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Asia » Taiwan » Keelung
May 12th 2004
Published: May 3rd 2017
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Chengdu to Hong Kong


Additional maps: China 1 route

Saturday May 1st Lhasa – Chengdu

I woke early as the taxi to the airport is coming at 730am. It was another restless night’s sleep for me, I woke in the wee hours and had trouble breathing, nose all stuffed up I look forward to our return to a lower altitude and fewer red corpuscles! The taxi arrived at 715am but we were ready, Tony was concerned as there were two men were in the taxi, one of the golden rules of travelling is to never get in a cab with someone other than the driver, as the hotel had arranged this cab, we hoped it would be okay. It turned out fine, especially as the other guy slept all the way. It was a beautiful morning in Tibet, blue skies everywhere that seemed to bounce off the snow-capped mountains.

It took just over an hour to get to Gongga Airport, we had a pre-agreed set fare of Y130 ($28). We checked in easily, it was only 830am and our departure is still two hours away. Surprised to see my backpack weighs the same as when I left home, 12.9 kilos, and Tony’s is a bit lighter at 15.5kg. We went through very quickly so Tony decided to have some toast and eggs at the Airport restaurant, I didn’t want any but when they brought Tony’s they also brought some for me plus a cup of coffee each, yes, a MISTAKE but a cheap one costing us only Y25 ($5).

After breakfast, we then discovered our flight was delayed until 11.30am, it wasn’t only our flight, all flights, there was not a plane in sight and no reason given except for the announcement “the plane has not arrived”. Gongga Airport was nice, clean and modern but as with all airports, when you must wait around, boring. We had waited about half an hour when we saw our plane was not leaving until 1230pm now, a collective groan from all around. The plane to Kathmandu was supposed to leave at 8am and still had not arrived. Still not a plane in sight!!

Around 12 noon, four planes all turned up at once including ours (but still not one to Kathmandu) and we had a good view of the plane arriving and all the hullabaloo of unloading the luggage and freight. It was quite interesting. We boarded at 1230pm (our delayed scheduled departure time) and were on the runway just before 1pm, but still no plane to Kathmandu! We scored a window seat this time so had a fantastic view of the Himalayas which stretch for miles and miles. The flight was quick, about one hour 45 mins. Air China is pretty much an unexceptional airline regarding service, but as we flew through thick clouds and fog, our landing at Chengdu was one of the best either of us has experienced thus far and no one clapped this time but the pilot really deserved it!

It was mid-afternoon when we arrived back in Chengdu and after collecting our luggage we walked into hysteria in the Arrivals Hall as someone famous had arrived and the place was full of newspaper/TV reporters and screaming girls. We could see two big black guys and assumed it was them, but as we boarded the shuttle bus, we could see it was an Asian they were chasing, a guy on the bus told us he was a singer. One Chinese girl got his autograph on a poster and she was jumping about very hyper! Quite amusing to watch. We caught the shuttle bus to the last stop for Y10 ($2) and then a taxi to Sam’s Guesthouse.

Before we had left for Lhasa we had asked Sam to arrange a room for us and train tickets to Guiyang for the 2nd May, we were doubtful as to whether he would remember as he was busy that day and didn’t write anything down. When we arrived, we discovered that not only had he done everything we asked but had sent a driver to the airport to collect us! (Of course, with the flight delayed the driver didn’t wait). It was fantastic and professional service. Our train leaves at 2pm tomorrow and we have a much nicer compartment than the last time, we are even being serenaded by an old Chinese man in the flats opposite, he is singing on his balcony!

Sunday May 2nd – Chengdu

There is a Chinese couple in the room next door they have been banging, crashing and talking in loud voices all through the night, they kept Tony awake and he had to bang on the wall a couple of times. Couldn’t believe how noisy they were, probably a businessman and his whore. Despite this we still had a good night’s sleep. We had a mayonnaise sandwiches for breakfast it was supposed to be chicken but had more mayonnaise than anything else. Left Sam’s just after noon, when we checked out we gave him a koala (he seemed surprised but pleased!) for all his help.

