the 9 hours journey
Kunming - Lijiang
note : my 'future' entry on Yu Long Snow Mountain is up already at RoundAbout.
my first experience, travelling on long distance train like this. the bunk bed felt comfortable enough for me, and i slept well throughout the night, after the dinner. we woke up for Subuh, and then continued to sleep. it was only for a while, and i decided to stay awake as the train stopped at Dali to disembark the passengers.
ah. it was bright already, outside there. we went out from our cabin and wandered along the coach. it was almost empty. probably, most passengers had Dali as their final destination, instead of Lijiang like for us. we were joined by Mike, the south korean expat guy that shared the same cabin, enjoying the view of Naxi land, from the train window.
Mike offered us his instant coffee, to start the day. we talked and shared our stories. He's been working in Shanghai for quite sometime. i can't recall, but it was more than a decade, hence made him well verse with the language. he was on his weekend break to hike Tiger Leaping Gorge later.
'do you speak chinese?'
and we got another frowning face from him as we told him the truth. he just chuckled and wondering.
' how are you guys going to survive?'
we laughed. then TI continued the conversation asking Mike about getting the local sim-card, while i went out to do my business before we left the train. unfortunately, it was locked. and i think the train officer locked it since we left Dali, as i'd been trying to enter the toilet since then, and thought it was occupied during my attempt.
we finally arrived Lijiang and disembarked from the train. Mike thought we'd be going to Lijiang Old Town first like him, and was asking about our hotel address so that he could help us later to buy the sim card etc. i told him we were heading to the bus station to catch the ride to Shang-rila. he bid farewell to us, and as he was about to disappear among the crowd that left the station, i just realize my apps didn't have the translation for public transportation.
we managed to get Mike and asked him to help us telling the taxi driver to the bus station, and Mike used his apps and let me captured it on my phone, to be shown to the taxi driver. we finally bid farewell to each other, a we headed to the waiting area for the taxi while Mike...well..i wasn't sure. i think he went to wait for the bus.
i showed the picture to the taxi driver and asked about the price. he mumbled something, and then smiled...showing the taxi meter instead. ahh...that was better. and the ride to the bus station cost us 15 Yuan.
we were greeted by few locals offering transport, tour etc. as trying to enter bus station. but too bad, we were unable to understand as none spoke to us in english. we left the crowd and went inside. i managed to buy the tickets to Zhongdian, leaving Lijiang at 930am. it cost us 62 Yuan.
we still had plenty of time and went to look for breakfast, well mainly for TI as i wasn't that hungry. we left our luggage at the station and then crossed the road in front of the bus station. before we could reach the restaurant, we made another tour to the phone shop as trying to buy the local sim card for the phone. communication issue was a thing, and we had to communicate using the apps.
the first shop, after a while just gave us a 'no'...while the next shop finally, made it clear to us. apparently, you need a local ID to buy the simcard as they rejected our passport when been asked for ID. the guy showed us the big poster showing the requirement to have local ID to buy the sim card...which obviously we didn't have any clue at all, despite it was on the wall of the shops that we went before. and TI was disappointed. getting connected seemed a crucial life support for him.
we left the shop and walked towards one of the muslim's restaurant in front of the bus station, and TI ordered the noodles-soup which cost 15 yuan per bowl. it was good.
we went back to the bus station, took our luggage from the storage. it'd be another 4 hours journey to Shang-rila, hence i decided to finish my 'business' first, and i had to experience the horror story of the public toilet there. erghhh....seb baek buang air kecik jer.
we went inside the waiting area. as i wasn't sure where to wait and where to find the bus, i went straight to the officer and showed him my tickets. he led us to the bus.
the bus departed as per scheduled, and it was full. so here we go...the 4 hours journey to Shang-rila ...the lost horizon.
i just realized we'd been on travelling mode for the past 26 hours, and yet another 4 hours before we could finally reached our 1st destination of the trip. eventhough i had a good sleep during the train ride, but again, without shower etc. i felt exhausted already. but as usual, i didn't sleep that much throughout the ride, and decided to enjoy the view. it was beautiful indeed, as we left Lijiang, and rode to higher altitude, approaching Shang-rila.
TI told me that the landscape of Shang-rila, looked like NZ. it was beautiful, indeed.
we finally arrived Zhongdian, and it surprised me. i mean, Zhongdian / Shang-rila apparently is a big city, with buildings with soviet vibe, big roads with few lanes etc.honestly, at first, the sight that i thought of having about this lost horizon, totally gone...i mean, it felt like other modern city etc. eventhough not that stylish.
we arrived at the bus station, and thought of getting the public bus to our hotel - Kevin's Trekker Inn. i looked at the map given by the hotel, and tried to use my sense of direction, locating where to wait etc. , but then we gave up and decided to take the taxi to our hotel. the thing is, i was already exhausted to carry my backpack etc. and TI too, to drag his trolley bag around.
there were few local guys - tourist guide or driver- already waiting outside the bus station, and as we were obviously looked like tourist, we'd been the target. anyway, one thing for sure, despite their eagerness to get the customer etc. , they still obeyed the law, that not permit them to enter the premise to do their business.
one guy manage to pass me his card, and we just nodded and left him. we went out from the building, and tried to get a taxi to our hotel, from ones that waiting beside the road next to the bus station. ah...at the same time we were followed by the guy that gave me his card earlier, and as we tried to negotiate with the taxi driver, he apparently interfere and again...we were lost in communication. i mean tried to show the address of the hotel and asked the price for the ride to the taxi driver, and was declined. the taxi driver even pointed us to the guy, telling that we should follow him etc.
i showed him the calculator on my phone, as i was trying to ask how much he would charge. it was 20 yuan. and he led us to his car, which was parked across the road. it was Perodua Kembara!..hehe..well probably it was a daihatsu version.
he drove us around for a while and as approaching the old-town, he stopped at one of the hotel within the old town. he wasn't sure the exact location of our hotel, and had to ask the guy from the hotel, which i believe his friend, to speak to us. ah..somebody who could speak english. hehehe.
i showed him the address and the map, and he explained it back to the driver. i thought thing resolved, but apparently Kevin's Trekker Inn sort of a hidden between the buildings along the road next to the old town. the ride when around and around for a while, and finally, we spotted the entrance of the hotel. voila...we finally arrived!
i was so relieved as finally managed to settle down. it had been 30hours since i left home.
the long ride, the communication issue, the nagging etc....
regardless, i couldn't wait to explore this land of lost horizon....