Still not better.
To the point that, even after being asleep since 5pm the day before, don’t get out of bed until 9, and even then hole up in the bedroom napping until 12pm check out. End up just hanging round the bar for a few hours catching up on blogging while waiting for my bus time – no real desire to go out in Xi’An, especially since its so food stench related and my stomach is currently a nil-by-mouth zone.
(Also, this part of Xi’An has a really odd smell – my ex-tourmate suggested it was old oil from the food carts, and definitely thing he had the right idea).
That said, did go out for a brief moment. On my first day I’d caught sight of a really awesome (if slightly blingy) ring in a nearby shop. Decided not to get it that day, but as it was still on my mind and I had some spare cash, why not? Woman in the shop however, decided I was a ‘dumb tourist’ and when I had the ring on, quoted a price that was nearly twice what I’d been offered the first time I’d seen it. I just laughed thinking she had it wrong (figured since this was an actual SHOP haggling wasn’t expected), mentioned the original price.
She kept insisting it was a ‘very pretty ring’ – to which I replied (and was right) this ring was slightly damaged, since I’d seen it last it had received a noticeable chip in its side. The ended up digging out a slightly smaller sized ring which fit another finger, but I still wasn’t paying more than the original price. Eventually she agreed.
(makes me wonder had I not quoted the original price in surprise what I might have actually gotten it for…).
I have plenty of time before my flight, but with me wanting out of Xi’An and relying on the bus to get me there, decided to head off early to make sure nothing goes wrong. Make my way back to the Bell Tower, brush off the dozen taxi touts and get in line.
Taxi’s in China are crazy. And you can’t always tell if they’re for taxi’s or buses. Touts were hanging round the airport express line and would latch onto you offering a taxi and insisting the airport bus wasn’t running. Trying to get you to name your price (then get you to agree to theirs). While we were waiting quite a few people broke off for taxis – think they all joined up for a cheaper deal, but I had left early solely so I could use the bus. I already had a taxi to pay for in Guilin.
The airport warns you to take the bus 2 1/2 hours before your flight in case of traffic, but wasn’t an issue for me. Bus pretty much slipped out of the city and got me to the airport so early I couldn’t even check in for a good 40 minutes. A quick once over at the one coffee shop’s prices had me sitting on the floor in a corner blogging again until I could offload my bag. Thankfully inside the security check was much more reasonable.
Sun had gone down by the time we were up in the air so didn’t get to enjoy the sights this time – but as you might of guessed I spent the flight sleeping, and then heading down for my bag (3 out of 5 flights my bag has made it in one piece, woohoo!) and start looking for my name on a piece of paper.
Never actually had a taxi waiting for me before, which was a novel experience. But I didn’t arrive at Guilin Airport until 20:15, and I have enough trouble figuring out where I am in the day, never mind in the dark. So paying the excess seemed like money well spent. Guy spoke no English, but confirmed the name and took me out to a quieter exit and had me wait until he brought his car around.
I’d been told to visit Guilin because it was supposedly very beautiful, and its ‘where the Chinese go on holiday’. I’d been tempted because I thought it was a much quieter place than my other stops – but discovered later on that it was still a pretty big city and I’d need to daytrip to Yangshuo for the smaller quiet stop. Still, driving to Guilin, I was taken aback at just how ‘big’ it actually was.
And the neon. Dear god the neon. It’s everywhere in China, but we drove down one street that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Vegas. Sort of clashes with the huge giant stone mounds cropping out everywhere…
Still, get to my hostel, the Ming Palace International Youth Hostel and check in. First impressions are good – Receptionist has by far the best English of any hostel I’ve stayed in so far, the bar looks pretty comfy (AND has a small but available lounge area too). And as an extra adorable bonus, they have a kitten! His name’s Ginger and he’s adorable!
However, I’m less than enthused when I realise I’m on the fifth floor. Up five rather steep flights of stairs. Thank god I had a backpack and not a suitcase. Even less impressed when I discover they’re using the quiet season to refurbish the 4th and 5th floors, so I’m basically walking through construction sites.
Still, beds are comfy, rooms are clean and the washing machine is free to use, so should do me for now.