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Xiamen and Full Scale Spring Festival Wrath

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to ya Upon awakening I could hear a beautiful Song calling me back to Xiamen. I also asked the girl at my hotel reception if she could ring the train Quanzhou train station to see if there were any rail tickets to Shaowu. The answer was there were not only any train tickets but no bus tickets also. The fact is I HAVE to be back in Shaowu by the 20th to have my passport sent off for my new VISA. If it's not done on time I can be fined 500 Yuan a day until it's processed. It hasn't been a problem in the past but Spring Festival is being held late this year. I real bugger for me and a real BUGGER for my travel time! This is my fourth Spring Festival here in China and until now I've never felt the full 'wrath' of the Spring Festival Transport Chaos! It really is insane. I mean I have traveled over each Spring Festival period but I've never HAD to be somewhere during the middle of it. Usually I find a place to stay and hang low and just travel around that area. The Xishuangbanna Region is perfect as they celebrate a completely different one. Well, they do celebrate the Chinese New Year and throw fire crackers and stuff at each other but it's not as insane. From memory anyhow. So I ended up grabbing a bus back to Xiamen and arrived at the 'other' long distance bus station. If you're ever here and you end up at the 'other' long distance bus station, walk over to Bay No: 8 and jump on Bus No: 816. It will take you directly to the Long Distance Bus Station near the water. My original plan was to catch local buses back from Quanzhou to Zhangzhou to Zhangping to Yong'an etc all the way to Shaowu (for example). This was until I met a girl with beautiful eyes on a hill side and spent too much time in Xiamen. Too late now mate! So, this morning I arrived in Xiamen went to grab a taxi to the bus station and the guy wanted 20 Yuan...what the....I said...he wouldn't budge. Soon we had many on lookers I guess waiting to see if I'd pay the 20 Yuan. I explained nicely that the bus station was only three minutes away and that it should be 8 Yuan. I then lied and told him I had lived on Xiamen for a year. He put the keys in the ignition so I waved another taxi driver down, gave Mr 20 Yuan the bird and to a nice round of applause sped off to the train station. I ended up spending two hours in different lines and all gave me the same answer No Tickets! But what about Friday...No Tickets!...But what about Saturday...NO TICKETS! (soon said in a huff!) My school had given me the mobile number to one of the leader's son who is a guard at the Xiamen Train Station.

What they didn't tell me is that he didn't speak or understand English. All I wanted to know was for how long they were totally sold out of tickets and could he help me by pulling one out of his hat as some people can do. So I rang Shirley the Champion Chinese English Teacher from my school. Her English is so good it's almost flawless. Compared to her I really do speak Australian! I asked if she could maybe call him and see if he could help me with a ticket. In the mean time I went to my trusty hotel and booked a room for a few nights. A few hours later I found that there had been a full scale ticket search going on all the way from Shaowu to Xiamen. People had rang people and everyone had tried their hardest to get me a ticket and the end result was; TRAVELLING IN SPRING FESTIVAL IS OK, YOU GET RIPPED OFF AT HOTELS ETC BUT... HAVING TO BE SOMEWHERE DURING SPRING FESTIVAL ESPECIALLY IN FUJIAN REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY SUCKS! As it was explained to me later, Fujian shares a lot of family history with Taiwan, Hong Kong etc so not only is there a share of the 1.4 billion people trying to get home etc here in Fujian but you also have many people from Taiwan etc here traveling back to family homes. End result, I may have to pay up to nearing 700 Yuan for a 'cheap' flight to Wuyi Shan which is an hour away from Shaowu. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Next year I sure hope Beijing thinks to give me a call prior to allowing the Lunar Calendar make Spring Festival late. What about me, what about my VISA and what about a total waste of one weeks travel time! It's a real bugger for me! ME ME ME!

Beers N Noodles to you...shane

Song Song Oh Beautiful Song! The soundtrack to this entry was the Funkin Groovin 'Infectious Grooves' The two albums 'The plague that makes your booty move' & 'Sarsippius Ark' If you like Mike Muir and heavy Funkin Groovin guitar then Infectious Grooves are a good call.

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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