Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag Chongqing - Kunming - Lijiang
25 september 2016
Chongqing - Kunming - Lijiang
I arrived in Chongqing after a fairly uneventful train ride and tried to figure out where to find a hostel. I got off the metro into the city one stop too early, meaning I was in a residential area without any hostels or hotels. After realizing my mistake, I got back on the metro to the center and found myself a hostel. Here, I asked for the best place to eat Chongqing hotpot, since it’s supposed to be the spiciest dish in the world and I wanted to try it. Since I wasn’t that hungry yet, I opened my laptop to check some stuff, and at that moment a Korean guy came up to me to ask about the restaurant. The guy at the front desk had mentioned I was going there too, so he asked if We could go together (plus someone he’d met earlier that day, a Dutch guy). So together we went to the restaurant. When we’d found it, the waiting time for a table was about 2-3 hours. We decided to go somewhere else instead. We got a medium spicy hotpot, which was great! Exactly spicy enough. We had some nice conversations about Chinese culture and how different it was than our cultures.
The next day I walked through Chongqing for a while, checking out the Buddhist temple and the city itself. I’d thought it was a smallish town, but apparently this is one of the biggest cities in China, housing over 8 million. That evening, I had dinner and drinks with a Chinese guy who’d lived in London for 7 years, and we had some great conversations about subjects ranging from politics to travel to language. Oh, and this time it only cost me 20 euro (including Martinis).
The next day, I got on the train to Kunming at 11 AM. So the next morning at 5 AM, I arrived in Kunming. The normal trains here don’t go very fast, but also it’s quite far. Since I had a hard sleeper (and not the bottom bunk), I couldn’t really see out the window when I was in the bed, so I read a lot and stared out the window a little bit from the seat on the other side of the cabin. Since it was lights out at 9.30, I tried to sleep a little. And then the train arrived.
I’d been talking to a Colombian guy on CouchSurfing and we’d decided to have lunch together, but when I told him my train would be arriving at 5, he said I could come to his place and sleep a little more. So I took a taxi to his place. Or at least, that’s what I thought. The taxi driver was a Chinese woman. I mean, talk about stereotyping. But no, none of the stereotypes were true, she was a great driver. When I arrived though, the taxi lady pointed to the building across the street, so I went over there while texting with Mario. I was in the right neighborhood, but on the wrong side of it. He came to pick me up (yes, at 6 in the morning, saying ‘I was up anyway, no worries, I know how it is to travel’) and we walked over to his place. After sleeping for a couple more hours we went out to see the town and have some lunch. Again, it was great to have real conversation, as opposed to struggling to order dinner.
I could leave my stuff at his place while he went to work – he teaches English in Kunming – so I spent the rest of my day walking around a local park with a lot of water. There were many people dancing there, in seemingly very folksy ways, but I also recognized one ‘dance of the year’ that I learned while I was still taking ballroom dancing classes. That’s one thing I like about China, there’s people dancing everywhere at the most random times. After looking around there, I had some dinner and left for the station.
When I got to the station by taxi, I had plenty of time before my train left, so I had some more food. It’s actually not that easy to get a taxi if you don’t know how, but apparently you just stand in the street and look confused (and maybe wave) and taxis will stop. This time I had a soft sleeper, which didn’t feel that much softer, but the advantage here was that you had a cabin with 4 people that could be locked, meaning it was a lot easier to get to sleep and not get woken up by screaming people all the time. Yeah, that’s normal here. As is smoking on the train by the way. Or staring at the white person. The people I shared a cabin with were very nice, although they didn’t speak much English, they used hand signals to convey what they meant, which worked perfectly. They went to sleep about half an hour after the train left, and after reading for half an hour more, I did the same.
The next morning at 6, the train arrived. I got into one of the taxi buses to the center of town (10 kuai – about 1,50 for a half-hour ride) and had some breakfast there. It was an awesome type of egg-and-herb bread and some awful dairy pudding porridge. Needless to say, I didn’t eat the porridge, but to be fair, the egg-bread was plenty for breakfast. After that, I started looking for a hostel, but most weren’t open yet. After trying 2 where nobody spoke any English, I decided to follow my guide book and go to one that had English speaking staff and was helpful in arranging trips, since I wanted to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge. Walking through the town was lovely this early in the morning, no tourists – except me of course – and beautiful houses. Eventually though, I asked someone where to go because I couldn’t find the hostel. He was wonderful and called the hostel for me, then handed me the phone to explain what I wanted. The guy from the hostel came to pick me up, which was really great too. Plus, he arranged the minibus to TLG and I could leave my big bag at the hostel while I did the 2-day trip to the Gorge. So I spent the rest of the day walking around the city and buying a bus ticket to Lugu Lake for the Tuesday after.
Tomorrow I’m going to the Gorge!
(Ok, not really tomorrow, I’ve moved on days after writing this, but I couldn’t upload this because I only had WiFi at times when I didn’t have my laptop with me… So there will soon be another update!
Foto's bij verslag (6)
30 september 2016 09:32 | Door: Chari
Wat een avontuur Alex, geweldig
Ik kan het in het Engels redelijk goed volgen alleen het schrijven is wat lastiger
Je zou verwachten dat Chinesen wat meer Engels spreken maar dat is dus niet zo
Ik vind het top dat je jou dromen verwekelijkt Alex, wees voorzichtig maar dat hoef ik tegen jou niet te zeggen
Ik hoop dat alles goed blijft gaan maar zo te horen hoef ik me geen zorgen te maken.
Tot de volgende keer Alex