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Published: December 15th 2006
22 hour train ride from Guilin to Kunming. Oh the fun!
I took the morning train from Guilin to Kunming. It is a 22 hour train ride, so there is really nothing to be lost or gained from taking the AM or PM departure. But Lisa in Yangshou was able to get me the am one, which is 25% less. Aside from the usual chaos that ensues whenever a large group of Chinese people attempt to do something at the same time, the boarding process was not eventful. Each car has about 10 cabins in it, with six bunks per cabin. It was about freezing in the compartment, but there was no heat, so we all just bundled up and slept in our clothes. I took a good long nap, because it was necessary to get up very early in Yangshou to get the bus to Guilin in time to catch the 8:54 train to Kunming. 'Jackie' at the guesthouse was kind enough to get me up at 6am, since I didn't have an alarm. The bus took a really long time to leave, and I only got to the train station with 10 minutes to spare, but it worked out well, since the waiting area at the station is not a
nice place to wait. I met a fellow English speaking westerner, Fabio from Italy. For the first half hour of our conversation, I kept thinking of the 'Fabio' superbowl commercial and that sure cracked me up. Nice guy though. We chatted for about 5 hours, travel topics, religion, our lives, the usual "well, we have a 22 hour train ride conversation topics. After sleeping a fair bit during the night, we arrived in Kunming first thing in the morning and grabbed a bit to eat before parting ways. He headed off to Dali, and I was going to spend the day in the city before catching the night bus to Lijiang.
The first order was a shower, followed by some more food. I wondered up to the city cafe and offered to pay them 5 RMB for a shower and luggage storage for the day. This was agreed upon and I parked my stuff there, grabbed some more breakfast and then headed off in search of a alarm clock and a calculator. I was not going to be relying on the good graces of guesthouse staff for early departures in the future, and didn't want to rely on money
changer honesty for Vietnamese currency which is about 14,000 to the $. I think I have had the most fun trying to find stuff in this country. It is always an adventure. After about 1 hr of wondering, asking questions in vain, I stumbled onto a Wal-Mart. Booyah! they would have everything I needed, and I would not have to haggle over the price. I found everything I needed, and had an interesting cultural experience. After shopping, I went over to the city cafe, dropped my purchases off, and ventured over to the Yuantong Buddhist Temple, Green lake park City Pagoda's and pretty much saw the whole city by the time I returned to the Cafe to catch my mini-bus to the bus station. It just happened to be that I was sharing the bus with 4 Australians that were also going to Lijiang, and we formed a travel group. More on that from Lijaing.
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