The taxi ride to the train station was very quick so we had plenty of time before our train departs at 152pm. We boarded the train and soon located our beds, so far no one else in our compartment, still 18 hours to go though. We have spent the past two hours with two Chinese students who are studying English in Chengdu they have been very helpful and have written out all our destinations from Guiyang all the way to Hong Kong in Chinese for us!! Now all Tony must do is to go to the ticket window with the right piece of paper and it will save a lot of stress. Both Tony and I agree that China’s hope lies in its youth they are so willing to help, eager to learn and so friendly.

It’s now past 7pm and our student friends have left us, except for a brief reappearance when one brought us some fruit (very nice, like an apricot but harder with lots of small smaller stones. We have just had dried noodles for tea which we bought from a local shop in Chengdu before boarding. We are still alone in our compartment which is bliss. Countryside very pretty, all mountains, paddy fields. Our student came back just as we had started a card game so Tony taught him how to play and soon all three of us were playing, he picked the game up very quickly and even won a few. We were then joined by his friend, Student No.1 explained how to play in about 30 seconds to Student two soon we had a four-player game going, it was great fun, they got excited and made a lot of noise. At 930pm they turned the lights out on us, so we all had to stop playing cards and go to bed, time had passed quickly though.

Monday 3rd May – Guiyang

We woke just before 7am, two guys had crawled into the middle bunks just after lights out, but they were legit and had their bags on the luggage rack and the correct tickets. One of them was just as good as Tony at snoring! Arrived at Guiyang just before 9am. Armed with a slip of paper with our next train destination on it in Chinese, Tony lined up at the ever-crowded ticket office to purchase our tickets for Guilin, he waited for about 10 minutes and when we got to the window the woman merely waved him away – “No, No”. Pissed off we then went to the soft seat waiting lounge where our guide book told us there were English speaking staff, I waited downstairs with the bags while Tony went up to find out. He was soon back shaking his head, we had to go to window ‘two’. So, we trudged back to the ticket office and Tony lined up at window two. More and more people lined up around him, the Chinese are crazy if there is an “In” and an “Out” queue, they line up in both, so you must push your way through when you have finished. Luckily, they brought an English-speaking staff member down to speak with Tony, so the only problem he had was that the train we wanted to catch to Guilin didn’t go there, we had to buy tickets to Liuzhou, but it didn’t matter much. We then pushed his way out of the crowds at least with your backpack on people get out of your way!

We then had to find the local bus to Anshun which wasn’t too hard, asked a person here and there and we were soon on the bus. We had just loaded our backpacks on the bus when Tony turned to me and said, “Where’s my bag??” He was talking about his yellow daypack he ran back to the small store where we had stopped just before we boarded the bus and it wasn’t there, so he ran to get me off the bus. We figured he must have put it down while he was buying train tickets, the bag contained his camera and amongst other small items, our PASSPORTS.

In a mild panicking, we ran back to the ticket window and asked the English-speaking guy if he had seen it, of course he hadn’t, and we knew we would never see it again. We then went to the local police station located in the train station and reported our loss. Naturally none of the police spoke a word of English, but with the help of our guide book and a few hand signals, they soon understood. We soon had about ten police all standing around my daypack having a big discussion in Chinese. Tony then disappeared with one of the officers, and I was told to wait at the police station. One of the woman PC’s kept bringing me tea, as Tony seemed to be gone an eternity. Finally, he returned, he and the officer had gone to the woman in the soft seat lounge who spoke English where Tony did a written statement of events. The senior police officer then pointed to the PSB office in our book and motioned for us to follow. We knew the PSB (Public Security Bureau) would soon be involved, as this is the department that checks up on visas and monitors foreign tourists in their country. As we were now in China with no passport and no visa, we would have to notify them.

