Friday, 12 September 2014

Lijiang Late Arrival

We checked out late at 11am, enjoying the sleep in as we knew it’d be a late night with our evening flight. After a walk and some sushi for lunch we relaxed in the comfy common room working on our resumes and other such fun things to prepare for home. We ventured out again to stretch and find dinner before catching the bus to the airport.

Unfortunately our flight was delayed due to a storm so we shared a surprisingly tasty corn ice cream to help pass the time while we paced the airport to ward off boredom. When we landed in Lijiang in the early hours there was again a shuttle bus waiting to take the passengers from the airport to town even though our flight was more than an hour late on arrival, it really made travel easy. However, that was where our easy travel ended as getting from the bus stop to our hotel was another story.

Firstly, it took us almost quarter of an hour to hail a taxi, which was probably since it was 12.30am, but it was frustrating nevertheless. When we finally found one the taxi driver we spent 10 minutes trying to figure out where the hotel was on his map, even though we were sure that we had the address written correctly in Chinese. He wanted 40RMB for the trip which was double what it should have been, but after he’d spent so long trying to find the place we didn’t want to negotiate and we were too tired to be bothered.

It turned out that he still didn’t really know where the hotel was, just that it was in the ancient part of town. He stopped and asked everyone we saw for directions (granted that wasn’t too many people as we were nearing 1am) but nobody seemed especially helpful so he drove us down dark cobblestone alleyways, through the town square, down towards a dead end where he gave up and indicated to us that the place should be somewhere nearby. 

Dave got out to take a look but couldn’t find it anywhere, but we knew it must be not too far as it was definitely meant to be in the ancient town somewhere and we didn’t want to take up anymore of the taxi driver’s time as he’d been really quite generous and helpful already, so we thanked him and tipped him for all his efforts.

We set out on our own in the dark, trying not to stumble under the weight of our heavy backpacks on the uneven cobblestone streets as we stared in vain at all the doorways to try and spot the Chinese characters we had translated for our hotel as there was no English anywhere. We were beginning to lose hope and think that we’d be sleeping on the aforementioned cobblestones when a couple walked passed with their dogs (really – who walks their dogs at 2am?!). We cautiously asked them if they knew of our hotel and they took us to a doorway and pointed towards the empty courtyard through the ajar door. We tentatively pushed open the wooden door and squeezed in, noticing a guest still awake in the courtyard. He rung the hotel for us and woke the girl up who came and finally showed us to our room – it had taken until 2.30am! It was a much later arrival than we’d imagined but at least our room was full of character and the courtyard was picturesque, even in the dark, so it all boded well for tomorrow’s adventures – but for now it was bed!!

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