On the Rails Again.......
Trip Start Feb 03, 2010
56Trip End Jul 09, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
On the train
As the hours passed into the night the rain started and we entered the two provinces that have been suffering from unprecedented rainfall and subsequent flooding. That is the luxury of long long train journeys – covering such distances, incredible scenery, no problem trying to decipher bus or plane schedules and, when it is raining monsoons; you are still warm and comfy in your little pod. My cabin mate and I tried to converse but to no avail, so we just shared our time together, very nicely. He was headed to a city a few hours past Guangzhou and would be taking a bus.
As we got closer to Guangzhou the density and frequency of the cities started to increase and I had a bit of a foreboding concern as to how I was to find one room in one apartment in a City of multi millions. I really started to worry about leaving the safety and security of my cocoon. For the first time in my travels, I had a real 'bad feeling'. It was a very unusual feeling for me
Factory after factory went by – I could see thousands and thousands of people toiling away in the dim buildings. One area – had about a full mile. Along the tracks, of Engine chasis piled up about 20 feet high. Imagine how many engine blocks that is? I saw Honda parts factories and clothing factories and metal works and every possible widget factory. Made In China???? Made in this province.
The train pulled into Central station and he grabbed me and we plunged out of the concourse into a wall of people – thousands and thousands all making a run for one tiny exit where two guys were taking your ticket in order to exit. It was wild – pushing and stomping and yelling. I don’t know how many trains were unloading but there were throngs of Chinese without any personal space boundaries. I should also add that I have described my experience on the train – that is at the highest end of the comfort scale
My cabin mate had a plan. He dragged me and he carried my bags through the narrow ticket-taker passage and straight into the Taxi touts. The touts come up and stand right in front of you – nose to nose, belly to belly and you have to just keep walking and they keep walking – backwards. Funny to watch, not funny to usually have done to you. I am used to it and also used to most taxis not wanting my fare – just easier to get someone who knows where they are going and can converse in mandarin.
Buddy pulled me completely through the train station and out onto the street before he started to ask the taxi guys if they would take me…nope, nope nope. We continued down a few blocks and he found one guy, told him my story and gave him the written instructions and then gave the guy a lot of money. I was shocked. He pushed the money into the guy’s hands and told him sternly to deliver me to this address
The driver kept looking at me and I realized the meter was not on so I sternly told him to put the meter on and not even think about jacking me around….I had already forgotten that Buddy had paid – a lot. The driver happily put the meter on and I just didn’t care – maybe I might find a place out of the hot, wet and sticky chaos by midnight. Still, my gut felt different this time – it felt like something really bad was going to happen tonight. Half hour later after winding through little lanes and searching searching for a needle in a haystack, the cab pulled up in front of a beautiful apartment building with a 24 hour McDonalds next door. All good! Ahhhhh……my bad thoughts started to dissipate.
The front desk staff were eagerly waiting for me – worried I might be lost and very relieved that their instructions had done the trick. They upgraded me from a studio apartment to a one bedroom, so sweet. The apartment was very spacious, sparkling clean and a just a relief. I felt so much better and now know that my instincts are not always right. I don’t know where the feeling came from that day but I was thankful my gut was wrong.