My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

10th-11th September - A delirious time

After the Genghis Khan vodka session and the desert heat I spend the last 24hrs on the train in a state of delirium. After spending 10 minutes with my new Mongolian room mates (studying at university in Beijing) we are all shifted about and I move next-door, to guess what! More Swedes! Henrick and Anniki make great new room mates and we have a fun day looking for camels, eating our free breakfast and lunch in the Chinese diner (unexpected but good), waiting for the Great Wall and generally having a giggle. The border crossing from Mongolia to China takes forever because as well as 2 lots of passport control, we also have to change the wheels for Chinese size - so each carriage goes into a shed to be jacked up and generally shunted about a bit, whilst we are all stuck in our cabins (in the middle of the night again, and no toilet!) In the morning we are suddenly hurtling along at China speed with the horn blowing every 5 minutes (they love their horns here, buses, bikes, cars, trains!) and I am just in a state of 'I have no idea what is going on' until all of a sudden we arrive in Beijing and splurge out onto the platform - exactly on time (check that out National Rail!)

So full of optimism, I say farewell to my remaining buddies (expecting never to see them again in this huge city...) and set out confidently in the sunshine to 'just buy a train ticket to Vietnam and get a hostel.' Wham!!! No such luck. Man, what a nightmare, I spend 4 hours trudging around Beijing with backpack and accordion. To this ticket desk, up that escalator, down that lift, to that building, no that hotel, on that bus, to this train station, to that ticket desk, the police, the army, the eastern saloon and up and down and in and out until I burst into tears and give up!! So I squash on a bus and somehow find Tianamen Square and leap off to ponder. Amazingly I spot Ruud and the Dutch (from the Trans-Sib) and they console me, help me out and I wander some way with them. Off on my own again to half blindly wander down alleys and somehow find the youth hostel Henrick and Anniki are at and find a bed. I am overwhelmed by the number of Chinese people who endeavoured to help me today (successfully or not) but am frustrated by the language and my bag is just too heavy. I have got to get rid of something or get a massage or both!


At 12:28 pm, September 16, 2006, Blogger LimePulp said...

HI Babs

So loads of Vodka, little food and hot desert heat do not go well together, just stick to the vodka and maybe eat a bit more food before you start drinking.

Question? Are there any Swedes left in Sweden. You seen to be meeting a lot of them on this trip, at least most of them seen to speak some english so you can have a good old chat and giggle with them.

Sorry Beijing made you cry, I'm sure it wasn't anything personal and the locals did try and help, hope the Beijing makes you smile before you leave.

I forgot you where taking your accodion with you as well as the bridesmaids dress, at least it will help to keep you in shape, those Welsh hills aren't getting any flatter, by the time you get back they will probable feel like they have doubled in hight when you first try to ride up them again. The small bumps we call hills in Northampton are still doing me in.

Better luck finding somewhere to sleep in Vietnam, hope you don't run out of food again, bet you really enjoyed that free breakfast and lunch on the last train.

Hope the Accodion still makes it to Brisbane with you, you need something to play at the Wedding Reception.

Take loads of care trudging around strange alley ways in strange cities.

Lots of Love & Luck

Steve XXX


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