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Songpan Is As It Sounds...Extremely Beautiful

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya

Today we were off to Songpan

I have met so many travellers whom had come through Sichuan down through Yunnan and into Guangxi. I had chatted to them over late night beer about the beautiful horse treks they had experienced in the town of Songpan.

Songpan...the name fills ones mind with beauty and wonder

Songpan...I wondered if it really was full of wonder

The main reason in going to Songpan was of course the beautiful horse trek. My idea was three or four days as was Judys. We rose much too early, said our thank you's and good byes to the staff member at Soma's Hostel and caught a cab out to the Chadianzi Bus Station. This trip cost 20 Yuan and took 30 minutes NOT an hour like everyone will tell you. We sat for a dumpling breakfast and boarded the 7:30am bus to Songpan.

The bus trip was pretty uneventful and I didn't even manage an hours sleep due to the bus driver extreme love for his horn. I'm unsure why he beeped so much or even what he was actually beeping at. Maybe he was ever so proud of his bus and wanted everyone to actually gaze in glorious wonder at the sight of it as we passed by. The fact was...there must have been hundreds of invisible cars on the road that day.

The bastard just beeped and beeped and beeped!

The horn was one of those Chinese beauties that actually goes right through you each time. It had several tones and mate, he was so proud! The countryside was beautiful. We went through many small villages where people 'gazed in glorious wonder' at our bus and waved as we passed by. They were so happy our beautiful bus visited and passed through their little town of village in a beeping rage.

In our bus were four other foreigners whom sat together and were so extremely happy to be the 'only foreigners in China'. The girl with the Superman tee shirt and cowboy hat look right through me and then turned her gaze to the much more impressive bus station floor as I said a happy morning hello to her. As the others boarded the bus they looked at us (in the front seat right in front of the bus door) for one millionth of a second and quickly turned away, ever so proud to be the 'only foreigners in China'.

What it must feel like to belong to a small group of people whom are the 'only foreigners' in a country with 1.4 billion people in it. How bloody rude and stupid are these people.

Girl in the superman tee shirt and your little group, I hope when you are in need of 'foreign' help or info, I hope the person you turn to is as extremely rude and stupid as you and your group are. There really is no need for such behavior on the road. Are you so blind and stupid to actually believe that you are the 'only foreigners' in China. Are you actually so stupid and crazy to think that you will never need the company of another foreigner in a country such as China. Travelpod actually has a forum on crazy people such as yourself.

Is it so hard to say a simple Hello?

Anyhow, to continue the day. Our bus driver managed to stop Beeping for thirty or so minutes in a tiny little town so we could have lunch. Here we actually had a 'not so bad' meal. In any normal place it would have cost 10 to 15 Yuan. Here they wanted 30 Yuan. We told them to shove it and gave them 20 Yuan. It's all we had and there is no way they would have handed over 5 Yuan change.

The 'only foreigners in China' once again turned their heads away as we stood in line for our meals. I tried once again to offer a simple hello to one of the males and once again the glance turned to the bowl of inners and outters on the bench beside him. I offered him a polite 'laugh in his face' and turned away saying 'sorry to bother you'.

We, 'the only foreigners in China' and many Chinese arrived in Songpan around 4:40pm. The bus ride took nine hours and not six like several people had said. I'm unsure how they could have made it in six.

Maybe their bus driver had a louder horn than us, this is China, who knows!

ACCOMMODATION & INTERNATION PHONES: When we arrived we were met by several 'You Stay, You Stay' people. We negotiated rooms and prices and got our usual Double Room with bathroom for 80 Yuan. The place we stayed in was directly across from the Traffic Hotel which is right next door to the bus station. In the shop at the bottom of our Guesthouse are about eight IP Phones all with international access.

In Songpan you will NEVER have a problem with accommodation. In my many years out of date LP Guide there are only a few places to stay. NOW, there are so many places open to foreigners you'd think you were actually in Lijiang. We go the usual towels and toilet paper. The bedding is more than enough for the cold Songpan nights. The TV, well, here instead of the usual uncountable amount of Chinese stations there are only three and thankfully NO CCTV Nine where foreigners can happily catch up on all the wars going on in the world around us.

CAFE & FOOD: We also met Emma who runs Emma's Cafe. Her cafe is not in my guide but mate, she is the greatest. I've never met anyone who is so into their job and whom can offer such a huge amount of information. She darts from here to there and from table to the bus station and from the bus station to the market and so on and so on and so on. She is never in your face or your way and is such a genuine person that I believe is only there to offer help and advice. Her English is amazing and most of her staff can speak English.

Her cafe offers sadly offers only one computer for internet so usually you have to get there in the morning when everyone is off on a horse trek. You can swap two books for one and the menu is pretty standard for a Western Cafe in China which means you can get pretty much anything to keep a western appetite happy.

Another cafe is right next door to the horse trekking place. It's called The Song (sumthin). Sarah runs the place and is a great cook. Her Chinese food is much better than Emmas but she can not speak English and only understands a little so if you want to try to change the menu like to add egg and tomato on your hamburger, go to Emmas Cafe. Sarah's has no Internet or book swap and is pretty much a standard Chinese eatery that offers great Chinese and Western food.

We spent the afternoon walking around Songpan. It is extremely beautiful. Strangely the Good Book (LP) doesn't even mention that the town center is actually 'Walled'. Who knows, maybe they have built the walls in the last three years. If so, they have done a great job as scores of tour buses stop in Songpan to check out the northern gate and it's huge statue. Songpan is surrounded by huge rolling green hills where yaks graze. The skies above are a bright blue and you can actually see birds flying around without fear of being eaten. There is a river that runs through the center of town and along one of it's sides are many of the old village style houses.

Songpan has a huge Muslim community and when you sit in either Emmas or Sarahs the walls are pasted with 'thank you' letters from all around the world, most of them though are from Israel. When we went to the Horse Trek places for info gathered outside were many people from Israel. The Good Book (LP) says that there are two Horse Trekkin places to choose from and that they are next to each other. They are right with the two places to choose from but now they are actually in the same shop. It's so incestuous that you actually have no idea who you are booking your tour with.

I'm writing this five days later and I still have no idea who we went with.

We spent the night at Emmas Cafe and then headed next door for a massage. My neck is pretty buggered and always sore so Emma told me to choose the Tibetan massage and only have the big Tibetan guy in the robes do it. I did as told and it was fantastic. BUT...I still experienced the same problem as usual, he like most couldn't get my neck to crack and after so many continuous hours sitting on buses my neck was now BUGGERED.

My neck was locked and gave me so many headaches. The poor bugger tried so hard. He had me in all positions, in fact I was like bendy legs Barbie (sounds like penthouse forum hey! Not that I've ever read them...tee hee!). Judy had finished her massage sat there in amazement as the big guy was shifting me around. Finally one hour and fifteen minutes later he gave in. He was covered in sweat and panting..sorry he said, I just can't do it!

On the way home, which was about three minutes walk we stopped in at the Yulan Fanguan for an awesome pancake, some beer and many games of cards. It was a beautiful welcoming afternoon in Songpan.

Beers N Noodles to ya...shane

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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