A Travellerspoint blog

Yangshuo

Day 136 – Thursday 7th June

So after that mammoth journey I made it here (eventually) to Ynagshuo this morning and first thoughts are that it’s fucking hot here!! I got off the bus and it’s like 100% humidity here and about 33 degrees, pretty much the complete opposite of what I’ve been experiencing of late, and the last thing you want when you’ve got your bags and you feel super grimey from all the travelling already. On top of this, this place is so fucking touristy, considering I haven’t seen a white person in about 5 days it was a very big shock to see so many, and a McDonald’s despite this being a tiny town. My favourite thing about China is that there aren’t so many westerners and you can properly get into the culture, so with all this and the heat and the tiredness I was nothing short of depressed to arrive here. So I got going on my short walk to my hostel, dropped my bag and had a well-deserved shower. Then I went out to go get some food, and got royally ripped off, that’s the most frustrating thing about touristy places, there’s about a 100% inflation rate compared to anywhere else! So I went back and just went to bed, I was not in the mind frame to be dealing with all this. After my little nap I woke up feeling no better about the prospects of being here, so I went for a little walk to try and cheer myself up. This place is on the river and surrounded by Limestone Mountains, which over the years have eroded into the most incredible shapes, so safe to say the scenery is amazing and watching the sunset with some Chinese fishermen made me feel a little better. I then went on a walk to try and find some cheap food, what a mission that was! At least beer is the normal price here (cheaper than water) so I picked up a few and headed back to the hostel. There I met another English guy, Adam, who arrived today as well and is 19! So rare to meet anyone my age in this country, just spent a while catching up on all the places he’s been and shit and as he’d just come from Hong Kong, I tried to teach him a few tricks of the trade about China, but he already speaks more Chinese than me after 2 months, so I guess it’s pretty pointless! We then decided to go on a walk and find the night market, we assumed that there would be some cheap food there and more of a Chinese vibe, but unfortunately we couldn’t find it, but we did manage to find some cheap street food so all was good. Then we came back to the hostel and checked out the legendary rooftop bar at this place, and it was just a sea of westerners, has to be the most I’ve seen in one place since I left Beijing almost 2 months ago! This whole scene just made me feel fucking uncomfortable and confused, so I quickly got away and after spending a bit of time on the internet I hit the hay.

Day 137 – Friday 8th June

Lonely Planet says the only way to really see this place is to get a bike and go for a ride around, and this place is awash with bike rental places, so me and Adam got up relatively early to check out the local scenery. Adam had a bit of a mare overall with the bike, after about 2 minutes of getting on it he slipped on the cobbled road (as it was wet) right in front of the place we rented the bikes! Luckily neither him nor the bike were hurt so we carried on, the aim is to make it to a town called Xingping which has amazing views of the mountains and the river and is the picture on the back of the 20 Yuan notes. After a good 2 hours of painstakingly tough riding (due to the horrendous humidity) we decided to stop off for a bite to eat. Adam then saw a restaurant and darted across the road to get in, unfortunately he didn’t look and there was a bus coming full speed the other way! Luckily he managed to pull back a bit and the bus managed to stop as much as it could, but he still got hit and got thrown off the bike. The whole thing was fucking terrifying, so lucky the bus driver was looking and slammed on the brakes as hard as he did, because Adam managed to get away with just a couple of minor grazes. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese guys had no sympathy for him, only for money and after threatening us with the police they eventually settled for the equivalent of £40 to sort out the dent on the front of the bus. They then gave us a free lift back to Yangshuo, so all that hard biking work went out the window. Once we got back first thing we had to do was get this bike fixed before we took it back to the rental place and got stung even more than already. After first hiding out in a restaurant due to the fucking monsoon coming down overhead we found somewhere which would sort out the bike for not too much and they even leant Adam another bike so we could go see some shit. This time we decided to go the other way and headed south of the city to see ‘moon hill’ a massive hill with a big hole in the middle which looks like a moon. After getting soaked on the way up there, partly due to the rain and mainly due to the unstoppable sweating we got to the top and the sight was pretty impressive. After that, we got back on the bikes and headed back in to town to see if Adam’s bike was fixed. Unfortunately after about 10 minutes of riding I got a bloody puncture and had to walk the rest of the 5km home. Once I got there, I got a shop to pump up the tyre and then I carried it to the rental place so it didn’t deflate at all and I got away with it thankfully. Got back to the hostel, and Adam had managed to pass his off as well so all ended well, and I jumped in a freezing cold shower to wash away the smelliness of the day. After this I went and got a McDonald’s to cheer myself up, haven’t had one in about 3 weeks and as much as I hate what it symbolises I do love the taste and it’s about the closest thing I can get to food from home. After that, went and had a nap and when I got up, me and Adam went to go find some food and get a couple of beers, then I got a couple for the walk home and I slipped over and cut both my knees and most importantly smashed the beers. So all in all we were a couple of walking disasters today! Got back from dinner and sat up drinking with some Chinese guys who just wouldn’t take no for an answer!

