04/09/2013 - 06/09/2013 20 °C
Today is the day I find out where my new home will be for the next 11 months. I’ve been told I have to wait for my medical results, but then I’ll be heading to my new school on Friday. So I go to the office to meet Ping. She announces I will be heading to… drum roll please… Shangrao!
Unsurprisingly I’ve never heard of Shangrao and know absolutely nothing about it. After a little research I now know that I will be heading to Shangrao County, not far from Shangrao City in Jiangxi Province. The feedback from previous teachers is good and Ping has explained that it is quite close to the city as well as being close to some very beautiful rural areas. I’ve not been able to find out much else about it, but it sounds promising so I’m really excited to get there.
The remainder of my time in Yangshuo proved to be fairly uneventful. When I arrived most of the other interns had already left for their schools. There were only 8 of us remaining. They had all been in Yangshuo for a little while already so it was nice to have people that knew their way around, but they had already done all the exploring they wanted to do so spent their days around the hostel mostly. Add to that the fact that it rained almost all day every day, so I didn’t venture too far. We did find a lovely little dumpling restaurant close to the hostel which quickly became a favourite. The ladies spoke hardly any English, but like the rest of China they were incredibly friendly and welcoming.
On Friday I was driven to the train stain in Guilin where I managed to find my way on to my train and onto the correct carriage. However, I was unable to enter my compartment due to the number of people. Eventually a kind Chinese man helped me manoeuvre my luggage under the bottom bunk and there was slightly more space. This is when I realised I was on the top bunk. This wasn’t a nice comfy carriage like my previous trains, this was how the locals travel. The bunks were three high and I really couldn’t imagine how I was supposed to get up there. I spent about an hour standing around the compartment (if you can call it that as there is no door) trying to figure out how I could get up there. There was no ladder, just one step about knee high, and the bunk was far above my head. Somehow I eventually managed it, using the bunks below to climb. And about 10 minutes later I needed the bathroom – typical. I manoeuvred my way back down, found some toilet paper and hand sanitizer (essentials when travelling in China) and headed for the toilet. Now I’m not going to go into any detail here, but I will say, this was the WORST toilet I have ever seen, and also the smelliest. This is not like the fun train journeys I remember! I spent the first hour standing up and the second hour trying not to be ill. Thankfully, after that I managed to get some sleep.