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sleeping hard, going ancient

Pingyao Travel Blog

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so hard sleeper it was for last night. after getting some hints from the other travellers i wanted to be at the waiting hall early (to have space for my luggage near my sleeping compartment)

some chinese uniformed lady yelled something and the race was one. i was pretty sure it was just for unreserved hard seat ticket holders but i jumped into the mess as well, tourist bonus hehe

no surprise, i was the 3rd person in my sleeper and exchanged my ticket for my boarding plastic card (nice system actually, so the attendant knows when to wake up each passenger) and jumped onto my middle berth. it was quite comfortable, not much space but i could squeeze my daypack in front of my head and could still fit on it. people around me were much much much nicer than the hard seat crowd... travel money seperates the rude working class from the lower-middle it seems

i slept like a baby and was woken up 20 minutes before arrival (not 60 as i was warned) and stepped out into the freezing cold at taiyuan. tried to get a ticket for my onward travel to kaifeng which of course was all booked out (blackmarket & travel agencies once again...)

decided to take a cab to the bus station for my bus to pingyao as 0530 is too early for a bus search i figured and i was freezing. negotiated down from 20 to (still too much) 10 yuan. arrived at the station only to find out with some help from a girl that my bus only runs at 0730... thanks again cits for your great help: "bus runs every 15 minutes"

my bus was a 50 year old minibus and the adventure started

i haven't described it in detail yet i think, but inbetween chinas cities is nothingness, or shantytowns/dirtfields that let bolivia look like a 5star ressort. it is simply devastating how run down the countryside is. and still, the bus drops people off in the middle of nowhere and people are walking up and down the neverending street - crazy! remains of industrial and communism times everywhere. china might be catching up fast, but until the millions/billions of countryside people start the modern age it will take more than just a few years or even generations.

as always with public busses i got dropped of where all the cab scammers are waiting for their victim, me. i overpaid the motoriksha driver because i just wanted to get my room as soon as possible and he started about 8 times the realistic price. usually in china the real price is about a quarter of their first offer, but this guy was crazy. anyway, pingyao is a beautiful ancient town with cobblestones and a citywall surrounding it. very small and filled with tourist crap shops (but aimed at chinese tourists). found my guesthouse and was showed my room: i pay 60 yuan a night (10 swiss francs) for a doublebed room with tv and ensuite bath.. hehe

there is a rumour that this room can be negoitated down to 30 yuan but i felt guilty because it's almost empty here :) got highspeed internet and the lady of the house (which has similarities with the lady from kung fu hustle) booked me my train from taiyuan to kaifeng on the 19th... aaaha, so now we know who got those tickets!

will explore town tomorrow by bike after having a resting (and pic uploading) day today :)

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Pingyao
photo by: halilee