Day 138 – Saturday 9th June

It’s about a week now before my visa expires and I’m torn between whether or not to go with the original plan and head down through Laos or extend my visa and hang out in China a bit longer, I’m really not ready to leave this country yet. So when little bear got talking to me online and suggested spending a couple of weeks in and around the Shanghai region, I decided that why not, can’t be too bad an idea and it means I see more of China. So it looks like I’m going to Shanghai?? Anyway, after deciding that, me and Adam got on a bus to Xingping this time so as to avoid any unfortunate accidents and save a couple of hours of bike riding. Once we got there, we dropped our bags off in one of the hostels and we were told that to get the best views we should walk up one of the mountains overlooking the river. So we hit the road, and as you can imagine when we got to the top we were fucking soaked, I can’t deal with this humidity! It was well worth it though, and the views were awesome, so we got a few snaps then headed back down. Once we got to the bottom, we got a couple customary snaps of the view seen on the back of the 20 notes then hit the road. We’re in a bit of a rush because we want to make it to another village tonight, but buses stop running past a point. So we got on a bus back to Yangshuo and then jumped on another bus to Guilin. Once we got here it was already half 5 and considering it takes a good 2 and a half hours to get to this place and we need to change buses at one point and it stops running at 6, there was no chance of making it. So we bought our train tickets for tomorrow, Adam is heading west to Kunming and is going to be doing the route I’ve taken from Beijing, just backwards. I then bought a ticket to Shanghai, really don’t know what I’m doing and whether or not it’s a good idea. Ah well, time will tell! So we then found a cheap hotel just next to the train station and dropped our bags off and headed out for some food. Unfortunately this place is no different to Yangshuo and the prices and portion sizes are ridiculous! So after that, we hit a supermarket to get some snacks and Adam mentioned our room having a DVD player in it so we looked for a pirate DVD for the night. After spending a good half hour in the supermarket of Adam marvelling at all the weird and wonderful shit China has to offer in supermarkets and me just picking up some beer, rice wine and Oreos we went on a search for somewhere selling pirate DVDs. As this is China, that search didn’t take too long and we managed to find a couple English ones, and the winner was the complete Jason Statham collection, which was just 3 disks of about 10 films on each for about £1. So we headed back to the hostel to maybe watch snatch or lock stock or maybe the expendables, unfortunately Mr retard mistook a sky box for a DVD player so we had nothing to watch it on. So we sat back and enjoyed some Chinese talent show and got cracking on the crazy snacks Adam bought and shot the shit. After a couple hours we hit the hay for an early start tomorrow to get to this village and see the ‘Dragon’s backbone rice terraces’ which are supposed to be the most incredible rice terraces in china, the photos certainly make the place look epic, and I’ve wanted to go since I got to China.

Posted by travellingjoe 07:58 Archived in China Comments (2)

Hangovers, waterfalls and a lot of travelling!

