Back in South Korea, we paid a visit to Tongyeong, a southern port city famous for its chong mun gim bap: fermented octopus mixed with a variety of local spices, held together by a delicate seaweed wrap. While it was pretty good, we ended up ordering roughly two pounds of the stuff, stuffing it into my backpack, and bringing it along on a 6k island hike – because picnics are fun! It’s been nearly two months, and I’ve still yet to rid my bag of that foul, hot octopus stench.
But I digress. This is a story about buses.
Spending six weeks in China was an unforgettable experience to say the least. It was a great opportunity to get an inside perspective on the world’s newest superpower — to gauge the political pulse and feelings of locals, assess future growth prospects and hurdles, and so on. Also, the dumplings; my god, were those good. I’ve briefly touched on each of these topics in previous posts, so I’ll spare you any further commentary (read: bloviation) on them here.
Rather, before moving on from my China-centric posts, I want to share what was perhaps the single most memorable part of China for me (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but only slightly): the hilarious public service announcements that can be found in most Chinese bathrooms. There’s no single theme present. Some are from a government-led campaign to, er, improve accuracy in urinals, some focus more on what you can and can’t do in a given bathroom, some are borderline inexplicable and feature pictures of dying men being carried to the hospital and/or peeping toms. It’s really just a potpourri of hilarity and questionable translation.
Anyway, I’ll just let these pictures speak for themselves:
Courtesy of Google Images – you could never get so close to a real-life hostel rat without being bitten…
Here’s to you, hostel rat.
While other travelers may choose to stay in hostels because they’re, you know, cheaper and generally have friendly-ish, English-speaking staff that provide useful tips and tricks for getting around a given area, you know better. You’re above that amateur-hour backpacker BS, that’s for sure!
Remember that time that I predicted I’d be blogging here “roughly two to three times per week?” Yeah, about that…
Anyway, I figure I’m probably due for an update. I’m writing this from the Chengdu airport, waiting to board a flight to Kunming: our last stop in China before moving on to Vietnam. China has been an experience, to say the least. We’ve covered a ton of ground, met lots of interesting people, eaten some incredible meals, and, of course, ogled baby pandas.
Since I last wrote from Xi’an, we’ve made our way down the west coast of China (via Shanghai) and moved inland, first to Guangxi province, then further east to Yunnan province, and then slightly north to Sichuan province, where I currently sit. Instead of my usual, barely legible wall of text, I figured I’d instead share some photo highlights from China:
I’m writing this post in a sort of frantic state right now.
Allow me to set the scene for you: I’m about an hour into a 16-hour ride to Shanghai on a sleeper train with three fellow bunkmates, one of whom is Zibby. Another is a relatively mild-mannered guy of about 30 who’s in the bunk above me. He seems to be largely keeping to himself, and I don’t think he speaks any English, so communication is pretty limited (unless of course I want to greet him, thank him, or politely request that he not take my kidney). All fine by me.
But the third bunkmate, an older, businessman-looking type to whom I’ll henceforth refer as the Night Walker, is threatening to make this an extremely long journey.
Greetings from Xi’an, or as I’ve come to call it, the “Cleveland of China.” I kid, I kid… Xi’an is alright – and really, this is just a test to see if any of my Northern Ohio-bred friends are reading this. While Zibby and I, like just about everybody else traveling through Xi’an, came here primarily to see the Terra-Cotta Warriors, the real draw ended up being the fantastic street food in the city’s Muslim Quarter.