We then got into the Police van (neither of us had ever been in one before) along with the senior officer, a woman officer and a young male officer, of course this drew a crowd of curious onlookers (probably wondering why the round eyes were being arrested!!) This is where the fun really began, as the police had absolutely no idea where the PSB office was! We drove up, we drove down, we drove left, we drove right the police rolled down the window and asked people where to go and kept getting sent in the wrong direction! Tony and I thought we were in an episode of the Keystone Cops, the best thing about it was the police thought it was just as funny as we did! We must have driven around for about one and a half hours before the police found the PSB office (all the time the young policeman sitting in the back was giggling). We then went inside (a relief for me as I was desperate for the toilet) while the police did some paperwork. The young policeman disappeared and soon returned with a box of custard tarts and a plate of biscuits for us (much appreciated as we hadn’t had any breakfast yet). We then piled back into the police van and were taken to a big police station where we did more paperwork with the aid of an interpreter, we answered numerous questions like: “Where are you going?” “Why did you come to China?” I had copies of my passport and spare photos but Tony’s were all in his bag that was taken but he has got copies saved to his email account and when he explained that if he could get to a computer he would be able to print copies, he was told “We do not have that facility”, however they were able to find out his passport number quickly!! We were given notices of loss for our passport and told to obtain new passports and visas within 30 days or we would be deported.

Finally, we were finished and could go, the police wished us luck and with firm instructions not to lose our notices of loss, we left the police station after 2pm. It was very time consuming but now we must exchange our train tickets to Liuzhou and go straight to the Australian embassy in Guangzhou to get new passports. Time to return to the train station and luckily the English-speaking guy at window two was very sympathetic “Did you find your bag?”. He kindly exchanged our tickets and waived the usual 20%!r(MISSING)efund fee for us.

We have tickets to Guangzhou for tomorrows train departing at 1215pm. We then had to find somewhere to stay for one night as we were tired and mentally drained. We found a cab easily and got it to take us to a hotel in the guide book which didn’t take very long but were concerned when we pulled up outside to find everything written in Chinese this is usually a sign that they don’t take foreigners, luckily it didn’t apply this time and we obtained a room for Y135 ($24). As we are quite tired, we will be spending the rest of the day and night in the room in a very small double bed, what a day!!

Tuesday 4th May – Guiyang – Guangzhou

We have soft sleepers on this train as it’s a full day or more ride, the book suggests a 33 hours’ journey, tickets cost Y450 ($100) each, but we have no choice, we must go get our passports and the visas they contain. We are both very disappointed that we are unable to get to Anshun & Yangzhou which is supposed to have pretty countryside, caves and waterfalls, probably the best parts of China. We could wait in the soft seat lounge for the first time, so much better than sitting with the rabble in the economy section, especially as we were the only ones there initially, we had nice big lounges and a widescreen TV, and easy access to the platform, you walk straight out onto the platform. About 1130am we were joined by an elderly Asian man and about 15 minutes later were instructed to follow the man to our train. As it happens the man was in our sleeping compartment, we were soon joined by a young man in his twenties, they both seem to be nice and quiet so we are lucky again.

It turns out that the man is Indonesian and is a member of a kite flying team his team mates were also on the train in different compartments and we got to meet them later in the journey. Tony went off to find the dining car and returned grinning, saying it was a nice one, better than the one on the Xi’an to Chengdu line. Our sleeper compartment is better too, a bit bigger with softer pillows. Tony got the man to interpret the menu for us, and we had a nice lunch of beef and vegetables, plus Chinese cabbage and mushrooms (which was supposed to be tomato and eggs – slight slip of the finger!!) it cost Y32 ($5-6).

When we got back to our compartment, the lads from the kite-flying team were there, they were all in their 20’s and spoke reasonable English. It was fun talking to them, they are all so curious and can’t believe we travel through China “You are so brave!” We later returned to the dining car and ordered our tomato & eggs correctly the next time!