Day 133 – Monday 4th June

Woke up today with the most horrendous hangover, so frustrating I wasn’t even drunk last night, I guess I just had too much to drink! Anyway, the last thing that you want when you’re hungover is to be fed with an array of smelly and spicy foods. Well guess what that’s exactly what greeted me when I got up, her Mum (god bless her) still hadn’t lost her guest spirit and had got up early to cook the most elaborate meal despite there only being 3 of us there to eat. There were around 15 big dishes full of food, and not even joking 1 would have been enough for each of us, but that’s just not the way here. She grows vegetables upstairs on her rooftop garden, and had made at least one dish for each of the different vegetables, there was a fish dish as she had caught a couple small fish the day before, a beef dish, a sausage dish, a duck dish the list goes on. All of it would’ve been fucking incredible, but in my state all I wanted was the dry rice, but I didn’t want to offend, and she kept pilling shit on my plate, so I had to just sit there and force down as much as I could without throwing up all over her table. Once we were down, it looked like none of the food had even been touched there was so much! I’m guessing it’ll feed her and her husband for about a week. After milling about the house for a bit, me and little bear got going for the train station at around 11, due to the immense size of this city it was going to take 2 hours to get there, and she’s not even on the outskirts! So first we got a bus for about an hour then got the cross rail I think it’s called (you know like a railway/metro type thing which goes over the top of a city). Once we eventually made it, it was 1 and my bus was about to leave, so after a rushed good bye I ran to get on, just in time. So that’s the end of the story of little bear! So my bus took about 5 and a half hours, nothing of note here except the fucking woman sitting next to me who wouldn’t stop staring at me the whole trip, which meant I had to keep my eyes dead straight, luckily the hangover was all but gone so the bumpy ride didn’t bother me too much. Got to Chishui around 6ish, with no idea where I was or where I was going to stay, but as always you just find a way, and after aimlessly walking down the street I found a hotel which would take foreigners and had Wi-Fi and my own private bathroom, luxury! After settling in and having a shower I went and got me some dinner, and boy ths place is not used to seeing white people, literally every single person in the streets stopped in their tracks and just stared at me going by, always a good way to make me feel fucking lonely, cheers guys! So I ate quickly, got some beers and headed back to the room to get on Skype and talk to people, rather than just have a conversation through the art of staring at someone! Got to bed not too late as I have a busy day tomorrow.

Day 134 – Tuesday 5th June

Got up at 9 today to get going on my big adventure, the only reason I came out of my way to Chishui, China’s second biggest waterfall!! Ok, that doesn’t sound too enthralling, but it’s only 1 metre shorter than the biggest one and yet it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as that one to get in. So I went to the bus station and the next bus wasn’t till 11 so I had some breakfast and sat around waiting. Once the bus did arrive it took about an hour or so to get to the entrance to the national park. I decided to see if I could make my way around on the high road and see the waterfall from up there (and not pay). So I took this random path up the side of the mountain, and after walking for over an hour, and being completely knackered (due to the ridiculous humidity here) I got attacked by one of the villagers dogs right at the top, then decided to call it quits and go all the way back down. It was still a really nice walk, there are loads of waterfalls all around here and it’s all set in this incredible gorge, which is made up primarily of red rock and lush green, so it looks pretty awesome. So I gave up and just went in the normal entrance, and after about half an hour or so you get to the first impressive waterfall, which I was worried was the big one and I had been completely let down, but then I saw the sign and realised it wasn’t. As I’ve already mentioned, this place was so nice, and there was literally no one else there (as it’s not the biggest in China!) so I was all alone on this amazing walk having a really fun day. Eventually made it to the big one and fuck was I blown away! So you first see it from the side where you’re sort of covered from the spray (which makes the entire walk there feel like it’s raining as there’s so much!) then you can cross over and get right up close. Funnily enough, this tiny bit of adventure didn’t interest any of the Chinese people here, but I fucking ran to get in front of the waterfall. Despite being a good 100 metres away, I got absolutely soaked, just standing there in my jeans and t-shirt completely dripping from head to toe, it was fucking awesome!! I just stood there for about 5 minutes and couldn’t stop laughing, genuinely one of the best things I’ve seen, it was just so impressive, the water, the noise, everything! Well worth the detour to come to this random place just to see it. After getting more than a few odd stares on the way back (due to me being soaked) I got to the exit, and after about a 20 minute failed conversation with some Chinese guy I found out the bus would be coming in half an hour, so I had some food and eventually got back to my hotel around 6. Unfortunately it was raining, and I needed a shower so I couldn’t be arsed going to the bus station to get my ticket for tomorrow, but I did go to the other bus station next to me and I at least know I need to be on a bus at 6:50 tomorrow. So my plan is to get on that bus which will take 8 hours, then get on an 8 hour train from there, then another 4 hour train, then a 2 hour bus to my final destination. If I miss that first bus, or it’s particularly late, as with any of the trains I’m screwed! I have about an hour gap between each mode of transport and every train I’m getting is the last one, and I probably won’t even get tickets, so easy to say I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 135 – Wednesday 6th June

