The train journey and first day in Pingyao.
Our train last night arrived early at 23.00 and departed the station at 23.20. We said goodnight to the french ladies we had just eaten with and went to find our bunks - 003 and 004. "021, 015, 009..." we heard the noise at the last lot of bunks and I knew thats where we would be. I heard mum "Oh for god sake this better not be ours!" I could only laugh inside- YUP IT'S OURS! Due to mums back I tried reaching to place our bags on a top rail but thankfully a man helped me and got them up, he then asked to see our tickets so he could help us 'find our bunks' - even though we had already found them. We think they just like to help foreigners and practice their English but they're usually very kind. We had the 2 middle bunks out of the 6, we were very tired as we had little sleep on the train the previous night but the thought of a hot shower the next day was so exciting! We cimbed up to our bunks, the people were quiet (well i say quiet but i mean not shouting like before, still pretty loud) the bunks under us were empty even though we were told the train would be full! We put our heads down waiting for the lights to be switched off- waited.... waited.... Then about 4 girls aged about 19 walked in and sat on the bunks below shouting a crunching on sun flower seeds! GREAT! About 10 minutes later the lights were turned off but they girls continued to chat (probably having a gossip the same as I would be with my friends. I just stuck in my head phones and listened to some music as i drifted off.
I was woken up by the usual poke in the foot which made jump and nearly kicked the guard in the face, she looked at our tickets and kept speaking to us in chinese which we obviously could not understand but just nodded and agreed. It was 6:30 and we were told the train would arrive at 7am so we had plenty of time to get our stuff together. The train started to slow down, we were told "you stop, naw it you stop!" so we put our shoes and coats on and another man got our bags down for us. Its was only 6.40 so the train arrived early. We tried opening the door to get off but it was locked so we walked to the next one- Locked! A guard came over with a panicked face "neo koi che geo foi" Huh? "what you stop?"
''Pingyao we answered but the doors locked?''
She replied in more chinese and i could see the train began to move before mum did "I think we've missed our stop. The trains moving" I told her "What?" Typical really.
The man who help get our stuff down just before came over but spoke little English (more than the guards) they all tried to explain that we had missed our stop- Yes we know! Thankfully the nice guys wife spoke English so he called her and we were able to talk to her over the phone and she told us they would get us on another train to get back for free and the next stop is 15 minutes away. Yay! We arrived and they got us straight onto another train and within 20 minutes we had reached Pingyao. The train staff were all very helpful too.
It was about 7:20 and there was a lot of snow! Brrrr didn't expect that! We went outside the station and got a taxi to our pre booked hostel. Whilst in the taxi we got a quick look at the ancient city and the city wall that was built in 771 BC! Wow!
We decided to book the cheapest room- a 7 bed dorm for less than 2 pounds each! We checked in and were showed to our dorm, there were 4 others in there still in bed so we quietly got into ours to get some more sleep. I woke up at about 11am! There were still 3 others in bed- heavy night? I woke mum up and we got our stuff ready to go down to the bathrooms, i saw mum shuffling through bag after bag so went over to see what she was doing "I think I've left the shampoo and conditioner....." Typical Mother!! Luckily we had some sachets of shampoo that were taken from a previous hotel so we went down for our 'well looked forward to' shower. We walked into the mixed shower block and there were 2 showers, the floors in there were FREEZING. Actually, the whole room was freezing! Thank god the water was hot!
After we went back up to our dorm to find everyone still sleeping so we had to be quiet, we ditched our stuff and went back down to get some breakfast. It was 12.30pm after all this and it was cold inside so we didn't want to know what it would be like outside! We booked an extra night here so we can have a look round tomorrow instead! We've had a kind of lazy day on the internet and drinking hot tea its now 18.00 and to what we know of there are still 2 people in bed- one got up about 2 hours ago. We've heard a lot of coughing and sneezing and just hope it really was a late night out and not that everyones ill! We've found a nice restaurant online that we are going to go for dinner as it said they have good vegetarian food! Ciao for now!