Day 1, we arrived in Nanning and it was later in the evening. We left Yangshuo for the 11.30am bus but there was a slight delay on the bus and there were a few delays on the road as well so we eventually arriving in the bus station in Nanning at about 6.45pm and still had to find our way to our hostel.
By this point, we had acquired a 3rd person. It was someone who was travelling on their own and decided they’d try and get a room in the same place that we were staying in.
The bus journey was supposed to be about 5 – 6 hours but it ended up taking over 7 hours. For some strange reason, sitting around doing nothing on a bus, train, car or other mode of transport seems to be quite a tiring thing to do.
So we were suitably exhausted by the time we got a bus to our hostel and checked in.
Luckily, the place served some nice food so it was dinner there and off to bed.
The reason that we came to Nanning is to get to Vietnam. The Vietnamese embassy is here and it’s where we can apply for a Visa to get to Nanning.
There’s also a large amount of buses and a few over night trains that can you take you from here to Hanio. The downside is that we weren’t really able to find a great deal to do in the area hence the reason we spent a bit of time lying on our ribs.
Before we left for this trip, one of the things that we had to do was get passport sized pictures for our visa applications which we both did, however, there was a slight problem with them. My photos were safely stored away and they were back at home in Glasgow.
Luckily, our hostel was opposite a place where you could get passport pictures done so we got them done, parted with a large amount of cash, gave our passports to a stranger and went away out for a walk.
A few days later, the passports were back in our possesion with our visa for Vietnam so went off and booked our train tickets and that’s it, the end of our two months in China are almost over.
We both commented on how quick the time has passed but when you think back, we’ve done a lot, met a lot of good people, ate some things that we wouldn’t normally have had and got to learn a bit about the Chinese people. One thing though is their driving, that still confuses me – if people back home drove the same way, I think there would be a lot of fights and crashes but it seems to work out here. It’s chaotic and nothing like how we do things but it does work.
Since we still had some time in Nanning, we decided to go to the night market which was only a few minutes walk away from where we are staying and they also do some very nice and reasonably priced food. This market has a butchers section and another section with live animals in cages that you can buy including dogs, chickens, ducks, frogs and various fish.
Away from the live animals, you can get a great kebab, it looked and tasted like chicken donner from back home but we’re not 100% sure on what it was. They do tofu mixed with chilli and various other spices, spring rolls and sweet savoury things that are cooked in oil.
Given that we were being fairly lazy in Nanning, we decided that we should do more with our time than just researching Hanoi and watching time pass us by.
So, we went on to my travel bible that is trip advisor and found out that there is a zoo in Nanning so we went to that.
The zoo was quite big but parts of it weren’t to our liking as the enclousers were too small for some of the animals. Some of them were pretty depressed looking animals – how can an animal look depressed you are quite right to ask, I don’t know but they all didn’t look right.
For example, there was a tiger that was constantly pacing round a small area of it’s enclosure. An african elephant that barely moved from it’s spot but continually moved it’s head from side to side (like the cow from the ‘magic roundabout’) and moved it’s tail at the same time.
Some of the other animals seemed perfectly happy and looked to have plenty of space to move around. It just seemed that the bigger animals weren’t in the best condition.
There was also a show on that we went to see. It was called the ‘animal awareness show’ but it was really an old fashioned circus.
We walked into see some bears using a skipping rope, monkeys wearing clothes and making stairs from some boxes to get an apple from a tree.
I have no ideas how the animals are trained but I know back home that performing bears and monkeys are not allowed as there are concerns over the treatment of the animals. I’d like to think the animals are better treated here but have no ideas how good or bad the conditions are for them.
On a more positive note, there was a part with three large hamster type wheels which were maybe about 20 – 30 feet high and they were on a rotating axis. The wheels also spun and three acrobatic guys where in the wheels and doing various stunts while they were rotating round.
Due to where we were sitting, we didn’t really get any good photos so this description could leave you wondering if my drink has been spiked and if I’m hallucinating but the tricks that the guys were doing was amazing.
So, that’s Nanning, tonight, we’re off to catch the over night train to Vietnam and at some point today, we’re going to book our Hanoi accommodation.