Guilin, entry number 100!

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
1
100
107
Trip End Aug 19, 2011


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Flag of China  , Guangxi Zhuang,
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In spite of the heavy night I was up by 11 and in a taxi to the bus station by 12:30. Getting a bus to Guilin was too easy… this first bus I saw was about to leave for their.  Annoying, as it was slow and stopping everywhere, meaning the 70km journey took a silly two hours.  When I arrived in Guilin I knew I was in the center but not at the bus station indicated in my map.  It took me a good 30 minutes of walking around in circles before I managed to find the hostel where I planned to stay.  The friendly receptionist was helpful and had the best English I have heard from a Chinese person.  The hostel was very nice, and I had a 6 bed dorm all to myself, a good thing this time as I was in no mood for socializing.  I had to drag myself out of the room to go to the train station and book my ticket out of there.  I got the receptionist to write all the information I needed to get to Shenzhen ASAP on a piece of paper.  Getting the ticket was something of an ordeal.  I went into the first building I saw in the station area which had train sign outside.  It looked pretty calm with just a couple of small queues.  I joined one and when I handed the guy the information he just pointed in a direction and barked instructions in Chinese.  I assumed he was pointing at another queue at the other end of the room, so I joined that and repeat… Obviously they were both directing me to another building outside.  I found the building which had about 15 separate queues, each quite long, and each with Chinese information above them.  I found an information counter and a guy directed me to join queue 2, so I did.  After 30mins in queue 2 the lady just shook her head and pointed to the even longer queue 1.  Repeat and finally I found myself in front of another clerk.  I was waiting to be sent to queue 15 but thankfully she nodded and produced a train ticket for the very next day, and in the hard sleeper class, I was not expecting to be so lucky.  That was about the only useful thing I did that day.  In the evening I decided it was high time that I claimed something from my travel insurance for all the things that have gone missing on my trip.  I called them and was told that a police report would have to be produced to claim anything, so there I was given my mission for the following day.

A backpacker without a camera… it's a bit like a solider without a gun, still I had to see something of the city.  I slept in until noon and after breakfast headed for the PSB (tourist police), what I was told would be my best bet to find and English speaking police officer.  Wandering the city was quite pleasant actually; a manageable size, having only 700,000 people, a small town by Chinese standards.  It was very hot and humid in spite of being cloudy so I was sweating profusely by the time I reached PSB.  Still things were looking up and I was hopeful these guys would produce the report I needed without a problem.  Not to be of course, after a 30 minute wait outside and another 30 in a queue I was turned away being told that I would have to go back to Yangshou to get the report.  The place was confusing and had almost no signs in English.  To make things worst the police I encountered were unfriendly and unhelpful and had a certain nack for making the non Chinese speaking tourist feel very stupid.  She did give me the phone number of an English speaking police man in Yangshou who might be able to help.  But I felt that was just something to get rid of me.  I shrugged it off and headed to a park nearby.  It was a nice place but had a distinct artificial feeling, much like the park in Guangzhou.  There were even waterfalls there, and when I examined the surrounding geography I was sure they were made from pumped water, just another artificial piece of crap in this superficial country.  There were crowds of Chinese tourists around who were in a guided tour, even just for a visit to a park.  I think these people are so scared of individuality that they cant do anything without the safety of a tour group.  After the park I went to the University which was housed in a Ming dynasty mansion.  It looked like a beautiful place to visit.  When I got to the ticket desk and asked for an entrance to the university the lady refused saying I would have to by this combination ticket for all these museums I had no interest in.  In was written in plain English that entry to the Princes mansion was only 20 Yuan so I insisted and kept pointing at it.  She over insisted so I walked off… stick your stupid beautiful University.  This is just the kind of thing you have to put up with in China.  Back in the city I wandered into some camera shops to have a look at prices for replacing my camera.  It seemed like store assistants would avoid me and if I approached a counter I would get a terrible look of fear that I might actually want to buy something.  Back on the street and as I was already mentally giving the whole country the middle finger I particularly noticed something which I saw in Guangzhou too.  The people here really stare at you.  It not like in South East Asia where they smile, maybe wave of even say hello.  No these people stare rudely and invasively and in all other ways completely ignore you.  I really hate it and I need to find some way in which I should react.  After having enough of Guilin, and China, I returned to the hostel.  The super friendly, helpful and English fluent receptionists were there to somewhat cheer me up.  I tried to use their phone to call the police man in Yangshou.  He did have some English but was by no means fluent enough to have a conversation.  I couldn’t communicate with him and at one point I think he handed the phone so someone else who shouted at me that it was not his job to speak English.  I was ready to forget about it when the receptionist saw I was upset.  She got my whole story and called back for me to speak in Chinese and see if there was anyone who could help me.  After about 3 calls she managed to get an email address of someone who I could give the details of the missing items and who might be able to provide me a police report by email.  I could have hugged her for her help!  I think to get by in China I’m going to have to always have an local fluent in English to help… a luxury I will probably never have!

No photos for this entry sorry!
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Comments

Mam on

Well if nothing else teaches you some patience then Guilin will surely do it. Hope you recognised the angel ie. receptionist in all this.

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