Guangzhou to Guilin
Having purchased our bus tickets the night before by going to the all three bus stations, working out that Guilin looks like tree-ladder-tree-tree on the departures board so that we knew we were at the right station & pointing lots to get two tickets leaving at nine in the morning, we arrived back at the station to meet the bus. We were directed to a queue of people led by a yellow-jacketed man who then guided us back across town to another bus station where we finally met the bus.
Our bus had tree-ladder-tree-tree on the front so we were pretty sure we were heading in the right direction, but a German fellow who was alighting on the way wasn’t so sure but he joined us all the same. We positioned ourselves in front of the middle foot well to get a good view of the TV screen which showed a Chow Yun Fat film completely in Chinese – I have no idea what the film was about.
There was a Chinese man on the bus who wasn’t a great traveler, let’s call him Mr Pukey, about 30 minutes into the trip he squatted down in the foot well & threw up. From this point the foot well became the place for everyone to spit – right in front of us. When people spit in China they don’t just empty the contents of their mouths but make noises as if collecting saliva from their toes right the way up their body & spit it out as hard as they can to prevent it from jumping back in again. And EVERYBODY spits, which meant most of the bus passengers & right by our feet – it’s no wonder that everyone has a cold & looks so ill.
Anyway at the first stop we all had to get out & if we showed our ticket got a polystyrene container of rice, fried greens & a fried egg, which was quite tricky to eat with chopsticks, lucky it wasn’t soft boiled! Mr Pukey showed us the food again twenty minutes later. On every subsequent stop food was available in some form or another & Mr Pukey ate at all of them & threw it all up again twenty minutes later each time. You would have thought he would have made the connection between what was going in & what was coming out by the fourth time, but that didn’t stop him tucking into what looked like seaweed-on-a-stick.
Our German traveling companion was on the right bus & he got dropped off at a petrol station in Yangshuo while we continued on to Guilin. When we got there night had fallen & it was only just above freezing. We didn’t exactly know where we had been dropped off & a hotel tout tried to get us to go to their hotel. When we politely declined & said we were going to the youth hostel she told us we were going the wrong way & sent us off down the road in completely the wrong direction. In the end we caught a taxi who didn’t know where he was going & tried to get extra commission by taking us to another hotel. We popped round the corner to another hotel where a passerby came in with us trying to get himself some commission but we ignored him so that the hotel staff didn’t believe he brought us in.
The hotel was hideously expensive for low season China & when we threatened to walk away (not that we had anywhere to go) they dropped the price by two thirds.
Their Directory of Services had some great information:
Every quest room in our hotel has an alarm system & each floor has an automatic fishextinguishing & atarm system.
The eleventh floor is used as the chamber with mah-jongg, cheese and the card games. Wholesale business hours: from 8:00 to 2:00 at wee hours.