Trip Start Sep 21, 2007
494Trip End Apr 10, 2009
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First of all I want you all to know that I am OK. I am in China right now, but I didn't even feel the slightest tremble of the Sichuan earthquake even though I am only 800 kilometers as the crow flies from Chengdu. Secondly, I should really rephrase the first sentence, because I should not say 'I am OK' but 'We are OK' since I am travelling with a beautiful Chinese girl who happens to be my girlfriend! Her (English) name is Peony (or in Chinese Xiao Li or Dan Li) and she's 21 years old and comes from Hainan Island. But let's start from the beginning:
I met Peony in January in Sanya on Hainan Island. We were just friends then, but after I left Sanya, we still kept in contact en we both realized that we like(d) each other a lot more than just regular friends do. So I promised Peony to come back to China, to Sanya to see her again. And that's what I did.
In my last entry I wrote that I got my visa for China and that I would head for China the next day, and so I did. I took a very early morning bus to the Vietnamese border town of Mong Cai, a trip of almost nine hours. Mong Cai is an uneventful market town where I had difficulties to find a budget room. I walked to the border to check the opening times and that's about it.
The next day I walked across the border. The Vietnamese side was very relaxed, but the Chinese side was quite the opposite. First they had a really close look at my passport and visa, but that was OK. After that I had the most thorough luggage search I've ever had in my life: it took more than a half hour and included looking into my pictures on my camera, turning on my laptop to see what's on it and checking every single piece of clothing and books. Welcome to China! I felt like a criminal, although the custom officials were friendly enough. I then took a local bus to the bus station and from there I took an hour later the direct bus to Zhanjiang. This route was mostly on highways so it went quite quickly. In the late afternoon I arrived in Zhanjiang, where I straight away booked a night bus to Sanya, which would leave about 4 hours later. Here I called Peony to say that I was arriving in Sanya the next morning.
At 05h15 I arrived in Sanya, but of course it was too early to give Peony a call, and I waited at the local McDonald's until 8 o'clock to give her a call. At 9 o'clock she was with me, and she has been with me pretty much ever since!
Since I have only got a visa for one month which is such a short time, I've asked Peony to follow me along across China - which she said yes to. In Sanya I saw many friends of Peony - of whom I already knew a few. One day we took the local bus to Yalong Bay, a beautiful beach where I had a nice swim. On Hainan Island we also visited Peony's hometown of Qiongzhong, in the mountains. Here I met her aunt and her little brother and sister. The next day we continued to Shimei Bay - another beautiful beach and from there we took the bus back to Sanya.
Peony said goodbye to her friends and the next day we took the day bus to Zhanjiang (about 10 hours by bus) and here we were able to book train sleeper tickets for the night train to Guilin. The next we arrived and Guilin and immediately took the bus to Yangshuo, where we are right now.
This is my third visit to Yangshuo this trip and my fourth ever. Yangshuo is my favourite place in China and it also happens to be the place where Peony studied English. She still has many friends here and we're already visited and seen quite a few. I also went back to Lulu's Cafe and saw Amy again. Yesterday we went swimming in the Yulong River with some of Peony's friends.
Tomorrow we will leave Yangshuo and continue north.
So now you are really up-to-date! ;-)
Everybody take care!