A Travellerspoint blog

April 2014

HONG KONG IS CRAZY

We had to wait around for 1.5 hours before we could leave our hotel room, because we stayed at one way far away from the train station with a free shuttle bus. A taxi back would have been too expensive, blah.

So, from the Guangzhou station we went to Shenzhen, which was an experience in itself. Once again, the frenzy that is China at holiday time was evident. Then, from Shenzhen it is a long subway ride to the centre of Hong Kong. We were all really hungry so we stopped in Habibi for a really quality meal. Everything is fresh and made with olive oil, so it's a lot healthier than food I'm used to on the mainland. Jeesh.

Then, we found a place to stay across the bay in the cheap part of town. This took a while because it was a holiday. Nick eventually found a lady soliciting us from the street, and we got a tiny room for $HK 450. Half the price of a similar room downtown that would only fit two of us anyway. It was like a labyrinth trying to find my way back here every night, but no matter. Not going to be picky on a big holiday in a big city.

Nick and Ranald were super tired but I wanted to do a lot of "night based" things so I went out to take the Star Ferry and go up to the peak on my own. We agreed that we should meet back at midnight, because we only had one set of keys. On the ferry, you can see the entire skyline lit up, but I didn't realize the ride was so short, so I didn't take any photos. I met a nice Philippino named Ian on the ferry though, and we decided to go up the peak together.

It was quite worth the price, although you don't have to shell out $HK 40 for the tram, because there is a public bus that goes to the same place. It would have been better to take the bus, and then pay $40 to go up the extra tower at the top. Also again, no matter. I was happy with the whole experience anyway.

Back at the hotel, I managed to get into the room without a key because the manager lady was still there. As soon as I hopped in the shower, Nick and Ranald got back, full of stories of a random dixieland band they found.

Up the tram

Up the tram


On the subway to Hong Kong

On the subway to Hong Kong


Middle eastern hats

Middle eastern hats


HEALTHY food for once

HEALTHY food for once


Anglican church

Anglican church


The machinery for the tram

The machinery for the tram


Exhibits

Exhibits


At the peak

At the peak


At the peak

At the peak


At the peak

At the peak


Me at the peak

Me at the peak


Me at the peak

Me at the peak


At the peak

At the peak

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

New subway!

There is a new subway in Changsha. One line runs in between the main train station and the high speed train station to the south. This is probably the only section that I will use. It opened a few days ago, so I tried it out going to the south train station (which is so huge it's pretty much an airport). It was a lot better than taking the bus of course. As you know, traffic is retarded in China. Even though everyone was confused about how to use it and a lot of the ticket machines were broken, there were giant air purifying machines and air conditioning. Very nice.

Shiny new!

Shiny new!


Changsha railway station stop

Changsha railway station stop


Me on the subway

Me on the subway


The south train station

The south train station


On the fast fast train

On the fast fast train


300 km/h!

300 km/h!

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

The cradle of the revolution

I got the first bus out and then bought my ticket for the day. 230 yuan! It seems to have changed since my lonely planet was published. The tickets are now all inclusive and there is a free bus that shuttles you around to all the sights. From there, I proceeded to hike down to the Five Dragon Pools waterfall, which was completely empty. It was too early for the cable car so no one was there. Even the guards were asleep. I didn't need the cable car so I went all the way down and all the way up on foot before it even started up. There really were five waterfalls, so that was a spectacular way to start my day. I got some more mountain spring water here, that was exciting also. At the end of the hike I was so sweaty and hot, I changed into the only other thing I brought, a tiny dress.

Next stop was the bunker and watch post for the communist revolution fighters at huangyangjie. Kind of cool to be up there where they were. Oh funny thing that I saw. There are troops of people always walking around with the same uniforms the soldiers wore in the 1920s. There must be some sort of tour company that provides this "authentic experience" I guess.

From there I went to "Five Fingers Peak". I thought it was going to be another sweaty hike, and I got all mentally prepared for it, but it was just a stop on the bus route where you got out, took a picture and then got back on the bus. This mountain is on the back of the old 100 yuan note. It's the highest place in the park.

