Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Nanning, 21:02, 25/03/2008

Having made more than my fair share of acquaintances for the five days I was stopping in Hong Kong for, I left them to seek Chinese land again. This time, I was determined to get from Kowloon (Hong Kong) to Nanning in the mainland. This involves again taking the train from East Tsim Sha Tsui Station to Lo Wu, crossing into Shenzhen (mainland China) by foot, then finding a train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou, then an overnight sleeper train to Nanning. Most of it went well until the last part, the next sleeper train wasn't until the following day (it was roughly 4pm at the time), this was contrary to the 16;57 and 17:10 train departures I'd read about online. Unabashed, I set out to find an English-speaking representative at the train station who spent a good fifteen minutes working out what I wanted to do and writing down in no uncertain terms what I had to do and in both English and Chinese, success! So, I took the Metro from GuangzhouDong (Guangzhou East Railway Station), and thirty minutes and one change later I arrived in Guangzhou Railway Station. The difference? Quite a few miles and a better long-distance network. Here I found a bus station of sorts, well, more like a place selling tickets, of which I bought one for Nanning an hour later at 18:00 for RMB190 (£16) and settled for the only hot food around, McDonalds. Coming up with about twenty minutes until departure, I tried finding the bus stop, which I presumed would be where all the other buses were, underneath the first floor ticket booths. Of course, my presumption wasn't correct. As I found out due to broken English and more tin-ba-dongs, it was ten minutes up the road in the back of a mall. I thankfully made the bus due to one of the people in the first bus station telling me to follow someone, which I did and all was well.

I had about five minutes to spare, but the bus was twenty minutes late anyway so I wouldn't have missed it if I'd been late either. I was dreading the journey ahead slightly, one chair, ten hours (at least) and bumpy motorways.. then the bus pulled up. Everyone loaded on the luggage into the hold beneath (along with a box of chicks, squeaking away), got onto the bus, put their shoes into red plastic bags, hobbled along the painful spiky red floor and.. got into their bunks. For £16, I got myself ten hours on a bus to Nanning and my own little bed, complete with small shelf, raised back, small quilt and pillow. Granted, I must have slept an hour through the whole thing because of my inability to sleep on any form of moving transport, but it was an experience I certainly won't be losing from memory soon. Right now I'm sat upstairs in the bus station in Nanning, no idea where I am due to it being 04:47 and pitch black outside. The cries of 'taxi, taxi!' meant nothing, where would I go? Silly taxi drivers and their thirst for a fare at this hour. Now, I'll sit here until it gets light and hope things get a little clearer.

No comments: