28 November 2009

CHINA - Chengdu back to Lao border

22 November 2009 - Chengdu – Kunming (by train) - day 965

What a performance it is to take a train. We cycled off to the train station and then had to book in the bikes at a different place to where you get the train. Once on the train it was very comfortable as we took a sleeper and it came with bedding and the carriage was heated. Food trolleys came by every few minutes and as there was nothing else to do, we just ate and stared out the window. Although the train was full it was not-over crowded as everyone had a seat. It’s a great pity that one can not talk to your fellow travelers, but language remains a problem.

Ernest, however, had himself a great party by himself with his bottle of moonshine.

23 November - Kunming - day 966

We arrived in Kunming at around 9h00. It took forever to get the bike out of the cargo section, load up and cycle to the nearest hotel. I found a hotel close to the Thai consulate as I wanted to apply for a Thai visa the following day. The Thai visa one gets at the border is only valid for 2 weeks which is way too little time to get to Malaysia.

Kunming felt like home as it is so seldom that I am in the same place twice. I took a walk into town to see if I could find a map of Laos, as I will be taking a different route than on my previous visit. The search was, however, unsuccessful. Although there was a Lonely Planet for sale I did not buy it as it appeared a little expensive for such a short trip.

24 November 2009 - Kunming - day 967

First thing in the morning I was off to the Thai embassy, but they told me I need a flight or bus ticket in order to apply for the visa and that apparently I can get one at the border for 30 days. O well I wait and see when I get there. I bought a bus ticket to the Lao border for the following day. It was a ticket on an overnight sleeper bus.

I took another walk to the book store and in the end bought South East Asia Lonely Planet as it was the same price as just the Laos one and at least it covers the whole of South East Asia. I also bought a novel as I reckoned I would need something to read on such a long bus trip.

25 November 2009 - Kunming - day 968

The bus only left at 17h00 so I had the whole day to do nothing and just wander around Kunming, which I know pretty well by then.

Another surprise waited as I got to the bus station. The cargo section of the bus was full and they could not take my bike. At least they refunded my ticket and I cycled to the “Cloudland Hostel” where we’d stayed 2 months earlier on our way North. The place is cheaper and has more life than the Camilla Hotel where I’d stayed the previous two nights. Shortly after my arrival at Cloudland, Ernest also returned there (he’d been staying there) as he’d also been booked on a South-bound bus and been refunded his ticket money.

26 November - Kunming- day 969

I could not believe I was still in Kunming. After a leisurely start I decided to cycle back to the bus station to see if I would be luckier this time. Ernest decided to come with and we were rather lucky as there was a bus with cargo space ready to leave to Jinghong.

The most amazing thing about the bus was that the driver had a TV that he could watch while driving! Of cause not even the bus came without a hot water machine, there is no chance that the Chinese will go anywhere without their tea.

It was a long and tiring bus ride, as I was coming down with the flu. I don’t know how all the backpackers do it. I’d much rather cycle even although it is so much slower. I felt sick and after the 9-hour trip I was happy to see that there was a bus station hotel. It saved us from re-packing the bikes and cycling around looking for a hotel in the dark.

27 November - Jing Hong - day 970

We packed up and left the Bus Station Hotel in search of a better location closer to the city centre. I was still suffering from a head ache and body aches and decided to stay on one more day to recover. Seeing that they were so strict at the border with the N1H1 flu virus, (taking your temperature and all), I didn’t want to risk being kept in quarantine for goodness knows how long.

1 comment:

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