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Cryin' into a bowl of noodles

Vinh, Vietnam


Made it to Vietnam in grand style. 20 hours with my knees in somebody's back, and to the outskirts of Vinh. Sleep deprived and ill-fed as I may be, I do know that there's only one highway in Vietnam. It goes through the center of every city. The bus driver has pitched our bags out the window exactly a mile short, in front of a group of greedy looking motorcycle taxi drivers.

I stumble forth with book in hand, pointing at a map and debating whether to walk, then do a quick inventory of things hanging from my person. Yessir, remember that little bag with everything valuable that I own...

There follows a loud stream of obscenity, a mad sprint towards the largest looking bike, and some completely unnecessary instructions to the driver as I hop on and we speed off into traffic. Lights are run, large trucks are passed in the gravel, certain death is narrowly avoided dozens of times, yet no large busses seem to be coming into view over the horizon. We give chase at top speed through town and for a full 10 kilometers into the countryside before giving up.

I've already committed myself to the impossible task of contacting the hotel in Vientiane and somehow arranging to have the pack (which contains my laptop, incedentally) picked up on the other end. No Hope of course, but I tell the driver to turn us around. In doing so, we are nearly struck down by my bus, which we have somehow managed to pass on the way through town.

Vinh is interesting, I doubt I'd recommend it to anybody. No tourists here, which amplifies the Vietnamese habit of staring at any westerners and following them around. I'm the only white guy in town at the moment, so I get all the attention. Hey everybody! Come look! He's eating noodles now!

permalink written by  Jason Kester on April 4, 2004 from Vinh, Vietnam
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, the Trans Siberian and Scandenavia
tagged Bus and Suffering

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Riga

Riga, Latvia


Get to Riga in the morning and the Hostel lets us check in early. The guy at the counter is very friendly and helpful... The room is very spacious indeed too...

We do the Riga walking tour, lots of 17th and 18th century buildings, most in quite good condition and then we arrived at the Occupation museum...

This is the place that explains the constant occupation of this country by foreign invaders from 1940-1991... USSR, Germany, and then USSR again... Pretty much had their way with this country and no-one did anything to help them... When the Germans came, the Latvian people thought that they had been liberated from the Soviets, until the Germans started exterminating people they didn't like... When the allies beat the Germans, the Latvians thought they would be independant again, until They were handed back to the Soviets and it took until 1991 to gain independance...

We left the Occupation museum in a cheerful mood and found a traditional Latvian place to have Adam's birthday dinner... Adam drank a local booze called Latvija Balzams... Looked, smelled and tasted hideous! (but a great treatment for Scruffula) He couldn't look straight after drinking it either, but he had a good time for his birthday dinner and that's all that mattered...

Slept and now we are awake, about to head to the bus station for our bus across to Lithuania... This will be the 4th country in 6 days, we are there for less than 24 hours before flying to Poland... Things start to slow down a little there...

permalink written by  Big_T on September 12, 2008 from Riga, Latvia
from the travel blog: Big_T's Travel Blog
tagged Bus, Museum, Birthday and Balzams

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In No Particular Order...

Xinjiang, China


[somewhere between Urumqi & Kashgar]

The Great Un-Escape

Man, that bus stopped frequently! At first I availed myself of every pit stop - just in case. But after awhile I disembarked when I actually needed. And in retrospect I've learned that on these mega journey's one stop is extra long for ordering food. I had so many snacks that was not necessary even for this 24 hours plus journey, my first upon arriving in Xinjiang. At the extra long stop I did not get off at first. Then we were stopping so long I decided I might as well. But when I went to the front of the bus the door was closed. No pushing of strange buttons with no English labels was the 'open sesame' I needed.

I sat on the floor next to the driver's seat, hopelessly locked in. Where, oh, where was the operator??? The driver did not come to my rescue.

Finally someone pointed out that there was a door half way back on the right hand side that was wide open.

Silly me.

permalink written by  prrrrl on September 26, 2009 from Xinjiang, China
from the travel blog: China 2009
tagged Bus and Door

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Vagabonds & Time Tables

Xinjiang, China


A. Just 19 & traveling across Asia alone. Half German, half Chinese she could have been my daughter. She warned me that the southern silk road was boring.

