Day 7-8. Rain and Train

Train

[1] Chinese train

The next morning met me with grey cloudy sky and small, but monotonous rain. I didn’t want to leave the bed — my head ached, whether of weather or of yesterday’s “Ganbei! Let’s drink more, cos I am happy!“.

But the time craftily whispered to me, that if I won’t wake up right now, then my possibility to use the hotel’s free breakfast ticket will be lost. And after putting on my clothes, I went to check if my companions already woke up, because I wanted to know about their plans.

Drier joined me over the breakfast — he left his wife to have a rest — and we discussed, what should I do further. The original yesterday’s plan was to take me to the highway, where I could hitchhike to Wuhan (武汉市), but the weather wasn’t good enough for this, so that’s why the driver suggested me to go by train. And when after my favourite phrase “I am travelling without using money, thank you”, I headed in answer “You are my friend, I want to help to you”, decision was made — we went to the train station.

There we found, that there were no direct route to Wuhan. But I also had a possibility to go to Changsha (长沙市), on the south from Xi’an. Changsha was farther than Wuhan, and that was for me even better. And have no idea why, but we’ve found a connection their quite fast. On this phase we’ve faced some language problems, which were before successfully hidden behind the full mouth of food and singing songs in KTV. But thanks to relations with Chinese Mafia my dear friends in China, whom I met in Prague, this problem was quickly solved.

I called one wonderful girl, who kindly offered to me her help in communication with the driver. As we realized, to Changsha from Chengguan there were no direct route too, and the only possibility for me is to transfer in Xi’an, where I should go by bus.

On the bus station my dear driver instructed me where and how to go, and left me 2 useful notes in my notebook: how to ask, where is train station; and how to ask on the train station when and from where departs my train.

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[2] 1. Where is the train station? 2. Where departs train number K606

It was sad to say goodbye: in such situations I always have a feeling, that too little time I spend with a person, that I’d like to stay longer and to know more about him. But this is the life on the road. And maybe it may sound ridiculous, but this is kinda traveller’s burden — to meet new mates, soul mates and friends, and at the same time say to them “Goodbye and see you”. But at least one big plus — you will see them for sure, one day, no matter when and where.

Already after I left, the driver sent me a message:

— 认识你是一个最美丽的意外,希望下次来中国,还可以再次见到您。[“To know you — is the most wonderful surprise for me. Hope next time, when you’ll come to China, I can meet you again“]

To leave pleasant memories for people and to inspire them — isn’t this the reason to live and to travel?

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[3] Always foggy mountains

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[4]

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[5]

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[6] Corns!

In the bus I had a chance to see a Chinese vocal TV-show, kinda American “X Factor”:

And here is the original song from a popular in Taiwan movie “You are the apple of my eye”:

Xi’an’s train station met me with big queues and typical for all Chinese cities noise. No wonder — though this is one of the biggest tourist centres. And also here, my tablet, which served to me so long, decided to left me active only one half of its touch-screen — right in the middle of the display appeared one long crack. This unsettled me a little, because without maps and dictionary could be more difficult to continue the trip, but soon I learned how to work only with one half of the screen — just turned it all the time — and somehow accepted the loss.

Funny, but almost every my trip I use a new tablet. That’s fate, I swear!

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[7] Train station in Xi’an. Photo from internet

The second phrase, which the driver wrote to me, was useful, when I asked policemen when will departure my train (it was late). And here I was lucky, because when they tried to help me, they took me to the comfortable waiting room with English-speaking staff and there I could calmly wait for my train and stare on foreigners, whom I haven’t seen all the time of travel through the China.

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[8] Queues near the station. Photo from internet

Chinese train — the whole new world. It is how separate, plying on rails independent city, with it’s own shops, restaurants and citizens. What is striking, when you enter a train — lots of people. Really many. Majority with big bags, cases and pails, full of different snacks — most of them will spend in the train few days and it is better to prepare food in advance.

