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Guilin, China

BLACKHAWKS RULE!! How exciting to have a champion again! Trivia: Chicago is the ONLY city in the US that has had a championship in each of the four major sports (bball, baseball, football, and hockey) in the past 25 years! Take THAT NY and LA! HAH!

OK, now to some travel news and the real reason we are here. It's been a rainy few days here in Guilin. Let me back up a bit. We found our hostel in Wuhan after a little trouble. First off, the bus driver dropped us off in downtown Wuhan. He said something in Chinese and after trying to tell him we didn't understand, he obviously felt that if he said the same thing but 100 decibels LOUDER that we would understand him. So, we shook our heads yes and said thank you. We found a young lady who said we needed to find a cab. I think that's what she said because she immediately started trying to flag down a taxi. It is raining buckets and she is standing under her umbrella and is unsuccessful for about 15 minutes. We 'She uh She uh her (thank you) and decide to flag a cab ourselves. We felt bad that she was trying to help us but was standing in the rain (though she did have the umbrella) and probably had better things to do than flag a taxi for a couple of Americans. So, after another 15 or so minutes in the monsoon, we are finally able to flag a cab. The card we had for the hostel had instructions for the driver written in Chinese. It helped but not exactly. He drops us off on the other side of the street and starts pointing and saying something. We obviously have a dumb look on our face because for the second time in less than an hour he begins hollering in Chinese what he just said at conversation levels. The rain had lightened a little but it was still raining pretty good. We see the sign for the hostel but can't figure out how to get into the building where the sign is. We walk back and forth and then out of the blue, an elderly Chinese man looks at us, says something at deafening tones, and points to a different building. We obviously looked like we were staying at a hostel. As it turned out, he was the only person we never talked to first who actually could tell us where to go. Very ironic. Most of the hostels are tucked into little alleys and way back off the main road where only scooters and bikes can get through. The same was true of this one. After a zig here and a zag there, we found it
When we zigged the first time, we were left with this site:

After the zag, we found it:

You need a bloodhound to find this place. Anyway, it was pretty nice. We camped for one night and then picked up the train for Guilin (gwee leen).

This is the scene at the train station in Wuhan:

If you look carefully, you will notice that many people are looking at the lady in white with the ponytail (just to the right of middle). She and two other ladies are yelling at each other loudly. We seriously thought a cat-fight was in the making because one of the ladies got right into the other one's face and was screaming at her. It was fun to watch actually because we obviously had no idea what they were yelling at each other but you just knew that there were some bad words being exchanged. Quite the monotony-breaker.

All of the people are not going onto our train. Six stayed back (at least it seemed that way). The line forms to walk to the platform and people will run you over if you don't move forward. Leave an inch between you and the person in front of you and there will be three people fighting for the space. It's like one gigantic mosh pit. Anyway, Eric and I each are in the same carriage and in the middle bunk on either side of each other. Eric is probably 6'3 and a pretty big guy. The middle bunk is probably the worst one he could have. Neither of us slept well. It was a long 14 hour ride between the old guy below me vibrating my bunk with his snoring and the eight plus hours of the guy above me and the guy above Eric talking. Honestly, those two talked non-stop for more than EIGHT agonizing hours. It was like an all day Kung Fu movie with only audio listening to these two. If they had been Americans, I would have sworn they were on crack. Instead, over here, they must have been on tea. A LOT of tea. It was unbelievable.

When we arrived in Guilin at 5:40 AM, I looked at the map on the hostel's card and can see we are very close. We decide to walk and we are glad we did. The hostel, Flowers (peace, maaaaaan), is tucked back, around and then up a few flight of stairs. Here is the sequence of how to get there from the main street in front of the station. Each picture represents either a turn, bend, or flight of stairs:

This is the train station from the side of the street the hostel is on.

Heading in the right direction down an alleyway.

Head right between those two buildings.

Ok, bewteen the two buildings now. care to stop for a meal?

At the end of this alley so now turn right:

Now, go up the stairs:

One more set:

Now follow the arrow:

Go through the ivy-vine thingy (don't know how to spell trellace or trelice or, well, you get the picture:

Go down the long entryway:

You've made it!

Now to the room:
Go up the stairs and follow the signs:

Our room is on the right next to the bathroom:

Here's a squat toilet if you really need it:

Not much privacy but if you have to go you have to go!
These are the showers:

So here we are. We are heading to Xian on Saturday (a lovely 27 hour train ride through central China; it will be a ride anyway with middle bunks again) to see the terra cottas and then go on a tour of the wall that was built around the city for protection some eons ago. I'll get more accurate info when we get there.

Both Eric and I ate something that did not agree with us and so all day today and last night we have been alternating using the bathroom. We don't have one in our room. It's shared with the whole floor. Eric is upstairs now with a little worse case than I have. I'm eating a monster plate of rice and hope that will help.

Don't know what's happening tomorrow. Hopefully our bellies will let us stray more than 10 yards from a working bathroom.

Until then...

permalink written by  akstoltzy on June 10, 2010 from Guilin, China
from the travel blog: China
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