G. Only had three cigarettes to his name and he swore they would be his last. At least he smoked outside the dorm room. Keep your pants on, Man!

E. Her hair was so short when I first saw her sleeping at midnight when I was let into the dorm I assumed she was a guy. She gives me hope. She is 11 years older than I & still probing remote locales solo. Go, E, go!!

Hurry Up & Wait:
I hurried to catch the noon bus to Pakistan... that left at 1:19. Silly me. There was a stepped platform that allowed them to load cargo atop the bus. Inside there was more cargo than passengers. The hour+ delay meant we arrived at my drop off point on time!


permalink written by  prrrrl on September 28, 2009 from Xinjiang, China
from the travel blog: China 2009
tagged Bus, Travelers and Pakistan

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Not waiting for the bus

Lijiang, China


Mini vans, and I mean Smart Car size mini, wait at depots and will not leave until full. There will be a line of maybe 8 vans waiting their turn to wait for 7 passengers. I arrive at the depot and am fortunate to be passenger #7 meaning immediate departure. Bonus is as the last person in I don't have to squeeze into the narrow back row and I get to be the first one out. The front passenger seat is probably the the first seat taken as it is also easy in, easy out. But they have the longest wait. I'm happy to be the last in the front bench seat. This is how I got to and from Shuhe from Lijiang. My return journey I was also passenger #7 [not counting lap children]. Only 33 cents.

permalink written by  prrrrl on March 3, 2012 from Lijiang, China
from the travel blog: Beijing, 2010 or Liaoning, 2013. They are appear to be mixed up!
tagged Bus, Mini, Passenger, Full, Last, Bench and Squeeze

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Five on a bus

Lijiang, China


Palled [pal-ed?] up with a gang of other solo travelers to bus to Bai Xia, rent bikes and explore the villages & remote temples. Once in Bai Xia, a quaint little village with many shops selling Chinese handicrafts and antiques [making me feel like I was in Beijing at the Dirt Market] we hunted for a bike rental. Despite assurances back in Lijiang that there were such establishments, there were no bikes for let to be found. Now what? We had endured standing room only on a very tightly backed bus for a trip several villages outside Lijiang. Hike? Just one sight was 8 kilometers out so we would only have time to see one thing. Rent a mini [as in smart car size] van for half the day seemed the best solution. We tried. The hostess at a cafe tried. No mini vans for hire. Now what? We decided to take the bus to the last stop and walk 2 kilometers to a 'sight'; I'm not sure if it was going to a temple or village. But, travel such as we do rarely goes entirely as planned: we met a senior citizen on the bus that was Naxi minority from Lijiang but currently living in the US. He showed us his Missouri Drivers License. He told us that he was going to see a temple with great views. We tagged along with him. He hardly spoke any English but all but one of our five solos turned group could speak Chinese to varying degrees. The bonus was he sort of knew where he was going and could speak the local Naxi when directions were needed. The first temple was nice, free to enter, small and gave me several good pictures. The second involved slogging up a hill & through some woods only to find out there was an exorbitant entrance fee of $17. We took pictures of the outside with its Tibet style banners and hiked on to a near by lake. Only the lake was not so near by. A second[third] attempt to hire a vehicle also proved futile and we walked back to the bus stop. This time we actually got seats. Well, three of us did. Back to Lijiang for dinner. Not the most effective touring day but pleasant none the less.

permalink written by  prrrrl on March 4, 2012 from Lijiang, China
from the travel blog: Yunnan, China
tagged Bus, Tibet, Rent, Bikes, Fee, Minivan, Pals and BaiXia

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Tiger Leaping Gorge! Or, the near perfect day

Qiaotou, China


So much to catch up on...

Day One: Just about ideal. 9am bus, not too early, came right to our hostel so no sloshing to the long distance bus station and all for only 5rmb [81 cents] more than the public bus.

Bumpy ride to be expected in this part of the world. Mei ban fa [nothing I can do about it.]

