Smelly cities, ticket troubles and vibrating cock rings
The last couple of days have been traumatising to say the least but as they say all’s well that ends well, as you shall see. It all started on the overnight train from Xi’an to Chongqing which is where we left off in our last blog (The Xi’muda triangle). The Chinese love their security and to get on any train you have to go through a metal detector, your bags through an x-ray machine and have your passports and tickets checked three times. After all this proving that you are who you say you are and that you have the right to be on the train you would assume that they would then leave you alone for the rest of the journey. This is not the case. Being the nice people we are we had switched our tickets for others of the group who wanted to be together. On this occasion Rach had swapped with one of the boys who then put the ticket on his bed. This meant when the ticket collector came around, at one in the bloody morning, our fellow traveller could not find it. This in turn seemed to trigger the conductor to into some kind of meltdown. So instead of thinking of the four different ticket checks you have to go through to even see the train and letting the matter lie, she decided to start a witch hunt waking up almost every single member of our group before the offending ticket was eventually found.
As if in revenge for the insult we had visited on all conductors we were visited by yet another who decided that bottom of Rach’s bed was the perfect place to perch whilst he cleared his throat in the most phlegmy, gurgly manner. After he had deemed that all of us had been tortured enough (it was loud enough that there was no question of anyone staying asleep) he left, his revenge for all ticket collectors complete.
And so completely wretched, almost crying from sleep deprivation, we arrived in Chongqing. It was raining, now this is not unexpected in China but it certainly didn’t help when we were kicked out of our taxi by the driver and managed to figure out from his broken English that he did not know where our hotel was. Lost we set off trying our best to find other members of our group or the hotel. Twenty uncomfortable, baggage lugging minutes later we arrived. Whether we had been distracted up until this point or had simply not noticed is not debatable as the latter would be impossible; the stench of the place suddenly hit us and as the insidious wafts assailed our nostrils and our stomachs turned over we all ran for the elevator to take us to our hotel rooms, the boys in one room, the girls in another.
After piling in it was then pointed out, by the girls (who else), that there vibrating ring condoms supplied. It was then that Alex put two and two together and got flashing red neon lights as he had seen that the rooms were available by the hour. Thankfully though Chongqing was not a place we were staying in for long but a mere stopping off point for several hours until we caught a bus to go on a cruise of the Three Gorges.
After having read all of this you would no doubt assume that our run of bad luck was up and our time from here on in would have been full of laughter and jollity. Wrong! As mentioned we had to get a bus to our next destination and so as everyone knows last wees are an important part of any pre-travel prep. Sadly the hotel had obviously already filled the rooms that we had vacated (no doubt testing out the robustness of the beds) and so we were directed to some public toilets just down the road. If we thought that it had smelled before then we were mistaken, our nostrils were taken to new depths of depravity and despair. The people of Chongqing had obviously seen public toilets as some kind of challenge and tried to get one of every kind of animal to use the loos and then trample the resulting mess around, as well as locating a large fish market right next door. Those who were lucky enough to have scarves had to loan them out so that no tour members suffocated on the stench. It was universally agreed that these were the worst toilets any of us had ever experienced.
Chongqing wasn’t through with us yet though and needed one last chew before it spat us out. The taxi driver the tour group used to drop us at the bus station wasn’t answering his phone. Our valiant tour guide then had to take the desperate measure of flagging down passing vans and seeing if they would take us but to no avail. We were stuck with no option but to pony up with our gear and lug it the two kilometres to the bus station. It hurt. A lot. Oh and did we mention before that it was raining?
For the first time however something did go our way and we managed to make it to the bus on time and so we bid adieu to the smells and went on our way. Things then got better the further from Chongqing we got and as we boarded the cruise ship our moods lightened. The rooms are great and they let you drink your own beer in the lounge room so we’ve been able to crack a few cold ones open with the rest of the group and finally relax, ready for our two day cruise of the Three Gorges.
Rex’s Rules of the Rules
- If you can avoid Chongqing do.
- Ticket inspectors on Chinese trains have no qualms about waking you up at silly o clock in the morning if you haven’t presented it to them so do so, at the earliest opportunity possible.
- As we’ve mentioned toilets we should probably mention something we’ve been keeping from you all this time. China is big fans of the squatter loos. Not pretty, not nice to use and very smelly. Avoid long trousers, they trail in the excrement.