Here it is. Slow creeping ache across the upper trapezius. The bags straps dig deep and the pain spreads as I tense to retain my posture. 20 kg across the back. 15 kg across the front and strings of hardening plastic ringing red across both palms. Across in the adjacent aisle, James face contorts the same way under the stress of his luggage, but he manages a smile somehow.. By now, I’ve come to associate Chinese train stations with the same steadily intensifying unease which will stir the beast in even the most patient and resilient of character. James here seems to be exempt, almost. Ticketing queues only add to the anguish because the Chinese aren’t just waiting for tickets.. The railway stations here double up as cash withdrawal vendors, so queues move at half the speed and you can’t distinguish the bankers from the travellers.
So we’ve conjured up a hack: split to rest at the backs of separate queues – double the chances of an efficient queue, simple. Wait, deduce and shimmy over to the lucky one who reaches the bay first. Saves no more than a few minutes, but a few minutes here means a few minutes quicker through the sloth of security checks, and a few minutes quicker to plonk our buts down in the waiting room. The waiting room smells like a cross between the most intense pot noodle poos and a special kind of Chinese BO that should knock any normal westerner off their feet.. Luckily though, we are off our feet, with no deep creeping ache – so I should stop complaining. Just an hour and a halfs wait for our train to Hong Kong because we were told by the hostels receptionist to be vigilant, ‘leave no later than 8.30 if you’re wanting to stand any chance of getting the bus across Guilin and make it on time’ It took less than 20 minutes to get the bus across Guilin and pfft, so much f… Nah jee, I’m still complaining. Alright, over and out. Better travel spirit next time, and more travel tips, promise!
Update* Cash dispensal isn’t the only facility getting rinsed in the ticketing bays of China’s train stations, could swear I saw a family getting a haircut behind the counter, a local lady getting her huawei hard drive fixed and a young fella picking up a chicken mayo. Don’t get me wrong, it’s efficient. But its long. Eh? Oh well.