I got woken up this morning by super loud Chinese tourists arguing at the top of their lungs at 6:30AM as they walked past my hotel and towards viewpoint 1.
I went downstairs and the owner’s wife started making breakfast for me. I asked for jian bing which directly translated to english is fried biscuit. This is the Chinese equivalent of the pancake but thinner and usually has stuff like finely chopped spring onions in the batter and is savoury. I obviously asked for it to be sweet. I stood next to her in the kitchen chatting away whilst she was cooking my breakfast.
She asked me heaps of questions about Australia. She’s been outside of China so she knows a bit about the eating habits of foreigners. A French tourist stayed at her hotel for 8 months to do a documentary and publish a book about the rice terraces capturing all 4 seasons from saturated green, golden yellow, snow white to rice terraces filled with water. He then later invited them to stay with them in France for 2 months. So all over the hotel, and especially on the front door, there’s newspaper articles about the owners, photos of them in front of the Eiffel Tower as well articles written about the French guy. They even know how to speak a little French themselves. As we chattered away, she’d finish cooking a jian bing, put it on the plate and I would just eat it, then she would load me up again and I would scoff it down. She just kept making them until about the 6th one where she asked how many more I wanted, ”just 3 more”. It felt like I was at home and mum was cooking for me =P
After breakfast, I paid for everything, I was actually worried that I may not have enough money and may have to wash dishes and clean the rooms to pay off my debt.
Myself and one of the other solo travelers I met last night headed down to the car park and arrived after an hours walk. We jumped on the bus to Guilin and I fell asleep, before I knew it, we had arrived in Guilin. We quickly grabbed lunch together and exchanged numbers. She’s on holidays as she just quit her job in Beijing so she’s living the life travelling the world.
The Chinese National Holidays begins on the 1st of October till the 7th. It’s one of those annoying times to travel and usually people travel before or after that week to avoid the crowd as well as expensive transport. I found out the hard way that train tickets are difficult to obtain …. I went to the train station in Guilin and wanted a train ticket from Beijing to Xi’an on the 29th of September. Sold out, 28th, Sold out, 30th, Sold out …. GG There was 1 ticket left on the 29th from Beijing to Hua Shan, not only is it a 14 hr day trip leaving at 9AM and arriving at 11:30PM, its a seat …. ='( Beggars can’t be choosers right …
So I immediately went back to the hostel and started booking accommodation for the National Holiday week. I called 4 hostels before I found one that had a bed available in a dorm in Xi’an and called 7 hostels before I got a bed in Chengdu …. that was how I spent my arvo … And I still haven’t managed to find accommodation in Hua Shan yet … Probably just have to rock up and just cross my fingers that there’s somewhere to stay at 11:30PM. Train tickets are released 10 days before departure so I’ve set an alarm to make sure I get a train ticket from Xi’an to Chengdu or else its going to screw me over.
It’s sort of challenging and fun when you encounter these kind of situations. I secretly love it. It’s like a huge problem solving exercise, you have to find out what can be varied but at the same time, there’s so many unknowns, etc. Will I be able to buy train tickets for this particular date, is 5 days in this place enough, how will this affect the rest of my trip etc. so you tend to just make assumptions from your limited experience and go with the flow. I was talking to the girl at reception and she said the train tickets over the Chinese New Year were sold out throughout the country within 5 minutes of release!! That’s CRAZY!!
Here’s one for you. Children’s tickets in China is dependant on height therefore one can qualify for a child’s fare if you are between 1.2-1.5 meters. Shan, I hope you’re reading this =P
I called up my friend for dinner and we went to a restaurant for a nice dinner.
On the way back, people were selling Ma Ti Gao (direct translation: Horse Hoof Jelly) on the side of the street and we had some. It was really interesting the way they cooked it. They basically have a bamboo casing where they stuff the center with the different constiuents, shove it on top of a pressure cooker that has the pressure valve removed and steam it that way.
Posted by Wordmobi