So I got up at 5:30, after barely sleeping due to this fucking tapping noise coming from somewhere in my room, I spent hours trying to find out what the fuck it was but it just drove me crazy and kept me up for ages! So I quickly got all my shit together and got a cab to the bus station, where I arrived around 6. Thankfully they had a ticket, phase 1 down! So I bought that and with my time to spare I sat and had some food and tried to prepare myself mentally for the day ahead. This bus was super uncomfortable, and it was only leg one of my journey and my ass was in a ton of pain, it took about 8 hours and I arrived to Guiyang at 3:30. Unfortunately, as I expected we stopped at the bus station which is way outside of town, and nowhere near the train station and I have no idea what bus to get, nor can I say bus station. So with my best Chinese accent I try and pronounce train station and eventually just get on a bus and hope for the best. With China, there aren’t problems just very lucky solutions! So after a load of traffic and the most bumpy bus ride ever through town, I make it to the station around half 4 and go and buy a ticket for my 6 o’clock train. And result they have tickets, everything is falling in to place, my first train is from here to Liuzhou, where I arrive around 2am and then my next train is from there to Guilin, leaving around 3am. After getting some supplies for the train, and waiting for it to eventually arrive, I got on around half 6 and sat down in my hard seat. Unsurprisingly, I was incapable of sleeping as always on these fucking uncomfortable trains, not only that but they smell and someone is always playing some shitty Chinese music at full volume or some drunk men are playing snap for money and shouting whenever anything happens. So I just sat and waited, about an hour or so before we got to my stop, the guy next to me got off so I could lie down in the seat for a little bit at least. We got in at around half 2, and I was a walking zombie by this point, did a load of walking yesterday, then didn’t sleep last night and I’ve spent the whole day travelling. So I left the station, only to have to come back in again (normal procedure so they can scan your bags) and then sat and waited for my train. And when it did come, the whole thing was completely empty so I was invisagening a whole 6 man berth to myself to lie down. Unfortunately, out of 16 carriages, everyone was forced on to the back 2 so the train was in fact full. Luckily I had a window seat though, so I could rest on something and sleep, oh no wait, some bitch stole that off me and she’s sleeping and I don’t have the heart to ask her to move. So I have to sit in the middle seat, the worst of the worst! I try with all my might to sleep, but it’s just not possible, so after about an hour or so I give up and take my bag and just lie down on that at the end of the carriage. Not a bad idea, I actually managed to get a couple hours kip, before we got in at half 7. Next I had to get a 2 hour bus to Yangshuo, but that spills in to tomorrow, so I’ll leave that for now, anyway somehow I made it here safely and got on all the right trains and it only took around 27 hours!

Posted by travellingjoe 02:31 Archived in China Comments (2)

Back on the road!

Day 130 – Friday 1st June

Get woken up today by little bear asking for my help to hang up the washing, there was no power yesterday so they have a ton of shit to catch up on, and she’s too short to hang stuff up on the rails. So I jump out of bed and have my shower then get down to work, and she shows me she’s bought a bloody ticket to Chengdu, on the same bus as me later! Bit ridiculous considering the boss isn’t even in today and she doesn’t finish work for 4 more days, but ah well. So she had about 2 hours to try and get as much work done as she could and get to the bus station, so I had to spend my last couple hours here just hanging up sheets like a little bitch. The bus left at 1 and took about 8 hours, luckily they showed avatar and ‘running scared’ both in English. Haven’t seen running scared before, but that was a good film, and helped the bus go quicker, still can’t believe she just upped and left, all the girls at the hostel were like ‘you a bad boy Joe, you steal little bear’ I’m sorry it isn’t completely my fault, I didn’t know she was going to buy a ticket! Once we got to Chengdu, we went to the hostel I stayed at when I came here last time with Greg, ‘Mr panda’ and everyone remembered me which was cool. Always fun to come back somewhere and actually know your way around, and not be completely lost and unable to ask anyone for directions, plus it’s always good to travel with someone somewhere. So after catching up the boss on where I’d been and why Greg wasn’t with me anymore, me and little bear just spent the evening pissing around in Chengdu and then went to bed relatively early as it had been a long day.

