I am extremely annoyed today. I don’t know if it is due to the cocky Dutch guys, or if it just has become too much overall – already on the way to the bus stop two Chinese people with motorbikes try to get me to buy a ride with them. Standing at the bus stop every other minute another one stops, with the same intentions. And they only bother me because I look the most touristic! Finally some minivan stops and all of us waiting for the bus, which apparently will never come, enter the minivan and pay 4 yuan instead of 1. Most amazing is that we communicate somehow that we all need to go to the same place (the main bus station) and should share this ride. Without them speaking English. I am, once again, impressed by how easy this is despite the language barrier.
Getting the bus ticket to Guilin is easier than coming to Yangshuo was, but the moment I exit the bus over there, I again am molested by some people trying to sell me hostels, tours, rides, or their kids. What do I know, they only say “Hello, hello!” and the rest is up to hand and feet. When my bus came in Yangshuo, people had to exit, and a bunch of elderly women with pointy rain hats was pushing each other in front of the slowly opening door, pinching and punching each other (almost like in a club in Oulu). First I thought they wanted to get on the bus quickly – weird, as we even got seat numbers with the purchased ticket. But no, of course they were also some touts selling stuff, and apparently they think the fastest one gets the price. I don’t think anyone wants to buy something so aggressively forced upon them, though.
Well, at least not me, but anyways, I know exactly where I am going (to the train station), and I don’t want to buy anything, not even if it’s offered in a friendly way, and yes, I CAN HEAR YOU, you don’t need to shout “Hello!” three thousand times or even tip on my shoulder. Gosh. I am gonna punch one of them soon.
At the train station, I still have time for lunch. I pick the restaurant with the people that leave me alone. The other one, right next door, has some women employed who were calling me (“Hello, hello, food, here!” – oh, really? You are standing in a restaurant, next to a buffet, and you are selling food? You gotta be kidding me!), so I punish them for being so brash, and don’t eat there.
Even on the way to the train I am still pissed. Why do they walk so slowly? Why do they not know where to go, even I know, and all the signs (even the numbers, for some reason) are in Chinese! Why do they block the way to my cabin? And then, after I have shifted my luggage up (I have the most upper bed this time), a whole family comes in and starts yelling as if the world is about to end. That’s also what their faces look like. But I am not worried, I have seen a lot of people look like that, and then it was some minor issue. Maybe they like being dramatic. It seems as if they have a problem because they are not in the same cabin, and they are some mums with their kids. Well, we are anyways sort of all in the same cabin, due to the missing walls – but one of the mums is now exchanging her ticket with a guy from my cabin, who then leaves. Now she’s looking at me, and saying stuff in Chinese. First I wanna play dumb and pretend I don’t understand her because I am so annoyed (yes, I don’t know what’s wrong today), but then I offer her to change tickets with sign language. She is very happy. I move to a new compartment. There are Westerners. Guess from where – right, the Netherlands. Again, someone wants me to change, the Dutch men is sick from the air conditioning from the last train ride where he had the upper bed that he now wants to give me – awesome. Then I get sick. Well, but I would have had the upper bed nevertheless, so what’s the harm… I change again. Then I go read.
After some hours, I am peaceful again, frozen as well because the AC indeed has the power to freeze over hell, even though I stuffed my jackets in front of it so that I am not lying in the wind on my upper bed. I talk a bit with the Dutch people, they are 8, way older than me, and very nice. And funny. The guy whom I saved from the upper bed finds a Chinese girl who speaks English. She is only ten years old, but she hardly has any accent. It’s very cute how they are having a conversation. When the Dutch guys talk to me, they sometimes forget I am not Dutch and say something in their own language to me (without even noticing), which I miraculously still understand, somehow.
Finding my hostel in Beijing is a bit difficult because the hostel has a weak side when it comes to descriptions. I had sent them an email asking for the subway line, and they replied with a detailed description about how to get out of the subway, which direction to take, then into which street to turn. Of course, one would expect the hostel on this street then. That I still have to turn left into another street, 700 m further, they forgot to mention. Funny. Also, when they point me to my room, they say “up the stairs over there”, and forget to mention that actually, there is another set of stairs after 3 more doors (it’s a huge hostel), and I shouldn’t take the first one. Also, the signs are confusing: At the beginning of a corridor, my room is announced with an arrow to the right, but actually, I have to cross a yard first, and then at the end of the corridor, I turn right and then up the stairs to the room. It’s like a maze in a hostel.
I roam Beijing, alone. I met a guy in the dorm without much plans, and I briefly thought about asking him to join, but actually I already have so many plans for the short day (in the evening, I gotta go to the airport), that I rather stay alone. I visit the Temple of Heaven Park, the Pearl Market for the last souvenirs, and the Hutong District. When I run out of cash, I go back to the hostel to have a shower and eat. In a restaurant opposite of it I finally have the Peking Duck – we didn’t do that when we were in Beijing the first time. Well, half a duck. Then I buy a travel backpack for 1.50 €, have a shower, and leave for the airport.