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Going out of your way to see the Out Of The Way

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Did you ever have one of those days where nothing went right? Nothing actually went wrong either but simple things just took hours instead of minutes. It all started last night when I turned out the light and placed my tired little head upon my crappy seventh floor (with no carpet) pillow. Not long after the military came stampeding up the stairs and singing their stupid military songs at the top of their lungs. This mind you is at one in the morning. They do this every night and once they reach their rooms it is all laughter and play time until an hour or so later when they decide it is time for 'them' to sleep. By then the entire hotel is fully awake and if you are quiet enough you can hear cigarette lighter after cigarette lighter being flicked to light all the newly awoken Chinese males cigarettes. At two this morning though how lucky we were to have a second bunch of Military come stampeding up six flights of stairs all singing their stupid military songs at the top of their lungs. This time it was more like a serenade to their newly awoken room mates who all rose with effection to greet their friends. I'm not sure if you have actually heard one hundred or more soldiers stamping and chanting their way up six flights of stairs in a huge hotel before but believe me, it is not something you want to hear once a year let alone every night for over a week. What usually happens after the Chinese men finish their cigarettes is this. A few of them who can't get back to sleep will contact each other and then meet up downstairs in the gaming room. For those who know nothing about China or Chinese hotels, there are no laws against noise. In fact I rather doubt that there is such a word as 'noise' in the Chinese language. It doesn't matter what time of night or morning it is they slam doors and yell at each other as they walk down the corridor. I kid you not, back home they would actually be drunk and arguing and ready to beat each other. Seriously, they even yell at each other as they are walking side by side. But here, they are simply 'talking'. This happens night after night and always in the same order. Some nights I can fall back to sleep but most nights it is much too noisy and most of the hotel stays awake until the selfish few have had enough fun in the gaming room yelling at each other and drinking. Why don't I change hotels? It is a very expensive city here and most hotels won't come down to my budget. In this hotel I am paying nearly half what I normally pay simply because I had to be moved due to the military. My belongings are also under 24 hour military watch as am I when I am sleeping or in my room as there are several military guards on each floor all day and night. Now you don't get protection like that in every hotel you stay in. Plus I normally only sleep between four and six hours a night when I travel so I can make the sleep up by sleeping into mid morning when I need to So today, as tired as I was, I was determined to head to Baiyun Shan and at least have a small hill play. In the LP it says to head to Dongfeng Zhonglu (just north of Renmin Gongyuan or Park). The LP says to catch Bus Number 24 to the Yuntai Gardens and the Cable Car entrance to the mountains. Very incorrect information but like me if you have caught the bus back from the mountains to this metro station you would think that you would catch the same bus but maybe on the other side of the road. During my first hour I waited for several 24's and asked them if they went to the mountains. Most drivers shrugged their shoulders so I showed them my map. Once again they shrugged, shut the door in my face and sped away. A lady came to my aid and asked the next bus driver if he was going to the mountains and his reply was one I have heard before but each time I hear it I want to smash the person who said it. She asked him in Guangdong language....he said he didn't understand English. She then asked him in Mandarin (Chinese).....he once again told her he didn't understand English. The poor lady didn't know what to do she was so confused at his answer. Many people at the front of the bus began laughing and thankfully a guy informed us that the bus driver was a complete idiot and that the bus doesn't go to Baiyun Shan from here as it begins its route there (at Baiyun Shan).. I have no idea what the lady said to the bus driver but he didn't look too pleased! How strange that he understood her this time. My second hour was spent walking around the area going from bus stop to bus stop trying to find Bus 24. I found absolutely nothing, so frustrated, tired and beginning to dislike my LP for the first time ever I headed to the Subway Eatery at the metro for a six inch chicken tayriake and a coffee. After my coffee and feeling more relaxed I figured, hey why not simply catch a bus that is going that way and if it goes anywhere near it, catch a taxi the rest of the way. I was at the bus stop on the other side of the road and a lady began asked me where I was from, why I was in China and where I was going to. I explained everything that had happened and after studying the bus timetable she told me that all I had to do was catch Bus Number 293 for a few minutes until it finished its route and from there I could catch Bus Number 24 the rest of the way. When the bus stopped I found myself before the Gongyuan Qian Metro Station on Zhongshan Lu. I then realised the LP writer hadn't caught the bus to Biayun Shan at all but like me must have caught the bus