Day 131 – Saturday 2nd June

The woman got up early today as she had to write a paper for college, and I decided to have a long lie in as I’ve been going to bed super late the last few days and I keep getting woken up by one of the staff in Kangding for some reason or another. Once I eventually got up, we deliberated what to do with the rest of the day, but both of us have been here before and we’ve both seen the panda sanctuary which is the best thing to see, so we decided to skip touristy places, and go to pizza hut instead. First we quickly went to the train station to buy a ticket to Chongqing tomorrow, where we’re gonna be staying at her home, should be fun to meet her Mum! Anyway, yeah pizza hut was bloody good, haven’t had pizza in ages and the best part was that I won 50 yuan on a scratch card they give you at the end of the meal, and that pretty much covered the whole cost! After we got that stroke of good luck, we hit the arcade to keep the hot streak going, unfortunately that fell through pretty quickly, and we just ended up throwing away a lot of money on fairly shit games. It was all fun though! After what must’ve been like 2 hours in there we came back out to the real world, and surprise surprise it was raining! Everyone says it always rains in Chengdu, but you can never believe them until you come here and see that it actually does ALWAYS rain in Chengdu, weird. So we ran back to the hostel and sat and watched a film in their little cosy DVD room. After spending a bit longer just chilling out at the hostel we went out for dinner at this really nice Muslim place I went to a few times when I was last here. Then we just spent a while drinking (me) sitting on some stairs that were covered from the rain, sounds a bit trampy but we were bored of sitting around the hostel and Chengdu is really cool at night, there are loads of high rises covered in light shows. Then we headed back and got to bed, early start tomorrow, can’t wait to meet her mum it’s going to be so weird.

Day 132 – Sunday 3rd June

Just going to apologize now for not having any pictures from today, would have been so funny, literally my biggest regret of the trip. Where were we, so we got up and it was raining so splashed out and got a cab all the way to the station rather than having to piss around with Sunday buses in the rain with my big bag. Got to the station, had some KFC then got on our 5 hour train, we could have got a 2 hour bullet train but that’s like £5 more and I’m a cheap bastard so we’re stuck with the shitty slow train. Either way, anything under like 12 hours seems quick to me now, it wasn’t that bed in the end anyway all passed pretty quickly. Then the day really got started! Once we got into Chengdu, I went to buy my bus to Chishui tomorrow, just south of here. Anyway then we stood around and waited for her mum to arrive to pick us up, then we found her and she spent the first 5 minutes shouting down the phone to get someone to come carry my bag for me to the car! I bloody love how well guests have to be treated, it just gets better for the rest of the day. So once I eventually convinced her I don’t care (through little bear of course, as she doesn’t speak English.) we got in the car, and she spent the whole time on the phone trying to find any family which were around to come meet the white guy. Luckily that failed as I guess they were all working, so she showed off all her English on me, ‘hello, good morning’ nice! Just couldn’t stop laughing, the whole situation was completely ridiculous, here I am in a business city where there are absolutely no tourists, in a car with a girl’s mum who I only a met a few days ago, and who’s had a boyfriend for over 5 years and her mum has pretty much decided she was going to marry. And I’m in the middle of china on top of all that, with no way of communicating, fuck I love travelling so many bizarre situations! Once we got to her house (kept getting lost as Chongqing is being built all the time and roads change every day.) we headed out for some food. And this wasn’t any food, it was supposedly the best ‘hot pot’ (a big bowl full of boiling spiced water and you throw loads of different food in and fish it out when it’s cooked) in the whole of China, and I believe her. It was definitely the nicest restaurant I’ve been to in China, and we got our own little room for the occasion. It was me, little bear, her mum, her step dad and her friend and her friend’s boyfriend. So as I’ve always mentioned the food was beyond incredible and the mum kept serving me more every 2 seconds, god forbid I don’t feel ridiculously full for one minute! Half the stuff I have no idea what it was and their explanations were a bit vague, there was lots of beef and pork as well as intestines (I think) and just loads of other really tasty yet weird things. So everyone just spent the whole time staring at me trying on any English word they could and saying things in Chinese to each other and bursting out laughing, it was all very fun. Plus, the step dad kept filling me with beer, and the other guy was like how many do you think you could drink, and then wanted to test me out. Very quickly both of them got completely wasted trying to keep up with me. In China, instead of saying cheers, they say ‘Gambe’ which means down it, and they kept doing it to me, I don’t know why they try and keep up, they just don’t have the same genes as us brits. Once they were tapped out they kept forcing me to drink more, mainly because it’s polite and they were just in awe that I could knock this stuff back time after time easier than water. Eventually the Mum even got involved, putting soy sauce in her cup and doing ‘gambe’ with me. The whole thing was just too funny and it was ridiculous how drunk the guys were after like 4 beers, they ended up forcing about 9 into me, I can’t complain, it was all free. Best meal experience I’ve had in China by a fucking country mile, and after she picked up the bill which I would not like to know how big it was, probably like a month’s wages for her, we all left. The Mum and step dad then went back home and me and the other 3 then went out as little bear wanted to catch up with her friend and the other guy just wanted to see how much I could drink I think. So, first we went to a snooker bar, and spent a couple of hours playing on a full size table, which unsurprisingly didn’t go so well (way too difficult) and he was wasted. It was fun though. After that, he felt the need to feed me some more, despite the fact that I was completely spent after that first meal, honestly they take hospitality way too far, but I couldn’t refuse so we went to a little BBQ place. Here we had some even weirder food, there was definitely octopus, and as for the other things I’m not too sure, but my time was spent drinking, so I wasn’t too hungry. He couldn’t stop buying me drinks and his girlfriend was telling me to stop him from drinking, so I had to drink the bottles for the 2 of us while he just stared in amazement. Then he really was finished so him and his girlfriend and me and little bear went back home, where her mum was sleeping in the living room to make sure she could catch me before I got back and show me the room and make sure everything was ok, crazy woman! I think she was a bit suspicious of me and little bear as well, despite the fact that we completely acted like 2 normal people all day, due to the obvious reason of her boyfriend, can’t imagine how nuts her mum would go if this came out. She doesn’t even let him stay in her room when he comes over, they’ve been together 5 years!! So that tells you how traditional she is. Anyway, went straight to bed as I was very drowsy from the copius amounts of beer.