Then, I still had the rest of the afternoon left, so I stopped at the revolutionary museum, full of dioramas! Asians love dioramas. I kind of got the gist of the whole war that happened and why people might be so proud of it. It basically was a bunch of starving, desperate people systematically taking over one rural area after another in China, until they could attack the cities together. That's the idea that I got from the museum anyway. So, it shows what you can do when people are upset enough to make a big change when no one has anything to lose. Most of it was in Chinese, so correct me if I'm wrong.

Then, it was kind of an ordeal getting back into the park, because I didn't understand how the buses worked. I sat down where I thought the bus would come and had a snack. I figured this would require some wait time. However, it did not. The buses came one after another, and never stopped. Even if I jumped up and down waving and shouting at them. Finally, I went to the other side, where I got off, and got on the bus. To my surprise, it went exactly where I wanted to go... the terminus.

From there, it was just one more bus that took me to the former headquarters of the revolution. Mao lived here with a bunch of other important guys from the army at the time. There was also a rock that Mao used to sit on and read all his important documents there. So people would go and sit on it and take pictures reading there also.

After all this I was exhausted. I went back to the same hotel room that I was at yesterday, had some dinner and then went to bed early.

Old 100 yuan note

Old 100 yuan note


Revolutionary quarters

Revolutionary quarters


Five finger peak

Five finger peak


Me vs. five finger peak

Me vs. five finger peak


Five finger peak

Five finger peak


Some history

Some history


Dioramas!

Dioramas!


Dioramas!

Dioramas!


Dioramas!

Dioramas!


Dioramas!

Dioramas!


Angry guy

Angry guy


Dioramas!

Dioramas!


Child soldiers

Child soldiers


Dioramas!

Dioramas!


All the presidents

All the presidents


Hall of heroes

Hall of heroes


That's Mao and Lenin

That's Mao and Lenin


Revolutionary quarters

Revolutionary quarters


Revolutionary quarters

Revolutionary quarters


Sitting on the reading rock

Sitting on the reading rock


Communists defending the mountain

Communists defending the mountain


Boo for expensive ticket

Boo for expensive ticket


On the classy bus

On the classy bus


In the mountains

In the mountains


First pool

First pool


Erg, China made me fat <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Erg, China made me fat :(


2nd pool

2nd pool


3rd pool

3rd pool


5th pool

5th pool


Almost falling off

Almost falling off


Reenactors?

Reenactors?


Cliff

Cliff


You can shoot a cannon full of tennis balls

You can shoot a cannon full of tennis balls

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Bussing to Jinggangshan

I left from the south bus station to go to jinggangshan at around noon. After three hours of an old man sleeping on my shoulder, i arrived there at around 6:30. three hours earlier than lonely planet said! however, i could not keep going to the waterfall i wanted to see because the bus station was closed already. So I found another cheap hotel room and the checkin lady told me the bus would leave at 7 am tomorrow.

Ohhh what a bad bus

Ohhh what a bad bus


Nice cheap room again

Nice cheap room again

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

It rained, I went home early

I woke up a little grumpy today because I couldn't sleep. I got a crap hotel room on what I thought was a quiet street in Nanchang. It wasn't. I was first woken up by a terrible nightmare and then I was subsequently awoken every hour after that until about 5 am. At which point I broke out of the hotel. These places are always secured with some sort of bike lock on the door handles, so I had to wiggle it until it opened to get out. I got my deposit from the sleeping manager, he deserved the rude awakening, it was him who was waking me up usually, drunk talking with his friends.

I then promptly found out the bus station was closed. At 6 am really? So, I went to another bus station that about 10 people helped me find and bought a ticket to Lushan. The bus wasn't leaving for two hours, so I walked around randomly, but all the stores were closed at 7:30 a.m. I actually needed to buy some shoes before this trip, i didn't really want to attempt it with sandals. I didn't get a chance to do it on Friday, and whaddaya know, a Wal Mart came out of nowhere, the only store open so early on the street. So that was kind of lucky. I bought the best ones I could find and headed out on the bus.

