Day 3: Setback

Yep, I was right on that last post. We woke up today at 5:30 am. No big deal, we showered again (it’s very very humid down here at this time of the year) and left to find food. After wandering down the main drag for a bit, we ducked down a side street to see what was there and found tons of food vendors. It’s like the McDonalds of street food with people riding up on mopeds, ordering, handing over some money and jetting off. For the second day in a row we had some delicious street food for breakfast. Both days I don’t think we spent more than $1 each. Yesterday in Yangshuo we had these amazing buns with peanut and brown sugar inside that were so so very good and we hoped to find more today but had no luck. Instead we ended up with some really quite good items which I have no idea what to even call. One was like a mini 2″ pizza with green pepper and egg, and the other was some pastry with green onions and a few other things.

After that we headed to the airport. We first tried the buses, but we couldn’t seem to flag down the one we needed so we decided we had to just spend a bit more and take a taxi. This turned out as a fine decision because we could ask the receptionist how much to expect to pay and then agree on a price and pay up front. It ended up costing like $2.50 extra each to take a taxi and then we were sure we would get there.

At the airport we breezed through security and check in and spent the next couple hours waiting for our flight. And waiting. And eventually some 30 minutes late it arrives at the gate. Now we’re getting nervous, we have like 1h45min in Canton to connect on a different airline to Lijiang. The plane eventually arrives some 45 minutes late and we scramble to get our bags and get to the check-in counter. We arrive with some 35 minutes until the flight takes off. We attempt to check in but are told that it’s too late. We needed to be there 45 minutes before the flight leaves to check-in. In retrospect I wish I had asked if we could just carry on our packs, but it’s so hard to communicate. In the end we looked for alternate flights but had no luck. So today we spent the night in Canton with a new flight tomorrow at the same time. Effectively losing a day. This bothers me more than the guys it seems. They took it like champs, but since I arranged the flights I’m feeling pretty down on myself for not trying to arrange something with more leeway like perhaps an early morning flight to Canton. I’m also quite bummed because I really wanted to take a trip up to Shangri-la which is 4 hours by bus each way, and since we had 4 whole days and an evening in Lijiang that seemed doable, now it seems less likely unless we pack everything we had planned to do in Lijiang into 2 days or something. Maybe we can ask at the airport how expensive it would be to change this flight out to go to Shangri-la so we have 1 day there and then bus down? I would feel a bit guilty asking the guys to decide on cutting another day out of Lijiang before we even get there.

Anyway we took the day as a chance to recuperate and explore some food wise. We stopped in at a small restaurant and just had them order something for us pretty much, a dumpling soup. It wasn’t half bad, so far I’m mostly enjoying the food we’re eating, though there really is very little protein in Chinese diet it seems, and I’m longing for a nice juicy steak. I think the first thing I’ll do when we get back is head to a Carrows or something for a nice big prime rib. We also picked up some different beers from the convenience store along with some snacks to try which turned out to be betel nuts and some weird soy protein beef puffs. Elmar had no idea what betel nut was when he bought it, but I was curious to try it having heard so much about it. Sucking on one left my cheek numb for the entire night which at some point I apparently bit. Ow! The beer wasn’t all that great, TsingTao is so far my favorite, but they’re all weak american style lagers so far.

So random observation for the day. I think even though I’m able to travel fine not speaking the language or being able to read it, I’m definitely feeling like I’m missing anything of the politics here, and definitely some of the subtleties of the culture. It’s a shame, but what can you do.

Anyway time to give the shoulders a rest, my pack ways about 45lbs no joke. I’m not being as bothered as in Europe, but I’m also carrying it less.

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