Monday, November 2, 2009
Bus from Hanoi, Vietnam to Nanning, China
This is where the traveling took a notch higher - China isn't much of an English speaking country but we met a whole lot of helpful and friendly Chinese people who were more than willing to help us with directions, tickets etc. The Chinese were WONDERFUL!
We stayed overnight at a Nanning Hotel and took a train to Beijing. There are several "classes" to choose from in the train. We picked an "upper berch" (317 RMB) which meant We could sleep in a bunk bed during this long train ride (more than 20 hours). It was comfortable (My standards are not high) and it was a GREAT new experience (purchase food or snacks before you board the train is my suggestion).
Of course Beijing was absolutely mind boggling! I love movies about old China (The Last Emperor , Raise the Red Lantern, Farewell my Concubine etc.) and so, seeing Beijing in real life was a big thrill for me. We stayed in a 350+ year old hostel which was 10 minutes away from Tianamen Square - what more can you ask for?
I feasted on the lamb bar b que which is sold on the streets and went on the "Secret Wall" tour of the Great Wall of China - I REALLY enjoyed Beijing.
We took another train from Beijing to modern Shanghai. It is best that you make early reservations for the backpacker hostels (unlike in Southeast Asia) in Shanghai because it can get really fully booked at times. Shanghai is much like the complete opposite of Beijing - completely modern which was also very nice to see (Don't miss: The Bund).
From Shanghai, we took another long train ride to Macau (more than 20 hours!) this time we took the "hard seat" which is the economy version of a plane ride. REAL uncomfortable but an experience not to be missed. Here's a drawing I made - there were people EVERYWHERE (even in the bathroom). People were falling asleep right and left - including a stranger who fell asleep on my lap.
Off to Macau!