Wednesday 5th May – Guiyang - Guangzhou

I had a good night’s sleep but am a bit disappointed that the train arrives later than we thought (1pm, not 10 am) so we have a few extra hours to kill, not easy when you are already bored! The train has been smooth, fast and comfortable, but you still get tired of being on it. We arrived in Guangzhou just after 1pm and then faced the nightmare of pushing and shoving to get out of the train station, these people are so annoying, one girl just constantly pushed my backpack so I elbowed her in the chest.

Finally, we made our way out of the station into the bright sunshine. Finding our hotel was for once, relatively easy, as it was next to the train station and luckily there were rooms available. It’s part hotel/part youth hostel, but youth hostel in name only as there are no facilities that you would normally find in a hostel.

As soon as we had checked in we caught a cab to the Australian embassy, which was easy as we had the instructions written for us in Chinese by the young girl in our train compartment. When we arrived at the embassy we were told by the staff that Tony’s bag had been handed in complete with passports and camera! Couldn’t believe that there was an honest person in China! The bad news was we had to collect the bag in person, they would not forward the bag to us. This meant that we had to catch a 22-hour train BACK to Guiyang, sign for the bag and passports, then catch a 24-hour train BACK to Guangzhou to make it to Hong Kong on schedule, all in all a very costly and time consuming exercise, we would spend a total of 46 hours or more on trains over the next four days. We both felt despondent but very relieved that the bag, passports and camera have turned up.

After a quick lunch/dinner at McDonalds we faced the fiasco of the train station to buy tickets for Guiyang, it was as hectic as Shanghai station, people everywhere, so after standing in line for 15 minutes, we decided to go to the local branch of CITS to get them to buy our tickets. We still had a short wait here but at least the guy spoke English and we bought the tickets quite quickly and much more easily than at the train station, even if CITS charges a whopping $4 commission!!



Thursday 6th May - Guangzhou – Guiyang

The beds in our room are the hardest yet, like wooden cots with very thin mattresses, despite this we still managed a good night’s sleep, sleeping until 8am. Our train doesn’t leave until 4pm, so we really have no time to do anything but hang around the hotel and train station. I have an intense dislike of Chinese railway stations, it’s just the constant pointless pushing, these people really do form the lowest rungs on the food chain. The peasants and lower class are about the stupidest and dirtiest human specimens I have ever encountered, I have seen more intelligent beings lying on their backs at the bottom of ponds. Anyway, we struggled through the masses of unclean snot spraying gob spitting low lives to get to the soft seat lounge to wait for our train, it was only 1pm so we have a three hour wait.

The soft seat lounge wasn’t as good as the one in Guiyang as it was crowded and not so big, so we found an area just outside with about six lounge chairs and sat there. Tony is trying his best to cheer me up but nothing is working today. We were told to board at 3pm and our companions this time are two Chinese men, one in his 40’s, the other in his 20’s neither of them speak English, it should be a quiet journey.

We managed to order dinner off the Chinese menu all by ourselves with the help of our guide book, very tasty beef with tomatoes, again no complaints about train food, only cost Y31 ($5).

Friday 7th May - Guiyang

Our male companions left us during the night, one at about 10pm and the other in the wee hours, so we now have the train compartment all to ourselves for about five more hours. It’s good to have so much room.

Arrived in Guiyang about 1.40pm and of course our first stopping place was the police station. No officers were there from our previous adventure, but we had written instructions from the Australian embassy as to why we were there and who we had to contact. After about an hour wait, a Chinese man turned up who had enough English to help us get Tony’s bag back. First, he kept saying “You must sign for the transport” and we didn’t understand what he meant, firstly we thought we may have to GO somewhere to collect the bag, but we finally realised he meant sign for the BAG (something got lost in translation). Of course, Tony happily agreed to do this, so he wrote on a piece of paper that he had received the bag and signed and dated it. Once he had done this the senior police officer came down the stairs with his bag. Amazingly nothing at all was missing, not even the bag of biscuits we bought! We thanked the police for their help, and with firm instructions to not lose it again, we finally left the police station just after 3pm.

