Asia 2010 China

The Wind and the Rain

Sanjiang (saun-jiaung) is the capital of the Dong Minority Autonomous County and as a bus bearing my new French traveling companion Lori and I rolled into town we hit a police checkpoint. The fellow manning the doors and the fares as new arrivals flagged us down hopped out and registered our bus in the log book. A police officer boarded and ominously looked around before waving us on our way.

It’s not that we were going anywhere dangerous, but this was an Autonomous County, which from my understanding operates a bit like an Indian Reservation in the U.S. with their own law enforcement and regulations.

After arriving at the bus station we walked a ways to find a minivan taxi to take us the 20km away to Chengyan, a Dong village that is quite famous for its Drum Towers, “Wind and Rain” bridges and nail-less architecture.

Upon arrival we found a hefty RMB 60 entry fee (almost US$9) to simply cross the bridge an enter the village across the river. Considering that we had just spent 3 days in similar minority villages and we both didn’t feel like paying, we decided we would skip the entrance fee and simply walk along the river a bit, which was rather nice. We could see both bridges just fine as well as a nice Drum Tower in the village (which can be seen in the picture with the wooden walkway down to the water. It’s the trapezoidal shape in the distance).

It was so cold that we both decided that heading further north, as we had both originally planned, was a terrible idea and that going to southern Yunnan province, near the Lao border, would be a much better plan.

So, despite my desire to leave Guilin, I find myself back here writing this post. We succeeded in getting a direct bus back from Sanjiang (which we arrived at after an exciting ride in what is essentially a Tuk Tuk), only to find that there are no buses from Guilin to Kunming (Yunnan’s provincial capital) and one had to head 4 hours south to Nanning (the capital of this province, Guangxi) to get a bus or take the train straight from Guilin.

That is when Lori and I parted ways, as she took the Nanning route and I decided a direct train would be better. We had already missed the train yesterday so I spent the night here and met this wondeful bunch of Canadians, Scotts, British, and Swiss at dinner (and had a lovely conversation with the Scotts at breakfast today!)

This afternoon I am embarking on the 17 hour train journey to Kunming (it’s like my flight here all over again!). I have a hard sleeper ticket (the lesser of two sleeper classes) for RMB 270 or US$40. This will be my first experience aboard a Chinese train.

So, more tomorrow from Kunming!

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By Aaron

Hey there! I'm Aaron and this is my travel site, where I document my adventures to all corners of the world. My love for travel started at the ripe old age of four, when a midlife crisis uprooted my family to Ecuador for five years. Since then, I've been to countries on 4 different continents. When I'm not blissfully on the road, I reside in New York City, where I become the ultimate travel junkie and spend my days dreaming up my next great adventure! Read More...

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