zhengzhou - between heaven and hell

Zhengzhou Travel Blog

 › entry 108 of 212 › view all entries
well.. it started so nice and it got so bad. roller-coaster ride par excellence once again.

after enjoying the free breakfast - chinese, which means that you rather not touch it - i checked out for my ride to zhengzhou, the main train hub in the province in hope for more luck to get to shanghai. first i had to get rid of jason again who still wanted to convince me to see the pagoda and other stuff in kaifeng.

i boarded a cool ricksha for a slow stroll through to city to the western long distance bus station. to my surprise the express bus only cost me 7 yuan and i could board immediately - wow, is there hope for travelling in china? (of course not, the short long-distance busses are always quite efficient and convenient)

after we left kaifeng i was excited (not anymore as you will read later, which makes it hard to describe now) - this was the china i was hoping to see! a 10 lane express highway straight to zhengzhou. empty of course, but impressive. i would have imagined something like that in dubai, but not in china. left and right the very nice looking farmland again. it looks really impressive, someone has big plans

someone else (the bus conductor) had big fun: he kept taking pictures of me, of him next to me, etc while sitting to my left.

getting closer to the province capital it got even better: huge, really really huge, corporate complexes, factories and gigantic residential suburbs are being built everywhere! everything looks more modern than i have ever seen in china. english names everywhere, e.g. "zhengzhou international business residences" and crap like that. tons of people working even on the side streets, decorating the pavements.

the city itself looks more modern than beijing. unfortunately the bus didn't drop me off at the train bus station but in one of the bus stations distributed over town. i had no idea where i was so it was time to ricksha again. 10 yuan for a 20 minute ride across some really scary roads hehe

i knew before that there are no hostels or similar things around: stumbling into the first lonely planet hotel i found out that they (a) doubled their prices and (b) were full. the next one had higher prices as well but i got a huge single room without bath for 90 yuan. it looks ok even though the hotel name once inside the building is different from the one printed in lp. bloody lonely planet anyway, the information is either outdated or wrong but seldom accurate.

i checked in at 12 and headed for the advance ticket office. yep, no tickets to shanghai for the next 10 days, yippie as if i had any hope. my hotel staff doesn't speak english and doesn't have ticket mafia contacts. short, i am f..cked. i headed for the huge expensive hotel nearby and asked if they can help booking tickets. yes they can help, 80 yuan fee (urgh), and yes they have a ticket. i told them that i'm gonna check the bus prices first and come back in 10 minutes. bus is 285, train incl fee was 312 so i opted for the train (which i know) and headed back. of course their contact could no longer be reached and i had to wait again. one of the uniformed boys then took me to the trainstation and we hurried from one blackmarket dude to the next, all without tickets.

i told him to get back to the hotel, i will take the bus. he insisted on staying and i got my ticket with him translating. well, tried to get rid of him but he wanted to get me back to his hotel (to see cash of course), i affirmatively told him to bugger off for their false promises and headed to the inet cafe. happy for having a ticket to shanghai tomorrow (i hope, i can't read a thing on it) i did some research on the chinese sleeper busses. ahh proper beds they have, but about 1.50m long. they usually take 24hours instead of 12, drop you off in suburbs or some other crappy location, are unsafe and space is kind of an issue. great... i wonder how that will turn out (actually i already know it: not good)

forgot which hostel in shanghai was recommended to me so i booked one with good ratings and hope for the best. i said i will be there at 11am and wrote them a mail that it could also be 11pm.

i went from loving china this morning in the bus to hating & cursing it right now. i just want to get to shanghai, take some deep breaths and decide if i really want to continue. i need to find a travel partner or i will go crazy soon hehe
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Zhengzhou
photo by: alexchan