Sunday, 22 September 2013
Day 47 - Guilin Sunrise and Train Chaos
The day started of very nice and calm with an early start and walk around the lake near my hostel to take pictures of the sunrise.
Guilin is probably nicest early morning and in the evening when you can get some great photos. There are also less tourists and people around in the morning so it's nicer to walk around and take pictures of the locals doing their exercises.
Once I got to the train station however the calm changed and people were everywhere due to the holiday being over so everyone was heading home. This would not have been a big issue as I had my train ticket sorted already and was just waiting to board.
There is something about trains on Sundays in China as all trains to Nanning were delayed and with my 9:17 train, delayed to 11:25, it would mean missing the connecting train to Hanoi.
Heading to the ticket office, I tried to change my ticket for a fast train leaving slightly later at 10:30 but it turned out this was also delayed till 11:40 and I would again miss the train to Hanoi.
So instead they gave me a ticket for the 7:45 train to Nanning at 10:30 because this was also delayed till 11:05 but according to them it should get to Nanning between 16:00 and 17:00 leaving me with 1:20h to get my connecting train.
I know what you think, I should have just got back to my hotel and enjoy the day in Guilin and travel tomorrow but I am stubborn so I set out on the journey sitting in 3rd class on a seat near where my ticket allocated me, enjoying the company of my fellow Chinese travellers.
It was a fun journey but the train did not only not make up any time, it got even more delayed along the way so I got to Nanning at 17:55 and had to still buy my ticket for the train to Hanoi. You might rightly say I should have bought this in the morning already but I was suspicious if the train would make it in time.
The queues were very big in the ticket office and I would have never made it on time were it not for my knowledge of the Chinese queuing system. If you're in a rush, just jump the queue and go straight to the front. In the UK this would not go down well but here it seems common and I had the tourist bonus. ;)
Long story short, i got my train ticket and made it on time to get the train to Hanoi with plugs that did not work again. Since it would only be a few hours overnight, this did not bother me too much.
The border crossings were quite efficient although this time everyone had to get off the train with their luggage and have it scanned in the terminal building. Still, it was preferable to the crossing between Mongolia andChina where we got locked in the carriage without water, AC or toilet access for hours.