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Crazy local men are always tricking me

View Living in Guangdong on baixing's travel map.

Friday after lunch I headed to Guangzhou to hop on a fast train to Shaoguan. I had been putting off this trip to Wuzhishan (Nanling National Park) for a while, because I was sure it would fail and turn into an absolute gong show. And I was right.

I arrived in Shaoguan at around 10:30 p.m. and took a moto taxi to my hostel. First mistake. He nodded when I showed him the address, but as we went along, it was clear he had no idea where he was going. I jumped off at a stoplight and walked the rest of the way.

I found the corner where the hostel supposedly was, but of course it wasn't there. I asked a nice shop owner to help and he was very kind about it. He waited with me for the hostel owners to show up.

When they did, all smiling and happy to see me, they brought me up to the tiny apartment which they had turned into a hostel. This place was hiding in a terrible apartment complex, impossible to find from the street. Anyway, they were friendly and promised to take me to the bus station in the morning.

I got about four hours of sleep on the rock hard bunk bed and waited for the owner to show up at 6 a.m. like he promised. He never did, so I just went by myself. The bus was easy to find and after two hours of snoozing, I found myself in Wuzhishan, at the foot of a huge forested mountain. I was not in a rush to get to the top, but decided I'd ask a taxi driver where to have lunch and sleep.

Second mistake: (Mistakes usually involve overly friendly local men by the way) He said it would cost 40 yuan to go to the restaurant. He didn't say I'd have to pay 100 yuan more for the park ticket, because the restaurant was in the park. On top of that, the hotel was 150 yuan. I'd rather go to one of the places down the mountain and go into the park the next day. But how do you explain that to some jerk taxi driver when he's already got you in his car? If I stayed down the mountain, my ticket would be good for two days, because they have some sort of special stamp that will make your ticket last longer. I didn't like all these extra costs adding up so I got suspicious and indignant. I wanted to jump out of the car, but I felt trapped.

He brought me into the park and to a small shitty "restaurant" and "hotel" that had no other guests and a small pot of rice boiling on a charcoal stove on the ground. I was really angry and decided to walk back to the last parking lot I saw and try to get out. He grabbed me by the wrist and I used my self defence knowledge to break out of his grip. Then he grabbed my bag tightly and I couldn't get out of that one. I screamed and almost started crying yelling "DON'T LIKE" at him over and over. He finally let me go and I started to walk all the way back down.

The crazy guy got in his car and kept driving past me back and forth, at least three times, as I walked amongst the glorious pine trees, back down the mountain. I found a kind shop keeper who spoke English and he told me there was a park bus included in my ticket! Well that changes everything. The Lonely Planet said I'd have to hire a driver for everything! That's how I got into this mess with the taxi driver in the first place. The shopkeeper said I could take the bus back for free. So, I waited for it. To my non-surprise, guess who showed up at the souvenir shop while I was waiting! Crazy taxi guy. This time I had someone to defend me and I went outside to wait for the bus, while the nice shopkeeper explained the situation.

This is his car:

This is his tour guide ID:

The bus came, but I took it the wrong way, and we went around the whole mountain to the entrance again. It was peaceful as long as no other Chinese people got on. That was enjoyable, but I never did any hiking like I wanted to. There was no mention of this park bus in the Lonely Planet or any website I saw before I got there. This whole unpleasantness could have been avoided if I knew about that bus.

I sulked around the little town for a while and found a small restaurant that had a big group waiting for lunch. They made me some pork and spicy peppers with rice. I was happy again, but fed up with this place, so I got back on the next bus to Shaoguan. There was a train leaving for Shenzhen, via Guangzhou, so I decided to do that.

I sat down on the train beside a nice guy who told me he could find a hostel for me when we got to Shenzhen. Third mistake. In reality, he had no idea where the hostel was, and tried to get me to stay at on of these "safe" expensive places. Every time someone in the street yelled BINGUAN at me, he told me it wasn't safe and we kept walking in circles until finally I told him to go away.

When he finally left, I couldn't find any of those ladies yelling BINGUAN anymore! So, I walked for another hour to the hostel in the Lonely Planet. It had turned into a nightclub, so I wandered around some more, and got turned down many times, because many cheap hotels down't accept foreigners. We are expected to stay in the fancy luxurious ones. Geez. Finally, at 2 a.m., I found a tiny place that welcomed foreigners.

Posted by baixing 08:28 Archived in China Tagged shenzhen wuzhishan nanling

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