are you sure?", "Yes, I'm sure - It's nowhere to be seen".
We walk and eventually give up and go in search of a hotel to use their internet facilities. We ask at a 'Home Inn' (think this is Best Western), and they kindly let us use their computer. The damned place is about 50 metres further along the road we were on when we were convinced we'd walked too far. 30 minutes later, we're checking into the Hostel on the top floor of what appears to be some sort of busy complex of shops and restaurants. The lady asks for our passports as part of the check in procedure, and I oblige, and there, staring at me as I flick the passport open. The Leaflet. Drat.
Into our room, and settled - we have some food in the nice big bar - best backpacker bar we've been into so far and I play pool with some locals as Kate has a nice conversation with a Manc who's been living out here for a few years. We head off to the rock hard wooden bed after the long day and then fight to sleep with the ridiculously loud street outside. Kate is sure she heard gunshots and then quiet after a long argument. What have we got ourselves into?! - Either way we're stuck here for 5 nights.