We then made an executive decision to stay in Guiyang and visit the caves and waterfall from there instead of Anshun as we had originally planned. We then purchased train tickets for Guangzhou for Sunday (I held both bags this time) and caught a cab to the Jinlong Hotel where we had stayed on Monday night. Once settled we walked down the road to “Dicos” a fast food joint as we hadn’t even had any breakfast. We settled in for a night of boring Chinese TV only to be delighted to find “From Russia With Love” on in English, what a relief!!

Saturday 8th May – Guiyang – Anshun – Guiyang

I got up at 6am this morning, we must catch a bus to Anshun in order to visit the Huangguoshu waterfall and the Longgong caves. We walked about 10 minutes to the Long-Distance Bus Station and with our guide book and saying “Pubu” (Chinese for waterfall) we were put on a bus to who knows where. Tickets cost Y94 ($16) each and according to the guide book, the journey should take about three hours. The bus left at 8am on a foggy morning, you couldn’t see anything out of the windows.

The fog did eventually start to lift, and by the time we reached Anshun, was completely gone. The countryside here is mostly what we have seen from the train, rural areas with neat terraces of farming land and water buffalo either wallowing or tilling the fields. Also in Anshun there were a lot of ponies and traps on the streets, going about their business. We reached Anshun just after 10am because there had been a toilet stop on the way, and when we had left and gone about 10 minutes out of Anshun, we had another. Tony starting to stress whether we would ever get there, or even if we were actually going to the waterfall.

About 1045am the bus pulled over and the driver shouted at us “Pubu!Pubu!” so thanking him we got off on the side of the road at the entrance to the National Park. We then had about a 10 minute walk down a winding road to a parking lot that led to the waterfall. Of course, there were no English signs anywhere, all entrance price explanations (for the different entrance amounts) were all in Chinese and no one spoke English. We just paid the most expensive amount Y90 ($15) and hoped we weren’t ripping ourselves off.

We walked through the ‘park’, the first part of which was a Bonsai Garden, and then followed the trail to the waterfall. I use the word ‘trail’ loosely as the Chinese like to concrete everything and build as many steps as possible. It was still attractively done and made for a pleasant stroll, the sun was shining and it was turning into a very nice day. When the waterfall came into view, it was much better than either of us had imagined. Lots of Kodak moments here! The best part was that you could actually walk BEHIND the waterfall through a small cave and ridge. That was really good (if not wet) and you got a very different perspective of the falls. We then followed the trail to a suspension bridge which then led to the World’s Largest Outdoor Escalator which took you back up to the top of the hill. It cost an extra Y50 ($10) to ride the escalator, but we weren’t going to pay that, so we had a long uphill slog back to the top. It was hard work and we were both sweating and puffing by the time we reached the top despite frequent breaks.

At the top the street was lined with souvenir shops, Tony bought a doll in traditional Chinese costume for his Mum. Back in the parking lot, we went looking for a bus back to Anshun but instead we paid a taxi driver Y100 ($17) to take us directly to the Longgong Caves, bit more expensive but easier and quicker than having to catch two buses to get there. We were there in half an hour, the time now 1pm.

Entrance fees to the caves were again tiered, but at least in English this time! We again took the most expensive ticket Y95 ($16) but didn’t really know what it was for, the main reason for coming here was a boat ride through a cave that was supposed to be great. We followed a path littered with children down to a small jetty that had a boat waiting with about 10 Chinese in it. We set off down a stream to (hopefully) the caves. The scenery was still very pretty. After about a 5 minute ride the boat arrived at a small landing and we all got out, obviously, this boat doesn’t go through the cave. We didn’t really know where to go but we followed everyone else. Naturally we overtook them and had soon wandered off by ourselves, following markers on rocks. Going up more bloody steps, we encountered a very large Chinese Buddha housed in a cave. We came to several of these and began to wonder if we were going in the right direction, everything was uphill and we were forever climbing steps, where were the cave boats?