The wagon itself consisted from the rows of seats: three seats in one side and 2 on another, and from small tables with baskets for rubbish. Here you won’t see boxes with lid, where you can put all your rubbish and forget about it. All your garbage always will be right in your sight.

Between the rows all the time walking different people and offer different services: from food (snacks, fruits, breakfasts/dinners etc.) till rechargeable batteries for phones and rental  laptops for watching movies. For example my neighbour the whole morning bought from one cute girl belts. Not sure, if he really needed them, but every time, when she passed near, his face wreathed in happy smiles.

But in general, because there were nothing to do, all the road I slept or just stared into the window. I spent in the train more than 1 day and during that time I tried all positions of sleeping.

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[9] The art of sleeping. Photo from internet

In the morning I already had new neighbours — mother with little daughter, and father with son and grandmother. Children started to champ cookies and babble on their Children-Chinese language. The boy, who probably just learned to speak, counted out loud, and every time, when it was number 2 in the phrase, he shouted out “AAA!” on the whole wagon (Chinese numbers: Yī, èr, sān, sì, wǔ, liù, qī, bā, jiǔ, shí).

Soon the girl saw me — funny foreigner, and decided to share food with me. Till that time I hadn’t had any food, and I was very grateful to this little princes. In return I gave to her a Belarusian metro coin, which I found in my wallet and she was really happy — how it’s possible for young girl not to enjoy absolutely pink coin!

In few hours we arrived to Changsha. At fist I planned to visit my friend, but, as at that time she was on the north of China, straight from the station I headed to the bypass. Here the hell began — stuffily, humid and hot. No wonder this region is famous by it’s weather no less than a spicy food.

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[10] Train station in Changsha. Photo from internet.

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[11] Changsha I haven’t seen. Photo from internet.

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[12] Changsha I’ve seen — fog, heat and new building.

Hitchhiking was quite successful, but to get out on the road I had to wade through the bushes and trees. By two cars I reached the highway which leaded to Nanchang (南昌市), and there for me stopped a young couple from Shanghai (上海市), who came back with their daughter after travelling around China. As it has appeared, they had travelled a lot, already been in Africa and Europe, and their English language was much better than average level in China.
They took me to Yichun (宜春市), and I started to wait for another ride.

It was already dusk and I understood, that I had a chance to hitchhike only one car, and after I have to search for lodging for the night.

So, in the last car, which stopped for me was also a young couple. They went to Xinyu (新余市) because of work. When it began to get dark, they started to worry how I will sleep. Probably I wasn’t convincing enough, telling them how it’s nice to sleep in a tent, that’s why, when we arrived to the toll station, the girl, who worked there, translated for me their desire — to stay for a night and to continue my trip in the morning.

Once more to eat and to sleep in a hotel? Sure, why not!

This time the hotel was very luxury, business class. Wow! But without Wi-Fi. Yes, here Wi-Fi in expensive hotels is a rarity, it is much more easy to find it in a hostels or flop-houses. But anyway I had at my disposal a big soft bed and a chance to take a refreshing shower.

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[13] Who said, that hitchhiking is not a comfortable way of travelling? :D

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[14] I found in TV one channel in English language — CCTV America. And there was very funny story, where Americans with serious expressions on their faces told, why Facebook is an evil, and why we shouldn’t use it. Though, propaganda works the same everywhere.

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[15] Washbasin right in the lobby. Good idea

Under the glass on the bedside table I’ve found an interesting calling cart. Do you also think, that this pretty girl promoting bed clothes and underwear? :)

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[16] Call her!

After taking the shower I had to “operate” my foot — to cut the piece of skin from  the callus. As a result I got an open wound the size of 50 cent. Risky, because in case of dirt ingress inside I could have a big problems. But otherwise it was unbearable to step on the foot.

This time I decided not to sit till late night and soon went to bed, gratefully the fate for another interesting day. And I fully entrusted myself at the disposal of Morpheus.

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[17] The view of night Xinyu

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[18] Unbelievable little lights for Chinese city

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[19]

Approximate way by train in 7th day:

8th day:

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