Short walk from drop off point [that doubles as a bag storage service] to local restaurant for very good meal with two as yet unknown to me vegetables. [In this part of Yunnan, menus are rare. A refridgerated display case holds tubs of veggies that you point to then discuss how it is to be cooked. I do not understand all the cooking methods. When I don't, that's the one I pick!]

Hike started in perfect weather with sunny skies and fluffy clouds. Mountains visible from the start. We make the Naxi Family Guesthouse in 2 hours, the posted time.

Naxi family almost ignores us but does serve us Yunnan tea with a fresh mint leaf for a very nice flavor. They are in the process of giving a baby a bath. That involves heating the water over a fire, putting out interlocking foam pads on the concrete courtyard floor, and having clean blankets & clothes nearby. After rub down [what the pads & blanket were for] baby gets dressed and wrapped in a Naxi back carrier. It looks like a quilted blanket but there is a head rest sticking up from the center of the top and two very long straps off each of the top corners. It takes two adults to get the baby in place. Baby is wrapped in the quilt then the straps, that are now crossing infront of the baby, are draped over an adult's shoulders, then crisscrossed over the adult's chest making a big letter X. The straps are now at the adult's waist level where they are wrapped at the adult's waist to the back becoming a seat for the baby. One adult needs to hold the baby in place while all this wrapping is done. When done the adult walks the baby to sleep, the little baby butt sticking out over the waist wrap. Very clever!


permalink written by  prrrrl on March 8, 2012 from Qiaotou, China
from the travel blog: Yunnan, China
tagged Bus, Tea, Hike, Naxi, Baby, Menu, Local, Vegetable, Mint and Carrier

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The Developing Country Game!

Dali, China


Let's count how many things can go wrong in one day:

Haven't eaten in 36 hours due to stomach bug. -1

Even after drinking water, I don't need to use the toilet +1

Pack bags quickly and am out of room early. +1

Bus not there at expected time -1

Comment to staff that bus is late, staff looks surprised; he checks book - my name is not on the list but I have the receipt. Best guess is he forgot and I actually missed the bus even though I was waiting well before departure. -5

Staff quickly refunds the 10rmb difference in cost for the next bus. +1

Small bottle of plum juice [a Yunnan specialty] does not upset my tummy. +1

Next bus is also late. -2

Taxi comes, takes me three blocks to bus. Bus than drives rigth past hostel. I realize that though the hostel says no 'booking fee' I probably could have crossed the road and caught the very same bus for about half the price. -3

I happen to pick the shaded side of the bus, so no sun in my eyes. +0.5

Two lanes of traffic headed North on a two lane road [the truck on the left was passing a vehicle on the right] means total traffic stoppage. People are getting out of their vehicles to look at the road block. I've got a plane to catch and I'm already twice delayed! -5 [Turns out it was a traffic accident, the passing truck forced a south-bound van to veer to its left but the veer was insufficiant and CRASH! Twas just the corner of the passenger side so hopefully no one was injured.]

Traffic delay number two - just an overturned mini-truck on the side of the road to drive around. At least it was a shorter delay. -1

Three hour bus to Lijiang takes 4 hours to get to Lijiang outskirts. -2

Dropped off at airport road. I thought I was to flag down another bus but it turned out that the airport was literally across the road. I walked up the trafficless Departure Ramp to the terminal. +3

Lugged all my travel possessions in two backpacks [one worn front, one back] the block distance to the terminal without having eaten any solid food in 40+ hours. -1

Get to the airport 30 minutes before the check in counter closes for my flight. Phew! +1

Chose the shortest line at the check-in counter but apparently the slowest agent. The line next to me moved much faster. -1

Agent tells me I don't have a ticket. I show her my passport. No. I show her my ticket number as emailed to me by Delta. Nope. "Take your luggage and go to the ticket counter across the hall." -2

Ticket counter checks my passport & ticket number. Verdict? No ticket. :-O -6

Delta's China ticket office is only open during US business hours which means that's it is closed during China's business day. Now what?? I guess that my boarding pass for my flight from Beijing will prove that I have a ticket. I actually find it and... I'm right! They send me back to the check in counter. +5

It is 2 minutes past check in counter closing time [30 minutes before flight time]. They check me in quickly and tag my bag. -/+0 [They had better check me in quickly!]