Finally, we entered a small cave that had a pathway going into it, following this we encountered a large cavern full of stalagmites and stalactites, all illuminated in bright colours. Very impressive, continuing up more and more stairs (both sweating and Tony suffering from sunburn) we seemed to pass a lot of people coming in the opposite direction but still no sign of the cave boats. Puffing and panting we arrived at a very large cave adorned with fairy lights and an illuminated pathway that was all uphill. We just looked at each other and set off firstly we went up and then we spied some people going down a different path, so we followed them, they then turned around and came back up, so Tony asked them where the boats were, they pointed up, so we had to walk all the way back up the stairs to the top, when we got there we discovered yet another trail, but this time going down and out of the cave. Hooray hooray it led to the boat landing, it was now 3.30pm so we had been climbing through the caves and countryside for two and a half hours nonstop.

When the small boat arrived, it was already full of Chinese, we have decided that losing our bag has worked in our favour, as we spent most of our time on trains during a Chinese Holiday Week (May 1 – 7), if we had come here on the 3rd May as originally planned, the place would have been crawling with Chinese. The place is almost deserted by Chinese standards. The boat trip was a bit of an anti-climax, spoilt by noisy Chinese on our boat screaming hoping for an echo, or whistling and singing. The cave, however, was naturally beautiful and would have been very peaceful as we glided through.

Once out the other end we caught a minibus back to Anshun for Y40 ($7) each, the driver was a maniac but at least he slowed down for a family of chickens. Arrived back in Anshun just after 5pm and got straight on the bus for Guiyang Y15 ($2.50). Arrived back in Guiyang at 7pm, but had to catch a cab as the bus dropped us near the train station, no way were we doing any more walking!!!

Sunday 9th May – Guiyang – Guangzhou

Our train leaves at 1215pm, the K66 which is the same one we caught on Tuesday. Today is Mother’s Day in Australia, so when we arrived at the station we went to a phone box and called our mums collect. Tony’s mum wouldn’t stop crying but I think both were relieved to hear from us as we haven’t sent any emails for over a week. We have a soft sleeper again this journey Y450 ($79) each and our companion is a young man who doesn’t speak any English but is pleasant enough. Our lunch, which we were quite looking forward to was quite disappointing, our cabbage and mushrooms was loaded with garlic (whole chunky bits) and the beef dish was soaked with ginger. Must be a different type of cook. Both a bit glad this is our last long train journey for a while!!

Monday 10th May – Guangzhou

I slept okay but kept waking up when we arrived at large stations due to the train giving big jolts just before it stopped. Not far from Guangzhou, about four hours to go. They seem to have turned off the air-conditioning as it has been unbearably hot for the last hour or two. The Chinese walking around fanning themselves and I don’t blame them. Air con must have broken down as there was a man running around with tools and it finally kicked in about noon. Arriving in Guangzhou at 1245pm we rush to get off the train and out of the station although it was not so bad this time, we were here and didn’t take as long. We are sweating as Guangzhou is very hot and humid. We went to the CITS office to purchase rail tickets to Hong Kong for Wednesday which cost HK190 ($42) and journey time is one and a half hours, must be an express.

We then hailed a cab to take us to the Youth Hostel on Shamien Island, the cabbie said he would take us for Y50 ($9), Tony requested that he turn his meter on and he then offered to take us for Y40 ($7). We got out as we had been told previously it shouldn’t cost any more than Y30 ($5). He was trying to scam us but bad luck to him, we then got into another cab who put his meter on straight away (without asking) and it ended up costing Y20 ($3). The youth hostel is in a nice area of Guangzhou, very shady with banyan trees, colonial architecture, statues and lots of westerners, obviously a more upmarket area, with lots of art and craft shops. Much better area for us as there are 7 – 11 stores so we can get the small items we so badly needed. We wandered around for a time watching the glass etching and reading restaurant menus, it is still very hot and our room is on the 5th floor Y180 ($32) but there is no lift!!

