Travelling in China is great because basically trains go to every possible location. The downside is that because there is such a huge population the tickets only go on sale 10 days before departure. Also the stupid part to it is there is no way to book the tickets online. You can book them on the phone and they get delivered to you but when we tried to get our first ticket last Tuesday we were told they didn’t deliver to where we were… It’s also University holidays the time we are planning on traveling so the trains book out really quickly. We had no choice but to wait to the Wednesday morning and I sent the maid with the money to the local ticket office and luckily she was able to get 3 hard sleeper beds from Beijing to Tianshui this Friday at 1:43pm!!! We were so excited now that we knew we’d actually be leaving Beijing in 9 days! The next ticket we needed was to Chengdu and opened Thursday. The tickets went on sale at 7pm but the ticket booth closed at 7:30 and I didn’t have enough time. We thought we’d be fine to do it Friday morning as I would just walk down as soon as it opened. Wrong… I went by myself and had no phone (because I left it in a taxi last Wednesday night after dinner with the girls! I had a great chat with the driver in Chinese and he was nice as so I called my number straight away but he didn’t answer or bring it back haha…I wasn’t too bothered though because I had to leave it here anyway when I left as out of the greater Beijing area all our phones loose coverage for some stupid reason…) Anyway I got to the window and showed her the bit of paper that Jessica had written all the info down on. She didn’t even search on her computer before telling me “mayo” which means “don’t have”….I kept trying to tell her I’d seen them on the computer and to at least look but she must of got out of the wrong side of her wooden bed because she gave me nothing. Back home Jessica thought it might be because the local offices only selling tickets leaving Beijing rather the already being sold out after only one night. I was meant to be going to the Police museum today with the girls but we decided to meet at Beijing Railway station instead to try to get the tickets from a major station. I thought Vik said meet at 11 and she thought she said 12 so because I had no phone I turned up to the station 1 hour early and had to sit sweating out of my brain on a dirty step in the entrance for an hour and a half with a lady sleeping on a raincoat waiting for her husband, a guy sitting near me counting and making notes of everyone who walked in and out of the station, and annoying water sellers that couldn’t understand how I couldn’t possibly want 10 thousand bottles of water. My fantastic morning which I thought couldn’t get any better quickly proved me wrong when after half an hour of pushing though hundreds of sweaty Asians with who knows what belongings besides the kitchen sinks in all sorts of sewn up bags we were directed to the major ticket office. After standing in line for another half an hour staring down any intending pusher innerers, we showed the lady behind the desk our piece of paper. She looked as though she was searching for something and we saw the train come up but then like the other lady all we got was “mayo”….we weren’t moving out of line until we found out why so she went and got a man to take over who could speak about 3 words of English. We never found out if it was sold out but all he would say to us was that we can’t buy tickets for that train here and you would have to buy them from Tianshui once you got there if they haven’t all sold out!!!! We offered a bribe and asked for more expensive tickets or any other tickets so we wouldn’t be stuck in the tiny Tianshui village with no airport but sensing we were getting angry he pretended the glass barrier was suddenly sound proof and wouldn’t even look us in the eyes…we had no choice to leave the line as there were stacks of people behind us.
After a bit of a panic attack we decided lunch wouldn’t go astray and while munching on some KFC Vik remembered that there were three trains that left Tianshui but we only had the number of one so back we went and lined up again. I jumped in another random queue just to see what would happen and I got to the front before the girls. Without showing the paper I just said “sen ren qu Tianshui Chengdu chi yue ba tian” which I hoped translated to “3 people go Tianshui Chengdu 7 month 8 day” haha he must have understood because she looked up the trains and I could see three come up on the screen. He tried the old one first and I could see that no tickets came up. The second one had the saem result and we were starting to panic. The last train had beds available!!! We didn’t want to get our hopes up to early but after speaking to the guy in the next booth (which happened to be the first man that had turned us away!! Haha) he booked the tickets and gave us a price. It was a lot cheaper then we’d been expecting and we later realised that this is because it is a non air-conditioned train!! So I think we’ve got about 17 hours with 3 other strangers squashed in triple bunk beds in 40degree heat which we’re looking forward to…even though we caused a few stares as we couldn’t keep our relief to ourselves when we held the tickets in our hand!!
After that ordeal we couldn’t face a museum so Rosie left to get some last minute market stuff and Vik and I went back to her place. On the way the bus goes past a market where Vik bought a cross stitch of two cute little Chinese people and she said they were really cheap compared to Australia where they’re ridiculously expensive (I know I’m a nana!) But I thought it would be a good souvenir if I got a Chinese one and it will give us something to do on all our long train rides over the next 3 weeks. There were heaps there but not a great selection of chinesey ones so I opted for a new years one that I got told later has over 100 little men in it haha and I’m already sick of doing eyes and I’ve only done about 8. It’s huge but hopefully I get it done in the next 10 years!!
So our last Friday ever in Beijing was spent sitting on the bed chatting about the weather and complaining when our threads knotted! Haha I guess at least it proves we’ve seen basically everything Beijing has to offer…
Rosie came over later afternoon and we got ready for a second attempt at Suzie Wong’s club clad in non-thong footwear. After a yummy dinner on the same street at a Middle Eastern place called Souk where we got a meal by mistake so didn’t have to pay for it we walked to Suzies. Something was obviously on because there was what looked like foot soldiers alternating with plants lining the sidewalk leading to the door. We walked in and were greeted with wide smiles explaining that tonight was Lisa’s birthday so the door charge would be 200RMB tonight!!!!!! Their wide smiles rotated 180 degrees after our reaction at wanting people to pay over $40 so wish whoever Lisa was a Happy Birthday!
Deciding we would be happy to pay 50RMB door charge we got a taxi to the Workers stadium which has two well known and huge clubs either side of it “Mix” and “Vics”. We chose Vic’s thinking it would be funny to see how a real club in China works and it proved to be hilarious. We got there before 10 so entry was free and after searching our bags before we were allowed in the let us through along with 4 cross stitching needles and a pair of scissors Hahaha. It was pretty fancy inside with the walls lined with private booths that we only found out were reserved for parties after we’d already sat down in one. We sat at a small square table on some not too comfy bar stools and ordered a drink by torchlight because it was so dark. The guy taking our order then pointed to the table, made some funny gesture and after a bit of confusion got across to us that just to sit at this tiny table in the corner with uncomfortable seats was 600RMB!!!! We told him he was dreaming and found that the only seats you didn’t have to pay for or reserve were the seats lining the bar so that’s where we sat for probably the next hour watching some hilarious Asians working their magic on the dance floor. It took us a while to realise but all the songs were in English even though through the night we probably only saw 20 other westerners. An underground hallway thing took you to a completey separate part of the club that looked very similar but just had a lot more room for dancing so after stepping over the cleaner mopping at 1 in the morning!! We spent the rest of the night there listening to a funny Michael Jackson tribute and dancing with a group of young Americans we found and some older and annoying Germans before we felt like going home.