What a week it has been. The title really does say it all. In short: sleeper buses, scary mansions, Disney princesses, rollercoasters, city life, losing two days between the bathroom and bed. That’s the gist of it really, but if you need a good laugh today then by all means read on.
Our crossing from China to Hong Kong was slightly more adventurous than we had been lead to believe it would be. We booked a sleeper bus from Yangshuo to take us to Shenzhen – the final Chinese city before Hong Kong. We had been assured that we just got off the bus, would be at the border and could walk through immigration and get a metro into the cit. Easy?! Well the sleeper bus in itself was quite the experience. Rather than reclining seats this coach was full of bunk beds. I had never seen anything like it (other than through the eyes of J.K Rowling in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – sadly the bus wasn’t as luxurious as the Knight Bus. Although it was driven by a pretty mental old man).
We had seat belts to pull across us, which were definitely not going to save our lives in the event of an accident, however helped marginally with stopping you rolling out of the narrow bed in your sleep or during the bumpy ride.
The bus kicked us out next to a border, but not he one we needed. For foreigners to cross you have to go to a particular place. They must have known that and just wanted a laugh. We took a taxi to the correct place after being unable to find the right bus, the driver tried to rip us off and we (now wise to this) told him where to go. Once at the border, the process was pretty easy, except it took James twice as long to get through immigration as they seemed convinced he was using a passport that wasn’t his own.
Our days in Hong Kong were warm and also expensive! For a holiday, not at all, but on a backpackers budget this city is not an easy one. To save some money we stayed in the notorious “Chunking Mansion” tower block. Family members, don’t google that, just leave your imagination to show you the wonderful place we stayed. Definitely not a drug den.
We rode the Nong Ping cable car up to the Big Buddha one day which was pretty impressive. I stroked a cow which was also great, and James tried to save a cows life by stopping it eating a plastic bag. Sadly this heroic act failed, so we can only hope cows really do have four stomachs and that they are robust enough to digest rubbish that stupid tourists leave around.
Of course, something we definitely didn’t save money on was a visit to Disneyland. I was genuinely like a child on Christmas morning. James wasn’t so excited, but within an hour of arriving he had a huge grin on his face and was loving it. Also, you heard it here first, he skipped down Main Street USA (more than once). Hong Kong Disneyland was smaller than the other parks, but by no means any less magical. The best bit was possibly the fact that it was out of season so the place was empty! We walked straight onto rides and had no trouble getting a good view of the parade. My dream to become a Disney princess has also been reignited so I may need to send my notice into work and get onto Disney about a job.
After our magical day, we journeyed to a Vietnam. We flew to Hanoi as it was the same price as the bus, and James hadn’t quite got over his last bus experience yet. From here it has been very much downhill. We have taken a bus to Ha Long bay which scammed us stupidly by taking us to the middle of nowhere and demanding more money to take us any further. We were taken to Ha Long City, which for the record, is definitely worth a miss. It looks like a building site and the plans look great, so maybe in 5 years or so it’ll be worth popping in. We then ate out and had a lovely meal which unfortunately resulted in another lovely couple of days wasted in beautiful Ha Long City, romantically taking it in turns to use the bathroom. Some of you already know the lovely details but it’s definitely TMI for here. When I look back I don’t need to be reminded as that day is well etched into my mind already.
Looking on the positive side, we were very lucky to be staying where we were when we fell ill as the owner has been amazing. He kept checking on us and bringing us water and even offered to take us to hospital! It’s now our 4th day here and I think we are best friends. Hopefully we are getting on a boat today! We booked and had to move it as we couldn’t leave the bedroom and yesterday we tried to board but there had been some confusion with moving our booking so we came back again! Perhaps a blessing in disguise as we spent the afternoon sleeping and recovering still! We are now all packed and ready to go again, so third time lucky! We should be gone for three days around Ha Long Bay (family, you can google that one).
Sadly, we have lost some time in Vietnam and have so far seen nothing exciting at all! Hopefully we can make up for it over the next few days and then make our way south as we have a flight to Aus to catch in 11 days!!