I still have security to go through and the get to get to. Final score??? I made it to Beijing. But what a day!

The ticket number Delta gave me had one extra digit on the end. But wouldn't my name have made the difference? There were only two people on the flight with non-character names. It's not like there was a Jane Fu Jonah Du on the flight. Not in English, anyway.



permalink written by  prrrrl on March 16, 2012 from Dali, China
from the travel blog: Yunnan, China
tagged Food, Bus, Beijing, Ticket, Accident and Late

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Visit to Sevilla

Sevilla, Spain


From Sunday until mid-tuesday we were in Sevilla, and were able to visit some pretty incredible things. First off we visited a cathedral constructed in the 10th century on top of a moorish mosque after the Spanish reconquered the city. The cathedral is the 3rd largest in all Europe, and was pretty spectacular. It features some stunning works of art from painters of that period, and a massive pipe organ that was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It also features a 34 Story Tower called the Giralada, built wide enough for the moors to ride a horse up it. The Tower is the only thing that the Spanish kept from the old mosque.


Then we visited a flamenco show that we unfortunately have no pictures of, but was very fun and the guitar player was really good.
Then we walked around Sevilla and found a little plaza where merchants sold their goods, but one gypsy was not very kind to mom. It was a building with a large Tower and Fountain.


Then we visited the Alcasar, a palace built in the 14th century by Pedro the 1st, featuring moorish and christian architecture called Mudejar style. It's a very large palace with huge grounds and a large garden that make it even bigger.


But then it was time to go back to Malaga and we said adios to Sevilla.



permalink written by  andres3009 on July 11, 2012 from Sevilla, Spain
from the travel blog: Spain Trip 2012
tagged Bus, Cathedral, Sevilla, Alcasar and Giralda

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3.Tag - Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina


Heute sind wir frueh aufgestanden und Phillip hat seine letzten Sachen gepackt.
Los gings dann mit den Reiserucksaecken und zwei schweren Reisetaschen zu Phillips Vermieterin um eben diese Taschen bei dieser fuer die Dauer der Reise unterzustellen.
Nachdem wir alles weggebracht haben, haben wir uns noch ein bisschen mit anderen Mietern auf die Dachterasse gehockt und etwas unterhalten.
Dann ging es weiter in den Stadtteil Palermo, den wir uns am ersten Tag noch nicht so genau angesehen haben. Was an Buenos Aires auffaellt, das es unglaublich viele Kiosks gibt, quasi an jeder Ecke ist einer. Zudem gibt es sehr haeufig kleinere Supermaerkte die von Asiaten gefuehrt werden. Wenn man an einem Automaten Geld holen will, kommt es haeufiger vor, dass der Automat gerade kein Geld mehr hat und man muss zum naechsten Automaten. Sind dann den ganzen Nachmittag durch Palermo gelaufen und haben uns diesen Stadtteil angesehen, Abends ging es dann zum Busbahnhof.
Am Busbahnhof wurden wir dann fast beklaut. Ich spuerte ein leichtes ziehen an meinem Rucksack, und als ich mich dann umdrehte stand ein Kerl hintermir der sich offensichtlich an meinem Rucksack zu schaffen gemacht hat und igendetwas davon faselte, dass wir auf Diebe aufpassen sollten. Damit er wollte sich wohl rausreden. Beim Nachpruefen stellten wir fest, dass an Phillips Rucksack zwei Reisverschluesse und an meinem einer geoeffnet war. Gestohlen war zum Glueck nichts, was wohl auch daran liegt das sich in den geoffneten Faechern ueberhaupt nichts von Wert befand.
Der Bus nach Cordoba hatte dann ungefaehr eine Stunde Verpaetung. Der Bus war ein bequemer Reisebus in dem man sogar relativ gut schlafen konnte. Es gab dann noch Abendbrot und ein fuer uns durch den fast-Diebstahl aufregender Tag, endete.


permalink written by  Fount on January 3, 2013 from Buenos Aires, Argentina
from the travel blog: Von Buenos Aires bis nach Lima
tagged Bus, BuenosAires, Palermo, Diebstahl and 3Tag

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