Back through Guangzhou and on to Zhaoqing.
Feb 13, 2018
|After a night of broken sleep, day dawned, and we were closer to Guangzhou, and the madness of the Guangzhou train station. But we will have my old student from the Business and Technology College waiting to meet us, and get us into a Didi car and off to Zhaoqing.
The scenery was becoming greener, the closer we got to Guangdong Province, and was nice to see. It is wonderful to see the cold of the north, but also very good to know that we will no longer be so cold, or need so many layers of clothing just to stay warm.
Our compartment mate got off in Changsha, which is the capital of Hunan province, at around 9.30am, so that meant we could spread out a little, and make use of his bed for sitting on. The girl in the top bunk was still sleeping, so she only needed her bed.
We filled the time with eating, reading, doing puzzles, and off and on dozing back to sleep.
There had been messages flying back and forth, from Andy, Keyman (our car procurer) and myself. We were going to meet up with Keyman at the KFC outside the train station, to make it easy for us to connect.
We arrived at Guangzhou train station on time at 6.02pm, and exited the train. But we were both dismayed to find that there was no escalator, or lift, to get our luggage down to the next level, and there are about 45 steps, in three sets of 15. After looking worried, one of the workers off the train came and carried our big cases down for us. How kind of him. We were just lucky that the train had something like a twenty minute stop at Guangzhou, or we might not have been so lucky!!
I was expecting a nightmare getting out of the station, and was not even brave enough to express my surprise at the ease of exit, until we were finally out. It was a breeze. Not sure what is going on. Guangzhou station is known for it's extreme crowding, but for us today, it was an easy transition.
We were expecting Keyman to meet us and get us to the car, but he was going to be a little while, so we went in to KFC to get food, while we waited for him. And it made for an easy location for him to find us. KFC was even more difficult to negotiate than the train station. I think many people go in there, for a waiting room, and don't even bother to order food. Anyway, by looking frail and anxious, I managed to secure two chairs for us, and left Carol sitting, while I ordered food for us.
Keyman arrived while we were still eating, but he told us not to hurry. He seems to remember me, but I have no idea of him at all, but he is our saving grace tonight. I'm afraid we just did not have the energy left, to deal with getting to the bus station, and buying a ticket, then negotiating our way to a bus, only to arrive in Zhaoqing needing a taxi to get to where we were going!!
We were quickly loaded into the car, and off we went, in a very comfortable modern sedan. The driver obviously spoke no English, but he knew where we had to go, so we had no need for conversation.
At one point, out of Guangzhou, he pulled over to the side of the road, and I have to admit I did wonder what was happening. But at that time, I had a call from Andy, and when I said that we were at the side of the expressway, he got very worried, and I handed the phone to the driver, to talk to him. What a small world - the driver comes from near Wuzhou, and speaks the same local language as Andy and his family!! He had stopped because he needed to check availability of charging stations in Zhaoqing, for his all electric car!
I could tell Andy that I knew where he could go, but could not describe it. I could take him there, but by then, the driver had used the internet on his phone to find what he needed!
We got home in good time. We had left Guangzhou station at around 7pm, and were at Melrose's house by 8.30, so we had had a really good run.
Once we got there, we got beds organized, and were not a long time out of bed. It was nice to sleep in a bed that did not move, and we were not rattled by stopping and starting.
I had played with the idea of a massage at the blind masseur's shop, as tonight is their last night working until after the Chinese New Year. But weariness won over, and I decided not to bother.