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Goodman's Travels

Nanning China

CHINA | Wednesday, 25 April 2012 | Views [2237] | Comments [2]

Monday 23rd April;

Our first full day in Nanning and things were not going well. We needed a LAN connection for the laptop but no matter how much Allan and the Hotel IT bloke tried, it wouldn't work. The Motel didn't have a computer for guest access. We asked were there any Internet Cafe's in the Nanning CBD but of course, Wendy and I seemed to be the only two English speaking people in Nanning, we had no way of finding out. So we walked, and we walked and we walked in search of an Internet Cafe. Final result - no such thing in Nanning.

We have been trying to book a tour out of Chengdu to Lhasa through LazyBones Hostel in Chengdu. Everything was going fine. We sent them our papers, we sent them our itinerary, we agreed on a price, now we have to pay for it. There are three ways. One is bank transfer but this can take up to 5 working days in China, then there is Western Union and then there is PayPal. Thats what we'll do, pay by Paypal. So we did.

All went through, or so we thought. Apparently Paypal took it apon themselves to reverse the transaction because they thought the transaction was suspicious. So we had to try and do it again. No way. Pay Pal had put our account on limitation and we are not able to use it until we jump all sorts of hurdles which is nigh on impossible from here. They want a photo of Wendys passport or drivers license asnd they want a copy of an electricity bill or something similar. WARNING ....don't rely on Paypal if you intend using it overseas.

As it happens, we were able to go into a Bank Of Chiyesterday next day and remit the money direct. The people at the bank were helpful and it was done without much fuss, language barrier aside.

We had also been trying to buy train tickets from Zhangjiajie to Chengdu via Dazhou (pron DartZo) for Saturday. Allan went to the train station to try his best to get his message through but of course the rail staff are the same the world over - if it aint easy - I aint doing it. The only way was to have our train travel requests written out, word by word, in Cantonese. Allan tried in vain to get this message through to the front reception staff at the Dia Jia Jun Gong Hotel. They were 3 young ladies, all about 18 or 19 y/o who tried their best to understand the aging westerner. They even communicated by using Google translater. Without success. However, a supervising young lady (aged about 23) turned up and asked what was going on. She didn't speak English but she was savvy enough to take Allan into a back room, open up the Google translater and work out what it was he actually wanted. After about 45 minutes, they had worked it out. She typed in Cantonese and he typed in English, back and forth until it was clear what was required. She was good enough to hand write it in her language. Allan took the handwritten instructions to the train station, handed it to a lady ticket officer and 4 minutes later, the tickets appeared exactly as we wanted them.

This was typical of all the front office young ladies we have encountered here in China. Give them time and will help you work it out. We were so impressed with the reception staff at Dia Jia Jun Gong Hotel we gave them a very large box of chocolates when we left. They helped us immensely.

Tuesday 24th April, day of departure from Nanning. The weather was hot and the humidity stifling. After a succesful mission to the Bank of China, called in to get some provisions,Haeckel a shower and went to the station to wait for the train trip from Nanning to Zhangjiajie. Train 2012s scheduled running time was from 17:50hrs to 08:27hrs. Sitting in the waiting room brought home to us that the Chinese still haven't learned anything about general sanitation, hygene and general good manners. There are signs everywhere saying 'no smoking, no spitting, no lying on seats, no littering, no this, no that. Each and every sign is ignored. They 'hacked' loadly, they spat, they smoked, they lounged on seats, they gave their luggage a seat and left people to stand, they threw their rubbish all over the place and they were generally unkind to each other. We watched this for 2 1/2 hours waiting from train 2012. We weren't able to get soft sleepers on this trip so we had to accept hard sleepers. The Chinese hard sleeper is a little different to those in Vietnam yet they are the same. Basically it is 6 bunk beds in a cabin. Each bunk is supplied with a sheet, a doona and a pillow. This would have been alright except it wasn't airconditioned except for the windows your were allowed to open about 6 inches. As stated before, the weather was hot and humid. Conditions were stifling. We weren't the only ones to feel the heat, the locals were all sweating profusely as well. Wendy had previously bought some folding fans in Melaka so she handed them to some of the locals who appreciated the gesture. One liked the fan so much, she still has it. The trip was going to be long and uncomfortable. We were both on top bunks, Allan in one cabin and Wendy in the adjacent cabin. The eleictric fan in Wendy's cabin worked, the fan in Allan's cabin was an ornament.

At one stage, Allan was speaking with a young Chinsese girl who had learned English at Yichang University and she became the interpreter for the circle of people in the two cabins. We settled in for the night at about 8.00pm when it got dark and there was nothing to see outside. The heat was bearable as long as you lied still and didn't move and thankfully we were heading to Zhangjiajie which is in the mountains, so at around midnight the weather became more bearable and by morning the doona was needed. We arrived into Zhangjiajie on time at 08:27hrs and looked for a meter cab.

Comments

1

It's a pity you didn't locate any of the ex-pats in Nanning for advice. There are Internet cafe's liberally sprinkled around the city and most coffee shops/bars have wi-fi which seemingly would have saved you half a day.

Also there are hostels which have English speakers and who are happy to arrange travel tickets/visas and indeed collect them for you while you roam and enjoy yourself.

  Kevin Apr 29, 2012 5:27 PM

2

I don't understand why you didn't head for a Starbucks, these are everywhere as well. Y

  cattie May 6, 2013 7:49 PM

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