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China - Nanning (awaiting Vietnamese visas)

Written on: Tuesday February 24th, 2009

Everyone has got a story of how they got to Lotusland, the only hostel (rather than hotel) in Nanning. They offer a Vietnamese visa service for the same price as the Consulate without having to go anywhere (the only reason we (and others) were in Nanning). Our story wasn't even nearly the worst.

We arrived at Jiangnan bus station at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

It took us over an hour at 32°C to get anyone to understand: "we need to get to Lotusland Hostel, in Shanghai Road". We also had the address written down, but in English. No one speaks or reads English in Nanning. 

Some responses were:
"No more buses till tomorrow" - no we don't need a bus to Shanghai.
"The hospital is very far away" - no we don't need a hospital.

Eventually we managed to leave in a taxi for the hostel. The driver dropped us off at the end of the road and told us to go up a side street. The wrong side street. Another 10 minutes later we were at the hostel.

So we just waited for 4 nights (3 full days) in a large city which does not cater for tourists at all, going out to eat and hoping for the best as to what was put on our plates, or sitting reading in the hostel. It was an interesting people-watch though, with street hairdressers and dentists, blind masseurs, and the fantastic evening dancing in the park, with young and old.

Wandering through the night market, we braved the street food after seeing live caged animals next to their dead chums being barbecued above them.

We used the opportunity of spare time to start this blog (and watch DVDs, waste inordinate amounts of time on Facebook, and for Jon to learn to play Guitar Hero on the Nintendo Wii).


(Lotusland Hostel - recommended)