back into the city. There is no other way they could have had the right yet very wrong information. For someone like me who travels so much in a non-Engtlish speaking country you rely on a guide book for its correct information. I don't mean hotels, hostels, restaurants, net bars etc as they change often. I mean things like bus routes etc as they don't change that often and really its not that hard to find out the correct answer prior to submitting it for print. Millions of travelers rely on this information and when it is not correct most of a precious day can be wasted searching for the right answer. It wasn't a misprint as Zhongshan Lu is south of Renmin Gongyuan. It was simply laziness and I wonder how many people have wasted an afternoon because of this non-error. So, the best way to get to Baiyun Shan is to catch the metro to Gongyuan Qian Metro station and after an ElcheapO Mc Donalds coffee head on up to Zhongshan Lu, catch Bus 24 and not long after you will be just across from the cable car station. As I had wasted most of my afternoon searching for the bus by the time I finally got to Baiyun Shan most things were closed. The park of course was still open and the cable car was still going so I decided to take the cable car up the mountain and then walk back down again. The cable car cost 40 Yuan for a round trip or 25 Yuan up and 15 Yuan down. This also includes your park entrance fee which is 10 Yuan for a one time visit or 40 Yuan for an entire month. I walked around the hill top park for awhile and then began slowly making my way down the hill via the road way dropping into sites each time I spotted a sign with an arrow. Not long after I passed the closed Nengen Temple I headed down to follow the little stream that runs slowly through the Pugu Valley. It was wonderfully green and peaceful and I had the place to my self most of the way. The Pugu Valley is where Zheng Anqi (an immortal during the Qing Dynasty) picked sweet flags to make medicine. What in the world are flags you ask...I have no idea but the valley is named after them because supposedly they flourish throughout it. There is also a lot of fresh air as there are 10,000 negative ions in each cubic meter of land. You didn't know that did you and nor did I until I read it all on a board beside the stream! <u>My Bus Number 24 Night Adventure</u></b> Whilst on Bus 24 on my way back to the DROP OFF ONLY stop on Dongfeng Zhonglu I got to wondering about those who in the past have simply caught the bus without question. I was going to do this today but I had caught the bus BACK from the mountain and have walked most of the city so I would have known we were going the wrong way straight away. With this in mind I figured that I would become one of those people who had just arrived in the city, read about Baiyun Shan and boarded Bus 24 from Dongfeng Zhonglu. It took me throughout the city, across the river and way down to a small dark street off Guangzhou Dadaonon which is not far from where I was when I went to visit the Chigang Pagoda so luciky I knew exactly where I was and where to catch the metro. But for someone who had no idea they were on the right bus by number but going entirely in the wrong direction they would have had a very hard time finding out where they actually were in the city. Not a mountain in sight and very far south east instead of very far north east. I can't say any one of them would be too happy when they were shown where they were on the map! BUT for those people who like to do stupid things to make a city visit more humorous and to also see parts of the city they normally wouldn't, why hot catch Bus 24 from Baiyun Shan and take it to the end of its route. You will get to see a lot of the city, from the glitz and neons to old and quiet inner suburbs. You will also get to see the Pearl River and several of its most famous bridges as Bus 24 takes you along the side of the river for about five or so minutes. At the end of the route walk back to Guangzhou Lu, turn right and walk up to Xingang Xilu and turn right again. There are market stalls along the pathway and you can fill up on street eats as you make your way to the Kecun Metro Station to make your way back to the main part of the city. By now it was after nine in the evening so I caught the metro over to the Changshoulu stop. I was going to head to Mc Donald's, have a coffee and write for a while. But why would I do something that I have planned to do? Instead I headed into the Park and Shop shopping building and as I was wondering around I found the restaurant section and chose to stop and have a look at the menu of a place called Malay Street. I had the American Salad and a beer and the salad was to die for. It came with strips of ham, chicken and beef along with fresh tomato, lettuce, carrot, celery etc. I haven't had a real salad for years! The last one was probably in Shanghai in 2006. By the time I finally got to my hotel it was after mid night. So Bus Number 24! Even though it frustrated the hell out of me, wasted most of my day it also gave me a wonderful yet unplanned surprise adventure. When you are travelling go out of your way to see the 'out of the way'. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ___________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by The Black Crowes The album was 'Amorica' ___________________________________________

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure


Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Baiyun Shan and Bus No 24 Adventure

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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