AsiaChinaWuhan

Lost and losing it in the Chinese countryside

Wuhan Travel Blog

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Temple in Wuhan

I sat on the flight next to Jun who's from somewhere near Wuhan.  At least I think so.  I speak barely a word of Chinese, and she didn't know English, but we tried to talk for about an hour anyway using my Lonely Planet dictionary and international translator card- both of which are pretty pathetic for this.  She kept saying over and over "You tell my son".  I assume she wants me to email him, but she did ask about marriage so who knows?  I did give her my email, so we'll see if she sends me something.  She was great though, because she helped me buy a bus ticket to the city.  I would have had a very hard time figuring it out I think.

Anyway, the bus dropped me off in Wuchang, which meant I crossed the Yangtze river on my way  (Wuhan straddles the Yangtze- Wuchang is the south part and Hankou is north).

Lady who put me on wrong bus
  But I didn't know I was in Wuchang.  I wandered into a fancy hotel and asked how to get to Wuchang and was told I was there.  I then asked how to get to the train station and was told to take a taxi.  The driver dropped me off in front of what is normally the main entrance.  However, it was closed for construction, so I had to walk around the front.  Because of the way it's situated, this meant walking over a mile just to get to the other side of the building.  After I was 1/3 of the way there, some guys on motorbikes told me I was trying to go the wrong way (in Chinese of course).  I told them as best I could where I wanted to go, and one of them had me get on his motorbike.  He got lost on the way too, with a dead end due to construction, but eventually got me there.
Waiting area for the bus
  I got very turned around at the train station and couldn't figure out where to buy a ticket.  I eventually got to the right place, only to be told that I couldn't get a ticket to Wudangshan until the next day- too late. 

So I walked to a hotel business office, who told me the same thing.  And here's where I really started screwing up.  I asked if I could go to Chongqing because I for some reason had it in my head that this was not too far away (wrong!).  He told me to go to the bus station which was actually across the street, but it took me a bit to figure that out.  When I walked into the bus station a woman greeted me and offered to help me get a bus to Chongqing.

On the sleeper bus
  Now I knew for a fact this woman would receive a commision from helping me, but I felt I needed help and it was worth it to me.  She grabbed my hand and walked me 3/4 mile back to the train station area and got me onto a bus.  I then asked for food and she took me to a noodle shop where they made up a bowl to go.  I asked for a bathroom and she took me to a little hole behind a wall where she stood and watched me pretty much.  Gotta love Asia.  I had asked about the bus and was assured it would arrive in Chongqing at 5 (it was 3pm then).  Since I believed I had read it was a 12 hour bus ride to Chongqing (wrong again!) 5am sounded right to me.  She also explained that this bus would take me most of the way there and that another bus would take me the final distance to Chongqing.
Views along the ride
  So she said "hello" and left (I think she thought it meant goodbye).  By the way, I should mention that I had a 9:30am flight out of Wuhan on September 3rd, so I needed enough time to get to Chongqing and back in time to make the flight.

So I'm on this sleeper bus, which is quite the experience in itself.  Instead of seats, there are a series of "beds" which are more like a reclining chair in shape.  But they're rather short, so I couldn't stretch out my legs no matter how hard I tried.  The bus didn't leave until 6:30 which I assumed was late since a sign in the front of the bus said 17:00 (wrong again!).  I slept pretty well considering how hot and cramped the bus was.  I woke up around 3 am and watched the beautiful hills go by.  It was quite the scenic route actually.  I got to see the countryside and parts of China most Westerners never see.   My bus made stops every now and then as they unloaded packages.  First it looked like big bags of rice at one place, another was computers.  5am came and went, but I didn't worry since I'd thought we left late.  Around 9am we go through this large city called Eshi on one of the signs.  I tried looking it up in my LP guide and didn't see it, which surprised me because it was clearly a major city.  Ten miles out of the city and I'm looking at a map and I see Eshi- halfway between Wuhan and Chongqing! 

So I freak out at this point.  I really didn't know what to do, but I knew if I turned around now I could get back to Wuhan in time.  At the next stop 20 minutes later I tried talking to the driver.  I think he thought I was asking him to turn the bus around, but what I was trying to say was that I wanted him to drop me off at the next city where I could catch a bus going back to Wuhan.  He called up a friend who spoke English.  Whoever this guy was (I never got his name), he was my savior.  It took awhile but eventually the driver understood.  We drove to the next town and before I knew it I was at a gas station standing next to some complete stranger the driver had talked to and the bus was driving off.  To be continued....

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Temple in Wuhan
Temple in Wuhan
Lady who put me on wrong bus
Lady who put me on wrong bus
Waiting area for the bus
Waiting area for the bus
On the sleeper bus
On the sleeper bus
Views along the ride
Views along the ride
Wuhan
photo by: FK27