Arriving at a hostel at 3:30am is never fun, especially after a flight and a long bus ride. Having to creep into a room whilst trying not to wake up anyone is a stealth mission and making a bed when you just want to collapse on top of it is a massive ball ache. Having no air conditioning rubbed some salt in the wounds whilst being on a bunk over a snorer so vigorous the bed shook made a small part of me hope the bed collapsed on him.
After such a relaxing night then, you’d hope for a chilled out day with no stress and maybe a relaxing sight see, but what we got was a baffling battle to sort out our onwards travel plans and endless exposure to metro systems.
The plan was to move on to the fabled yellow mountains in the late morning to maximise our time exploring them but our mission to get a bus ticket could’ve easily ended in a plane ticket home instead. The hostel couldn’t book one so we set out for the bus station across town and spent hours, which felt like days, walking around subways and underground labyrinths
The trains might as well have been non existent as it felt like we were just walking between stops in search of the platforms and then the subway to the bus terminal was an endless dark part weaving through Nike stores and McDonald’s. We were greeted at the sweaty end by a woman who could have been any less help and any more grumpy behind the counter. After asking for a ticket to Huangshan she just said “no” and offered no further information or advice. She couldn’t give a damn about our dreams of cheap public transport and had no time for our miserable, tired presence and batted us in the direction of the information desk. They also said no.
The train was the next best option and only a underground marathon away with the same standard of Chinese customer service on hand at the other end. It was like being served by the sloth in that film “zootropolis” which seems like a niche reference but I care about as much as the sloth impersonator which a grand total of shit all. Our request for a ticket was greeted by a clueless, unresponsive face as the woman just sat there in silence with a face like a slapped arse. Another no. Wrong station.
After a long, one sided conversation we finally emerged from our wasted days outing with a ticket out of the city but even recounting a long frustrating morning is making me want to chuck my phone through the expensive train’s window so that’s the rant over. China can be mindblowingly annoying at times and outrageously confusing, but to be fair, once you’re on them, the trains aren’t bad.
This market was cool though