Time for another Train Ride
Chongqing Travel Blog› entry 95 of 136 › view all entries
Today was a mainly a travel day but is actually filled with several amusing little stories that made it a funny day. It started out as another morning of early, loud music (the last one thankfully) and a breakfast announcement. Boat was still cruising up the Yangtze but our disembarkation point was only a about an hour or two away. So after eating it was back to my cabin to re-pack the duffle and get rid to switch gears again.
We disembarked the ship at Febgdu and the cruise operator insisted that we pay a "service fee" for some of the crew to carry our bags off the ship. Now we were all fully capable of carrying our gear but they insisted. It was only 10 Yuan, so we finally relented and the crew took off with our bags. We followed shortly behind them.
So we shouldered our bags up the stairs and clambered aboard the bus. I was hoping to get some extra sleep on the drive into Chongqing but that proved to be basically impossible. The road we drove on from Fengdu was rough and pot-holed and I flew several times from my seat as we travelled down the road. It wasn't an occasional bump either it was every 100 meters or so that the bus just went surging into the air. I sincerely hoped that the shocks on this baby had been checked out recently. Eventually we did reach Chongqing in one piece, generally speaking. Had some time to wait for the train to Chengdu so we found an internet cafe in the hub area around the station. It was good to catch up a bit after the days on the boat where we had been cut off to an extent. I remembered to send a belated Mother's Day Greeting home with my quick update. Also stopped to get some snacks/dinner for the 4-hour train journey into Chengdu.
Before I knew it was time to head for the train station to board the T8898 train for Chengdu departing at 1713. Just in simple seaters for this short journey but it was a much better opportunity to nap than on the bus. I did enjoy a bit of the scenery before darkness settled in and the time passed quickly. Before one knew it we had arrived in Chengdu.
A couple of the gals wanted to go out for some drinks and I figured I would had along as well. We asked about a place to go and were referred to the Jinli District where there were some bars and shops and even a Starbucks (I don't drink coffee so didn't really care but Simone was savoring a coffee and muffin). So give some information and the Mandarin on a card we went out to hail a taxi. Had a few drinks, watched the crowds meander through the area and being that it was already late when we arrived, it was all too soon time to head back. Now I had grabbed a hotel card from my room, and the gals had one they picked up from the hotel desk. Unfortunately the one they grabbed was for a sister hotel located elsewhere (although close) in Chengdu (and I did not know this at the time). So when we hailed a taxi to get back, they showed the card to our driver first and he set out on his way. I was pretty sure we weren't going back quite the same way but knew something was amiss when he pulled up to a hotel that wasn't ours. I took the card the gals had shown our driver and realized it was the wrong hotel, unfortunately I had no way now of convincing the taxi driver that this wasn't really where we wanted to be. Our only recourse was to exit and pay this cab, find another and start over again. We walked around briefly found another cab, I showed him the hotel card I was carrying and we quickly made it back to the hotel.
What was frustrating was that tomorrow when I got my bearings in the city a bit I realized that Jinli Street was basically one turn and a straight shot about 2km down the road. It didn't turn out to be too bad though. We ended up paying for two 20 Yuan cab fares instead of a single one on the return trip. One thing that was readily apparent is that Chinese cab fares are are a relative bargain when compared to Western prices.
We made it back safely and it was time to call it a day. Tomorrow was destined to be a very busy day indeed.