|Marlie and I were taking most of the weight...|
I hear the rustling of Josh getting up and ready, waking Marlie up and although it was just after 6am I knew it was time for me to get up too. I got my shorts on and was marshalled out of the hostel by Josh, our leader on our expedition to Lotus Hill and the final item on my Superlative Tour of China. Josh had a strict timetable that he was adamant on keeping as we had to navigate the metro, walk to the ferry port and jump on a boat for a trip down the river. Matt and Marija were not with us, but Josh, Marlie and I were joined by Frenchie, I don't remember his name but I just remember him continually talking about his friend and this 'bitch' he hated and how she was ruining his life and wanted to know what to do. Things didn't exactly go to plan, we got to the port with plenty of time to spare but were informed by a very helpful lady that there was no longer a boat going to our destination, it seems Trip Advisor cannot always be trusted. However, the very helpful lady gave Josh some instructions on an alternative route which involved us riding the metro out to the extremities of the suburbs of Guangers and then hopping on a bus to Lotus Hill. It took a long time to get there but we got there and boy was it worth it!
|The 'one' is pretty tall|
|Elephant Rock, man over nature!|
On the way out of the complex we childishly purchased some of those firecrackers, the type that you throw on the ground to provoke an explosion. Our main purpose was to fend off the touts trying to get us on their motorbikes or in their taxis. We threw them at their feet as soon as they approached us which shocked them but unfortunately didn't stop them pestering us. I wanted to save a few so we could bombard Matt and Marija in the evening time with them so I placed them in my pocket, however, just as we exited the metro station on the hunt for food my pocket unexpectedly exploded making everyone within a five metre radius jump out their skin.
Later that evening we returned to our adolescent place in the park with our cans of cheap beer and we were joined by Judy, a forty something lady from Devon who took it upon herself to cycle around the world. Her stories were truly inspirational. She told us how she cycled through Europe, Russia, Central Asia into China. It made me feel as though I should do something like this and after a long think I decided that I was going to cycle down the coast of Vietnam. From Ha Long City to Ho Chi Minh City.
|Playing Jianzi in the park|
|Us all after Dim Sum|
I didn't need to look outside the window to notice that the weather outside had taken a turn for the worse as I could hear the rain was beating heavily against the window. It obviously knew that it was a sad day for me as not only my new American friends were leaving, Matt was also flying back to the UK. We all reluctantly got up and headed to Starbucks for breakfast, my first Starbucks for years but it was rather pleasurable sitting there in the comfy chairs watching the rain pour down outside with no sign of stopping. It was time, we had to accept that the weather wasn't going to improve and we headed towards the metro station to say goodbye to Josh, Marlie and Marija with a rendition of 'There's nobody, nobody but you' blasting out as they descended out of sight down the escalator. Matt and I were alone again and only a few hours later, I took Matt to the train station to get his train into Hong Kong. After nearly 4 weeks I was travelling solo once again.
|Jumping for joy after Jiánzi|
Next time, The end of the Chinese Railroad, Nanning and onto Vietnam.