Posted by travellingjoe 07:28 Archived in China Comments (6)

Last few days in Kangding

Day 127 – Tuesday 29th May

Got woken up today by the staff telling me that lunch was ready, loving these perks of getting in with the hostel workers. Normally I’m such a dick as their English just gets frustratingly bad and you get the feeling they are always looking for money (which they are!). I do always help out though, spent about an hour hanging up sheets after cleaning up the stuff for lunch, partly because I feel that I should lend a hand, but mostly because I’m bored I guess. The hostel was really quiet today, so I was the focus of everyone’s attention, first I helped out the girls with the washing, then me and Mantao (the only guy working there) sat down and had a chat as he wanted to improve his English. Quickly we got on to the same topic of how shit the politics are in china, at first I found it all really interesting, but now it’s just depressing. The thing is China obviously has some more flaws than other countries, but it’s just capitalism like the rest of us and there are winners and losers, and they seem to think that in Europe everyone is just super happy, which is definitely not the case! After lounging about drinking for the rest of the afternoon, I got my free dinner in, then went on a little date with little bear. First we went to the main square to watch the dancing (previously mentioned as not being that good) and I was forced to join in, great fun! Not. Next we went and played snooker for a couple of hours, and then after that we sat in the park for a while, all in all very gay! Moving swiftly on, as it’s all a bit lame, we then got back to the hostel around 11 and had to deal with the usual 12 year old crap of all the girls like ‘ooh where have you been?’ grow up! Quickly got out of there and hit the hay.

Day 128 – Wednesday 30th May

I decided to dedicate today to doing fuck all due to my need for some relaxing time. And partly due to the fact that little bear had to work all day and no one is staying at the hostel in the day at the moment, so there’s no one to hang out with. So I just got out ‘The Moonstone’ (book) and knocked a big chunk of that out. This whole episode made me realize I really need to get my ass out of Kangding before I drive myself nuts. So I headed down to the bus station and bought my ticket to Chengdu for the day after tomorrow. I know I’ve been there before, but it’s a good hub for where I want to go next, so it isn’t a bad place to stop off. Not much more to report from the day, at night though things really got started (comparatively). I went out and played snooker with Mantao and some creepy Chinese bloke who’s staying at the hostel. All he kept fucking asking was how much you have to pay to go to a strip club in England and whether or not girls were easier there or in the USA. These questions don’t bother me too much, boys will be boys and all, but this guy is married with a kid and when it’s literally all he asks and keeps trying to convince us to go to a brothel and shit, just seems a bit creepy. Anyway, got done with snooker and headed back to the hostel, much to my relief. Then I just spent a few hours chilling on the roof with some beers and a certain little bear, I wouldn’t normally talk about a woman, but the whole situation is just too funny. Can’t really elaborate on why, but it just is, women are very different in china I guess. Anyway, eventually got to bed around 3 after the freezing cold just got too much.