I fell asleep right away only to wake up to a sea of white. I almost thought I went blind, or i was having another nightmare. But oh no it was almost worse than that. The whole sky was completely overcast. So much for views of the valley down below. That made me a little more grumpy. <br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px; line-height: normal;">Then the bus driver drove right past Lushan! We had to make a half hour detour to drop some people off in Jiujang before we went up the mountain. I would've been better off going straight to Jiujiang from Changsha. It was very confusing for me because when I asked why we passed the place that was on my ticket, all anybody could tell me was "wait 10 minutes".... Ummm ok I guess I didn't have a choice to not wait... but OK... <br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px; line-height: normal;">Anywho, when we finally paid our astronomical entry fee of 180 yuan, and took the long windy road up the mountain, I went and did the main hike in the park while it gently sprinkled rain. It was actually quite refreshing for a time.

I remember thinking, "This isn't so bad why are you whining about the rain and clouds? None of the spectacular views were visible, but there's fresh air, some relative solitude and some good hearty exercise to be had!" all these things were running through my head when suddenly the skies opened and it started pouring!

I was halfway through the hike and then even longer than that from the bus station once i finished it. I had an umbrella, but it doesn't work when everyone is constantly jostling for space on the trail, so I inevitably showed up to the station completely soaked and the lady there simply said "mayo" when I asked whether there were any buses back to Nanchang.

"Are you kidding? I took a bus from nanchang here!"

"Mayo"

"What about Jiujiang?"

"Ming tian" (tomorrow)

"What? are you serious, why are all those buses constantly leaving???"

As i pointed to the busy street in front of the station.

"Ming tian, SORRY"

And with that she grabbed her purse and literally ran away, leaving me all alone by the wood stove, which was still burning. I wanted to stay and get warm, but I had to go back out in the rain again at least to find a place to stay and at best to find a bus home.

Luckily I saw a random bus waiting for passengers. It was going to Jiujiang. Fine, I got in the bus, soaking wet and freezing. There was no way I was going to stay in Lushan for the night, feeling this grumpy. Attempting to get back home was better than not attempting to get back home at this point.

The driver drove the whole way down the mountain with the windows down. Fffffff..... Come on REALLY?! Then he dropped us off at least a 20 minute walk from the train station, which I did in some more pouring rain.

When i got there, The ticket woman yelled at me in Chinese because I had the audacity to ask how to get to Changsha. She said I had to go from Nanchang. When I told her I didn't know how to get to Nanchang, she got angry and sold me a ticket there with as much spite as she could manage. <br style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.666666984558105px; line-height: normal;">I got a good night's sleep in another crap hotel room in Nanchang (really I did), and took the fast train home early in the morning.

Qilun Lake

Qilun Lake


Some old European architecture

Some old European architecture


Zig zag bridge

Zig zag bridge


Quiet island

Quiet island


Thatched roof cottage

Thatched roof cottage


Misty forest

Misty forest


Little river

Little river


Misty gate

Misty gate


Monkeys were everywhere

Monkeys were everywhere


1800 year old pavilion

1800 year old pavilion


Cave of the Immortals

Cave of the Immortals


Ancient pagoda

Ancient pagoda


Steps to &#38;quot;Dragon&#38;#39;s Head Cliff&#38;quot;

Steps to &#38;quot;Dragon&#38;#39;s Head Cliff&#38;quot;


Dragon&#38;#39;s Head Cliff

Dragon&#38;#39;s Head Cliff


Some of the mountains I COULD see

Some of the mountains I COULD see


Me vs. mountains

Me vs. mountains


Best shot possible that day

Best shot possible that day


Me vs. mountains

Me vs. mountains


Other best shot of the day

Other best shot of the day

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Crowded city!

I was really looking forward to going to this place, because the guy in the Lonely Planet wrote so much about it. However, I don't think he actually went to either of the places I visited today. Unless there was a recent explosion of tourism in the area, it was nothing like he described it. There were insane amounts of people jostling me around all day long, as I tried not to fall into the waterways (think Venice but twice as crowded) There were also way more vendors selling the usual crap trinkets and other things to buy. For a while I felt like I paid 60 yuan just to walk around in a clump of thousands of people and be sold things....