Tuesday 11th May – Guangzhou

Finally, when we have a comfy bed and no reason to get up early, we look forward to a decent night’s sleep only to be bothered by mozzies in the early morning (330am). Why do they disappear when the light comes on only to reappear when the lights are off to buzz loudly in your ear? Very annoying, Tony bitten about five times. Killed one but another appeared, solved the problem by spraying ourselves with RID and putting the air conditioner on, we then slept until 11am! Had Rice Krispy’s for breakfast, a shop in the White Swan Hotel opposite us sells them for Y28 ($5) a box, better than foul smelling noodles for breakfast any day. We then posted some stuff home from the China Post office in the White Swan, we sent it surface and it will take three months and cost Y131 ($23). Had a look at the shops that do glass etchings and got some prices, they are very tasteful, wish I had a photo of Krissy, Kushka or Neville for them to do.

Tonight, we are going to the Night Safari Zoo we saw this on TV when we were in Xiamen so in the late afternoon we caught 288 bus. We had instructions written in Chinese, the zoo was called “Panyu Safari Park” and we showed this to the driver who would let us know when to get off. The bus ride was quite long, well over half an hour, but finally we were dropped off on the side of the road in front of the park’s entrance. We had a fairly long walk down the entrance way and when we got to the ticket booths, we felt a bit like Chevy Chase in “Vacation” when he & his family arrived at Wallyworld, there was no one in sight, the park was deserted. Tony starting to get angry, especially when we went to a guard booth where they put him on the phone to an English speaking person who told him the park closes at 6pm!! Luckily a girl appeared who worked out that we needed “Guangzhou Night Zoo” which was somewhere else entirely. She put us in a taxi and told the driver where to go, it wasn’t very far, less than 10 minutes away, not a Safari Park at all but a proper zoo. It cost Y145 ($25) to get in and I won’t dwell on the zoo except to say the Chinese have absolutely no idea. Interspersed amongst the animals were magic shows, water-skiing shows, acrobatic shows and all types of crap like that.

The zoo had heaps of vegetation and wide concrete walkways that would have been put to better use making larger enclosures for the animals. Most of the enclosures weren’t too bad but some were far too small, most upsetting was the two Golden Eagles in a cage the size of your average reptile cage. We visited the “Cute-Cute Walkway” expecting to see baby animals but it was snakes, turtles, sloths etc. Chinese are weird. You could walk around half the zoo, the other half you had to take a train (although Tony wanted to walk) so we climbed on the train with 100 Chinese and were driven thru the “safari: section. This part was actually quite good with large open enclosures for the animals to roam around and would have been even better had the train not gone at 100 miles an hour! It was dark now so most of the enclosures were floodlit and the animals frisky. I am so sick of the Chinese now, one stupid arse barked at the Tigers (woof woof).

There was a bus station at the zoo, so after talking to several drivers, we found a helpful one that took us on his 202 bus, and he would drop us off where we could catch the number nine bus back to Guangzhou. We were starving by now, and I jokingly said to Tony, “Wouldn’t it be great if he could drop us off at McDonalds!!” We were on the bus for about 25 minutes before the driver motioned for us to get off, very kind of him as it wasn’t a stop and he pointed to the number nine buses opposite. As the bus drove away, there they were, the Golden Arches!!!!! Couldn’t believe it, so we had a feed at McDonalds and couldn’t be bothered with another bus, so caught a cab back to the hostel. Got home about 9.30pm satisfied that we had accomplished what we intended!

Wednesday 12th May – Guangzhou – Hong Kong

The next morning, we caught the 1055am KCR High Speed Train to Hong Kong, in the waiting room I got bailed up by two young girls studying English who wanted to practice on us. This train is a double decker (our seats are upstairs) and it is modern, fast and efficient, we arrived in Hong Kong just after 1230pm and caught the KCR train one stop to Mongkok station (we have done this before when we went to Shenzen so consider ourselves experts now). It is very hot in Hong Kong today and we were both sweating buckets by the time we had reached the Dragon Hostel. Glad to be out of China (so to speak), it’s the little things like toilet paper that tears on the perforations that makes life so much more comfortable!!

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