Day 129 – Thursday 31st May

Today was my last full day in Kangding, been here so long now that the idea of leaving is just too weird. Had a super gay day out today, little bear woke me up around half 10, and after a crap shower (water was scalding, and then freezing, so fucking frustrating!) we got going on our little day out. Mantao tried to tag along, but we managed to leave him behind, I really like him but I guess I’m just too ashamed to let him see how lame we are together. Anyway, our first stop was food where I had some magao mien (muscle noodles) a speciality here which I’ve had pretty much every day, just yak meat in Bolognese form on noodles, bloody good. Then we went to play snooker for a little bit, and after that we went on a walk to a guest house which was on a hill and is supposed to be really nice. But after passing a dead chicken on the path up there and seeing the outrageous prices just for a plain drink, the vibe wasn’t really so good, so we quickly left. After that, we went up to Paoma mountain (where the Buddha celebration was) we didn’t go all the way up, but just sat on there for a bit watching the world go by. Just thinking about how lame all this was is embarrassing enough, let alone writing about it! Anyway, I’m sure everyone will find it relatively amusing. So after sitting there for a while, we went to go see men in black 3 at the cinema (in Chinese) which was an experience! The story isn’t particularly complicated so I knew what was going on, but not being able to hear Will Smith’s legendary voice really ruins it, and the dubbing is just pathetic in Chinese. Add to that the fact that everyone answers there phones, burps and even 2 people fell asleep, there were only about 10 of us in the bloody cinema! Either way, I haven’t been to the cinema in over 4 months so it was nice just to see a big screen again. Talking of which, that reminds me of something hilarious that little bear said yesterday, she was like ‘you have white skin, but my skin is yellow.  At least I’m not black!’ HAHA couldn’t stop laughing, I guess due to the complete lack of black people in china (don’t think I’ve seen one) political correctness in this country just goes completely out the window. After the movie, we headed back to the hostel, stopping off to pick up a barbequed chicken on the way for everyone (to make up for me stealing little bear for the day) and got back around 10, don’t know how we managed to spend 11 hours together. To put it lightly, her English isn’t the best, so the topics of conversation are very limited, and half the time is spent by me just laughing at her (not in a harsh way) but yeah it was a super gay day out, but not a bad way to round off Kanding, back off to Chengdu tomorrow!

Posted by travellingjoe 06:30 Archived in China Comments (4)

Still here in Kangding

Day 124 – Saturday 26th May

Got up at half 8 today, as me and Caolan (Canadian) were invited out by a couple of the girls from the hostel to go visit some of the sites of Kangding. After about an hour walk, we arrived at our first destination which was the biggest Buddhist temple in kangding, and normally I hate this sort of shit, but it was actually bloody impressive. Unfortunately you can’t take photos inside though, so sorry no evidence of any of it, but all the walls were amazing sculptures, and loads of golden Buddhas all over the shop. I don’t know what it was, but yeah it was really impressive. Then came the customary photo taking, as it’s a weekend, Chinese tourists were out in force so we were stuck in the courtyard for a good while posing for bloody photos with seemingly the whole population of Kangding. I think the girls we were with were getting a bit jealous, so they eventually dragged us away (after getting a few photos themselves, of course!). It’s always good to hang out with Chinese people because, as I’ve mentioned before, they love to get on the topic of Chinese politics which is super interesting for me, still just blows my mind how fucked the government is here, I knew North Korea was bad, but I wasn’t completely aware with what was going on here. After seeing another temple which was next door, and just as impressive (if not a bit smelly) we went to one of the girl’s house to pick up some food for the dinner which we were asked to cook. Unfortunately, she wasn’t much of a cook herself, and after examining loads of different meat in her freezer, we eventually left with some pork (we think). Next we went through the market on the way back picking up loads of different vegetables, and then headed back to the hostel. After a quick nap, we got started on the meal. Unfortunately, we had no idea what to do, and whenever we asked a question such as ‘should this go in here?’ They would both say yes if you think so. It gets bloody frustrating when they feel the need to trust everything you say, and they don’t understand the change in tone when we are actually asking a question. We eventually learned to keep our mouths shut and let them do all the cooking. So after a good 2 hours of feeling like we were making the worst meal ever, it all came together eventually and we fed all the staff, and it was bloody tasty. After dinner, me and Caolan just sat around having some beers, then we hit the hay.