Once I got away from the crowds and could breathe a little bit easier, I could see the scenery I was meant to see, the kind that was written about in the book. But that was quite difficult to do. Interestingly, and maybe disgustingly for some of you, there was a spring of water at the very back of the city. One guy was there filling up his water bottle and drinking it. I was SO skeptical and a little frightened, but I filled up my water bottle too and drank a mouthful. It was DELICIOUS. I waited a few hours before I drank the rest just in case it made me sick haha. But on the bus back home, it was still cool thanks to the insulation in my water bottle, and STILL DELICIOUS! This was something I did not expect to do in China.

I wanted to try to go to one more village that day, but there weren't any more buses going to the one I wanted to go to. So, I went back to Jingdezhen a day early. I was just in time for the last bus back.

When I got back, the lady in the red sweater was there and she took me back to her nice hotel again. I went for a tofu dinner across the street and met a Japanese man who spoke English in a French accent (but didn't speak French!) what... I dunno.

In the morning, I left my bus ticket in my room! Oh horror of horrors! I didn't realize this until after I ate breakfast. I ran back to the hotel, and the man who runs the hotel with his wife was yelling at me, but I couldn't quite figure out what he was trying to say. I know he was saying PIAO PIAO which is ticket, so I wasn't worried. He was pointing in the direction of the bus station so I ran there and found his wife, of course, with my ticket in her hand. It was a nice way to end a rather disappointing weekend.

I got on the bus and some university students immediately latched on to me and started chattering at me in English which was not so bad, so I had something to entertain me on the way home. We hit a crazy amount of traffic and ended up spending 10 hours on what should've been a seven hour bus ride.

Ladies making dumplings

Ladies making dumplings


Map of Likeng

Map of Likeng


Venice style

Venice style


Me vs. Likeng dumpling

Me vs. Likeng dumpling


Old temple

Old temple


Can you sell me more things please???

Can you sell me more things please???


Nice pathway

Nice pathway


So many people!

So many people!


Inside Dafu Mansion

Inside Dafu Mansion


On top

On top


Old walls

Old walls


Opera theatre

Opera theatre


Opera theatre

Opera theatre


300 year old bridge

300 year old bridge


300 year old bridge

300 year old bridge


Spring

Spring


Huge bamboo!

Huge bamboo!


Jostlejostlejostle

Jostlejostlejostle


Chickens!

Chickens!


Me vs. dumpling

Me vs. dumpling

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

The "rainbow" bridge

In the early morning, I hopped a bus to Wuyuan and then they dropped me off in this random place full of random little buses. I just had to ask the ladies walking around with signs where to go, because I couldn't read the signs they were carrying, that is. I didn't think this bridge looked much like a rainbow, but that's what they call it. I don't know how old it is, but it's old. I was expecting a more serene environment, but everywhere I went was full of crowds and tourists. This county especially, was irritating, because they asked you for your FINGERPRINTS every time you wanted to go to a new attraction. I went to two and refused each time. It took a few minutes but eventually they let me through just with my ticket. I do NOT understand this. I hope this isn't some new trend in China. Ugh, terrible.

From the pictures, this place looks really nice, but it's really not. Dusty and crowded, people yelling at you to buy things. Not what I wanted this weekend. But, oh well.

Qinghua

Qinghua


On the bus to Wuyuan

On the bus to Wuyuan


Small bus to Qinghua

Small bus to Qinghua


River

River


People on the stepping stones

People on the stepping stones


Rainbow bridge

Rainbow bridge


Rainbow bridge

Rainbow bridge


Water wheel

Water wheel


Temple

Temple


On top of the temple

On top of the temple


Rainbow bridge vs. me

Rainbow bridge vs. me

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Small hotel in Jingdezhen

This weekend, I was back to Jingdezhen again, on my way to the countryside outside Wuyuan. In the guidebook it's supposed to be impressive. I guess we shall find out! I got the exact same bus as I had last weekend, I knew, because a piece of cardboard with winnie the pooh was taped up to the front windshield to keep out the sun.

When I arrived, I was all ready to travel across the city to find the hotel I stayed in last week. However, a lady in a red sweatshirt at the bus station told me she had one for the same price, so I stayed there. It even had a washroom and computer in the room! The wiring was a little sketchy. I took a picture for your amusement.

Fire hazard???

Fire hazard???


Huge room!

Huge room!


More crazy wiring and washroom

More crazy wiring and washroom

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)