|We finally left Vietnam yesterday and jumped on a long-distance bus into China. Not too bad, only about 7 hours. When we arrived at the Chinese border, we noticed that the security here is pretty tough! There were at least 7 security checkpoints, and even though we both had visas, they almost didn't let me into the country! :) Bryan would have had to go on by himself! But they finally decided that I wasn't a threat to the country, and they let me through.
After crossing the border, the drive through China was beautiful. Huge limestone peaks everywhere, covered in mist and fog. Everything seems very clean and very well maintained -- A big difference from Vietnam. We headed towards Nanning, which is the first big city after the border. This is where we would have to catch a train or bus to the rest of the country.
Once we got here, we realized that China is going to be a huge challenge for us. Up until this point in our trip, everyone spoke a little English -- just enough to help us get around. However, in China, no one speaks English! The writing is all in Chinese characters obviously, so it is very difficult to figure things out..
Another obstacle, we realized, is the weather. Although we were expecting the weather here to be cold, they are having an unusually cold storm move through, bringing a lot of snow and freezing rain to some of the areas we wanted to visit. So we decided that we area heading straight to Beijing! (Flying, fortunately, since the train ride is 30 hours long, sitting on a wooden bench.)
The flight to Beijing doesn't leave until tomorrow, so we have been exploring Nanning for the last few days. We have sampled a lot of street food, even though we have no idea what it is -- Dumplings, steamed buns, and some kind of fried egg in a pancake. We are also having fun trying to order breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- Since nothing is in English, we just have to point at something and hope for the best! We haven't really known what we have been eating so far.. Nanning's specialty is dog hot pot -- So we are trying to stay away from the meat... Never really know what it could be! :)
We leave for Beijing tomorrow, where we plan on spending 3 or 4 days. We are excited to finally head up there, even though it is snowing! We will let you know when we get there...