Musings - Day 19
Day 19 – 14th January 2020
Your support is immense guys – please keep those good luck messages coming.
Thanks to everyone sending messages, I read them all.
So it is 7:00am when my alarm goes off. Cleared the room by eight knowing that I had the full gamut of security to go through at the rail station over the road. The ticket was not accepted no matter how many times I tried to put it through. Here’s a tip for anyone travelling independently in China. Don’t use the plethora of machines for entry, because unless you have a Chinese I.D. card it wont allow entrance. Instead look for the manned booth. They compare your passport number to the one printed on your rail ticket, and you’re in. Then the security at every public train or bus station, your bags are scanned. Together with the bags you have to pass by a scanner and then are electronically frisked, just like at any airport in the world. Whilst it is not a bad thing, you have to allow at least an hour before catching any train. Another thing, don’t think that you can walk into a train station and buy a ticket. What an absurd notion! You are unlikely to find an ordinary second class seat unless you book, (this applies to virtually any route in China) at least three days in advance. This because there are trillions of Chinese people and there will never be enough trains for them. It's just impossible. You can pick off first class tickets as low as the day before, and perhaps business class within hours, but be warned, you will really pay through the nose for them. Trains are punctual here, no exceptions that I have witnessed so far. I am in my seat on the aisle side of a couple in their fifties I’m guessing. He is that excited to see me and I don’t know why. Perhaps he thinks that I was on Chinese supermarket sweep. He has placed my heavy back pack in the overhead tray for me, sat down and shook my hand. Then I had to shake wifeys hand as well. All of this without a word of English, just Bobby talk and lots of gesticulations. Next out comes the camera. He took five selfies of me and him, me, him and wifey. Wifey changed seats, so it was me wifey, him. Then he hadn’t got enough so wifey changed back to the window seat, then we had two of Me, him wifey. She then passed me a third of the total segments, of their breakfast orange that she had just peeled, immediately after the photo shoot. They both ate their orange and fell asleep. He was so deep asleep that his pneumatic drill like snoring kept me from nodding off. I know I have shared you and wifeys orange mate but turn it in!
Just short of two hours later, I escape the hordes of Chongqing Station concourse by grabbing a taxi. Negotiated a price of 40 Juan (around £3.75) for the forty minute drive to Chongqing East – Boy it was like driving from London over the river to Manchester – both places monstrous great cities. Taxi dropped me off pointing to where my hotel should be. Thanks mate – 10 minutes later still wandering around the street. I found it on the fourth floor of a shopping centre, in a Library of all places. Really Quirky, really clean, and only £23 (around $30 U.S.) for two nights.
I have an evening Yangtze river trip looking at the city by night, so I decided to just wander around the city for a couple of hours, maybe get something to eat. I can say without seeing it in full, that Chongqing immediately has become my favourite China city to date. The food markets, restaurants, clothes outlets, street sellers are all adding to a fusion of colour in this place. Electricity must be free because the amount of neon lights around give Las Vegas a run for its money. Lots of new things to try here so my choices are squid or snake kebabs. No bread just the meat on skewers. You know where I am going with this, when in Rome and all that….
Okaay then - Snake it is then! - I have to say that it had quite a bite to it! Little bit like stringy chicken if I am honest, but pleasant enough. Nothing extraordinary – maybe tomorrow I won’t even remamba – get it! Remamba! Okay please yourselves!
So I am early in the tourist office, when for the second time today, I was offered orange segments. Just while I waited for a tour escort to take me to the bus. As I took my place, the bus from nowhere seemed to fill up. It was still half an hour before the river tour so I decided to take forty winks. Seconds, minutes ,I don’t know how long later, I woke with a start. I thought that I had woken up in a battery chicken farm. The high pitched clucking seemed to be coming from every seat. It was a cacophony of “Aaah - Ping nong ding dongs,” coming from all angles. Worst dream amusement arcade. A few seconds in, I readjusted to the din. The bus stopped about 600 metres from the boat, so a good walk prepared me for the most dazzling display of city lights. The boat took us firstly up the Yangtze and then a short way up the Jailing River, to see the old town. Fantastic one hour trip on the boat which seemed to pass in a trice. I have several videos, as well as pictures but it will take forever with internet speed to upload. However when I get a better connection, I will load at least one up to this page.
And finally my own hotel room is the one just under the yellow letter 'K.' The inside of my whole room is illuminated in a sort of "Just killed a cat red."
Position: 29°33'23” N 106°34'19”E – Miles completed: 07957
Location: Chongqing, China. 17:51 - 14th January 2020 - Journey 19 days 11 hours