Sunday, 10 April 2011

Not a lot going on

Saturday 9th April 2011

MP3 track of the day: Imagine – John Lennon

Weather: Cloudy and cold, but no rain.

Yet again I found my sleep disturbed by the rustling of plastic bags. Fortunately it didn't last long and, at around 7:30am, the Norwegian pair left the dorm heading, I think, to Vietnam. I turned over and tried to get back to sleep. All was going well until, at 8:30am, a Chinese lady came in to make their beds. Why she had to do it at this time I had no idea; I gave up sleeping, got up and headed out for breakfast. I ordered a 'Mcpancake meal' and sat with my mates. Unfortunately no movement, on a location to watch the Formula One, had occurred; all the places they had thought of either didn't show it, or were closed. It didn't matter; my hostel had a sports channel and, if it's not on that channel, I can always watch the updates pop-up on my PC. As I finished my breakfast I wished them all well before leaving.

For the Chinese GP I would like a new Maclaren hat (as mine was ruined) and a shirt. I knew that the race track would sell them however I thought they might be expensive. My mates had given me directions to a shopping center with a huge baseball cap shop. I went to have a look. Hundreds of hats could be seen but no F1, not even Ferrari hats, could be found. I had a quick look around the rest of the shopping center finding more clothes; I couldn't believe just how many clothes Nanning required. It did make me think though; looking at the prices the branded items seemed reasonable. I might buy myself a new wardrobe of clothes (if I can get the sizes) before departing Beijing. It'll certainly be cheaper than buying clothes within the UK.

Afterwards I walked around parts of Nanning that I hadn't seen before. Multiple amounts of the same building seem to sprawl from Nanning's city center making everywhere look the same. My walk wasn't that interesting, or that long as Nanning isn't that big. I soon found myself back at my hostel checking the qualifying times. At 2pm I headed out for lunch. After yesterdays 'noodles of blandness' I headed back to Pizza Hut and opted for a cheap pasta dish. It was a little too spicy, and the portion size was a bit small, but at least it wasn't bland. Once I'd eaten my mains I tried, once more, for the chocolate cake I tried to order two days go. Today success! I received the cake that I ordered and it was lovely, though a little small. As I ate my meal I looked at other diners and noticed something that you don't often see within the UK. When I visited a restaurant I would normally order a main dish (a medium pizza where Pizza Hut was concerned as their small is only big enough for a four year old) a drink and a dessert … one plate, one bowl and a glass. In contrast the Chinese opt for a small pizza, to share between two, and then order as many side dishes as possible. These include salads, starters and many other wonderful options which litter their tables with as many plates, bowls, pans and pots as the waitresses can fit. When I went for my 'noodles of blandness' I noticed a similar situation; most diners had big bowls, small bowls, plates and hot pans taking every inch of their table whereas I, on the other hand, had my large bowl of noodles and a coke. It seems that having many small dishes of food, instead of one big one, is apart of Chinese culture ... which they seem keen to bring over to western style food outlets.

As I left Pizza Hut I didn't feel full. As I was taking a night coach I knew that I wasn't going to get any tea tonight; I therefore headed, once more, to the local supermarket to pick up a big bag of crisps to eat on my way back to the hostel. As I opened the bag, and peered inside, I wondered if I'd mistakenly purchased dog food. Moving the contents around the corm pieces looked a little black though they tasted okay and, more importantly, I didn't see a single Chinese person look at me oddly.

Once back at the hostel I hung my coat up, turned on my PC and asked the lady at reception if she could turn on the TV, within the common room, and put the Chinese sports channel on. Sadly there was no F1 qualifying and so I sat and watched the updates come in on my PC (Hamilton 2nd … come on!). Whilst sitting there I spoke to three people from the UK. All three were from Essex; two were a young couple, who had only just starting traveling, and another guy was part way through. They seemed nice enough however the girl did live up to the Essex stigma (She asked if I had ever been to London … and she had a friend called Chelsea!). Once qualifying had finished I sat within the common room chatting and waiting until it was time to head to the bus station. Around 7pm I made my way to the concave building that my coach was departing from. I showed my ticket to the ticket sales lady and sat down.

I was sat down, happily content reading about Hong Kong. Out of the corner of my eye I saw people moving around the waiting room. I looked at my watch ... 8:25pm. I looked around me and people were exiting the rear of the building; I went up to the lady, on the ticket counter, who jumped slightly and then told me to follow the others. Even though I had sat right infront of her glass box, she'd forgotten about me and, as a result, I'd nearly missed my coach. Once outside I met an American couple who had lived in Nanning since 1988. I inquired into where they were heading too and they replied 'Hong Kong'; I relaxed, took off my shoes, and boarded the coach.

I walked up five, small, carpeted steps until I reached an isle with a fake shinny wooden floor. I looked at my ticket and worked out my bunk number. I was on a top bunk however, unlike the sleeper coaches within South East Asia, I did indeed have a bunk. It had a blue mattress with a small shelf above my feet. The bunk was twice as wide as the South East Asian sleeper coach seats and, best of all, my feet didn't have to be placed within an ever shrinking hole. I put my bag at the bottom of my bunk, 'pack-safed' it and stared out of the window. As it was dark outside there wasn't much to see; I was going to spent the evening reading my book however the coach shook quite violently making the pages blur. I read a chapter before turning onto my side, pulling my duvet over me and trying to get to sleep. Surprisingly it was very comfortable.

Toodle Pip!

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