Nanning to Guilin, China
Guilin Travel Blog› entry 22 of 111 › view all entries
After another great nightâ€™s sleep, we awoke and checked out of our hostel. As the train station was not far from the hostel we decided to walk there. We arrived at the train station where we had to put our luggage through an xray machine (it didnâ€™t appear that anyone was looking at the monitors, but I understand this is standard procedure at rail and bus stations).
We found our platform fairly quickly on the monitors (no Chinese required as the train number is displayed clearly on the ticket, and on the electronic displays at the station) and headed upstairs. Our train was already boarding as we reached the platform, which saved us waiting around. We headed to our carriage (again clearly indicated on the ticket) and found our seat. The luggage racks are very spacious and our rucksacks fitted well.
The train journey lasted around 5 hours but it went fairly fast. Cup noodles, snacks and drinking water is on sale from vendors that walk through the carriages and it seems fairly good value considering itâ€™s on a train (3 Yuan for a 600ml bottle water, 3 Yuan for vacuum packed meat and fruit snacks - satay, jerky, dried apricots etc). Towards the end of the journey, people came into the carriages selling bits and pieces which took our mind off the time. We had the pleasure to learn about the incidence of counterfeited currency in China and were offered the chance to buy a UV light to check our notes.
We had someone selling invincible socks - he ran 3 wooden prongs down them but they were undamaged, and finally twin packs of toothbrushes. A brilliant idea and I donâ€™t know why this idea hasnâ€™t been adopted elsewhere (or maybe it has).
We arrived in Guilin and left the station. Fab found it strange that people were openly smoking, but then realised that having the fortune of the UK Governmentâ€™s ban on smoking in public places, was not to be shared worldwide.
We had arranged to be picked up from Guilin station as it appeared further on the map than the hostel indicated. We found our car quickly and were dropped at the hostel. It was more like a budget hotel, and was, admittedly a little disappointing compared to our last place. Fortunately though, we had booked and paid for a double room with a shared bathroom, but ended up with an ensuite. If we had paid for an en-suite, we would have paid four times the cost. We also had a huge balcony with a fantastic view over the Li River.
We took a short break then headed out to take a look around Guilin and grab some food. We wandered over to the area where the restaurants were and while we were waiting to cross the road, we heard â€śHello!â€ť. I turned around and said hello back to the man on the moped next to us.
Then I remembered that I had read about this scam, where a friendly person approaches you wanting to practise their English, before taking you to a restaurant, or tea house where you enjoy the tea and then get lumbered with a massive bill.
Anyway, we made it to our restaurant and were taken to our table and handed an English language menu (something we were led to believe was a rarity in China). I ordered sauteed beef with red peppers and Fab ordered garlic chicken. We also had some egg fried rice, and a couple of drinks. The rice came first and it was phenomenal - you wouldnâ€™t think rice could be amazing, but it was.
My beef came next. It was sliced into tiny pieces in a rice sauce, with sliced chilli and celery. It was like fire it was so hot! When I ordered beef with red peppers I expected a bell pepper, not a chilli pepper. Despite it being spicy, it was delicious (well, apart from the celery which I detest). Fabâ€™s dish came last and it was basically breaded garlic chicken with red bell peppers. It was really tasty but we were both getting really full so left a fair bit.
We headed back to our hostel with full bellies and had a good nightâ€™s sleep.