Day 125 – Sunday 27th May

As today was a Sunday, I decided to treat it as such. After a very late start, I stayed in bed for a while just lying there taking it all in, before eventually hauling myself out of bed for a shower. Then I went for a long walk (downstairs) to get some food from next door and then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon just sitting on the sofas and reading a book. I decided to start one of the big ones I had, as I’ve got the time, I’m reading ‘the moonstone’ supposed to be a classic, and so far so good. Unfortunately despite hours of reading, I’m barely anywhere in the book, it’s too big! Due to my recent austerity measures, sitting around spending the day reading is very good for my budget, so despite it probably sounding very boring for you guys, in the long run a few days like this are very needed. Now that I’ve sort of settled in Kangding as well, I have no inkling to get travelling again, it’s feeling really good just to take it easy (and save a lot of money). I did decide to do something constructive eventually, and so I spent a while flirting with some of the staff here, not only is this good for the obvious reasons, but it means I can use the kitchen here to cook my food, and they buy me shit all the time, everything adds up! Late in the afternoon, me and little bear (one of the girls, great name!) went to go get some vegetables for dinner, as well as all the materials to make some pancakes. They keep asking me to cook something from England, but finding good bacon or sausages is impossible and I’m not going to try and cook a full roast dinner in a wok! So I though pancakes wold be a good compromise, despite telling them all a million times what I was making, they kept asking when the ‘pie’ would be ready, bloody language barrier. So after making some dinner, me and Caolan got to work on the pancakes, and managed to eat them all before any of the girls really noticed (there’s too many to feed) and once we got started, we couldn’t stop, so good to have something western for once. Then I got to bed nice and early for a 6:30 wake up tomorrow, there’s a big festival for ‘Buddha’s birthday party’ not sure if that’s the official title, but that is what it’s being called.

Day 126 – Monday 28th May

Got woken up at the crack of dawn today, by little bear, then after a quick shower, we all hit the road. All the staff as well as a couple of the Chinese guys staying here and us 2 were all going together. We stopped of for some breakfast on the way, then got walking to the mountain, the event is taking place on top of one of the mountains here, I guess its sacred or something. Unfortunately, all Chinese people seem to have the complete incapability of doing any form of physical exercise, so after about 10 steps, most of the girls sat down for a rest saying ‘trekking’ was too hard, it’s just a few bloody steps women and you’ve got a long way to go yet! So me and Caolan decided to leave them behind, as we knew it would take them hours, and after keeping up a relatively normal pace (probably lighting speed for anyone of Chinese decent) we got to the top relatively quickly. On the way we passed a ton of people who were pretty much having heart attacks, and loads of others who quite literally just fell over in defeat, no wonder they built a cable car for people to go up in. We literally didn’t see one person who wasn’t making a meal of it, or just sweating profusely. Once we got to the top, there was no view as we had made it above the clouds, great! Every day the weather here changes in seconds, it’s nickname is cloud city and for very good reason. The layout at the top was just a huge stage for all the different performers and just a load of people sitting around the edges, I’m guessing they must have all set off at about 4 to have made it up there by that time. So we all sat down and waited for it all to start, and when it did it was very different to what I was expecting. Forget traditional Buddhism, this was a melee of cheerleaders doing ninja kicks and monks doing really weird dancing, and a magician even came on in the end. The whole thing was pretty boring, I don’t want to sound negative, but you just get bored of really weird performances after a while, so a couple of us left after only an hour, which means I did miss the magician, but apparently he wasn’t very good. On the way down, we managed to get some sunlight, and with that a really good view of the whole city, and we also stopped off at a couple of cool little temples on the way and the customary beer of course. After some lunch, we pottered around town a bit, as the boss wasn’t expecting them back for now so it was a good excuse to miss some work. Once we did get back, I went straight back to bed and had a good 4 hour nap. Then, me and Caolan went to go see some dancing in the main square, it happens every night and I was expecting some traditional Tibetan people doing some cool shit, but it was just a load of locals jumping about doing some pretty random choreography. We quickly decided to get moving, and went to get some dinner, after that we hit this really cool bar which was set out in a Jeep theme, with giant tyres all over the walls and shit. Here we met a guy with a really thick Scottish accent, which was pretty hilarious to say the least, and something I haven’t heard in a long time! After that we came back to make some pancakes for the staff as they’d missed out on the ’pie’ yesterday, fucking idiots! They all loved them though, and after some more beers we hit the hay. Caolan is off to a place not too far from here tomorrow, I’m still not in the mind frame to get moving just yet, so I guess I’ll run in to him there in a couple of days or see him once he gets back.

Posted by travellingjoe 01:46 Archived in China Comments (5)

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