Our real hitchhiking in China begins with the fact that we still do not want to catch the car and we decide to drive another 500 kilometers to the nearby big city called Nanning. We could’t earn money for the cave, but we still saved money, and in order for us to start hitchhiking, we probably needed to spend all the money. And in order not to spend money on the hostel once again and not to look for a place for the tent, we will take a night flight, which, although a bit more expensive, is still more profitable. So we pack our backpacks, go to the bus and start the adventure.
A little before reaching, the bus driver turned off and stopped a mile from the train station, then he turned around and drove back, but again he drove past. Thinking that he would turn on the final one and go back again, we stayed inside. But we were dropped off in the middle of some street, an hour’s walk from our destination. We are waiting for the return flight. It’s a shame, but we don’t want to pay the fare for the second time, so again, quite naively, we went to the salon of another similar bus, did not pay, we were standing and waiting for what would happen. We did it already and everything was fine, but this time the driver, after a couple of stops, started yelling at us and, probably, swearing, and we, reddened with shame, threw some trifles into his box. So what to do!? We need to catch the flight!
Morning on the train. I want to go to the toilet. I just went as we drive up to some big station. Nobody announced it, but for some reason I think it is ours station. Nastya does not believe at first, but maps.me shows that we unexpectedly arrived. We quickly pack up and jump to the pyrone with the thought: “And why the hell, we can to ride further, anyway, no one checked the tickets from Guilin itself.” But the extra problems are don’t need, and we are going to the city.
It is very gray city. At the exit from the station an incredible crowd of annoying taxi drivers. We go away from taxi drivers and middle of the station square changed our pants, brushed our teeth and walked away from this city.
On the way, just in case, looked at a couple of bus stations to find out the ticket prices. Tickets are expensive, and only bought tours to Ban Gioc. Some men look at us strangely, and we go away from there. We dive into the subway to go through two stations and get off near the highway. It remains to go a couple of kilometers on a wet and muddy road without a sidewalk, and then turn into yards to cut off way and get lost.
Hitchhiking in China
We go past the five-story building along the rice fields. Locals look like aliens. Intolerable heat, and also these heavy skateboards. Finally we went to the track and decided to use the old trick. We get on the bus, but the driver laughs at us and probably says that he is not going where we need to go.
– Do not care, let’s go catch a car!
The sun is at its zenith, there is not a single shadow on the road. We are go forward, hand sideways, thumb up. We have been going for almost an hour. It already hurts to hold the hand, no one stops. Heck! Well, here it is another same bus. Could get on it for twenty rubles. We are sit down in the bus. But after a couple of kilometers the driver turns. We reach the final stop, the people and a large crowd of schoolchildren come in, so we don’t go out and drive back along the winding streets of the nice and even some non-Chinese residential area with private buildings. We went out at that turn and caught the first car – incredible luck!
The driver drove us a couple of dozen kilometers to the ferry, said to wait for the ferry and left. There is some wide river and two ferries: big for cars and small for pedestrians and scooters. One kindly old Chinese woman say what we need and where to go. Already on board, Nastya noticed that pedestrians are paying in one yuan. When the conductor approached us, we asked with a finger: “One?”, And she replied with her head: “Yes!” And showed two, which meant that we need pay four. How else!?
On the other side, we once again laughed at them, washed our feet, brewed noodles and brewed coffee – now we can go further.
Rain on time, or not at all
Deal to be going, because we almost immediately caught the car to the neighboring town, where we bought cheap Coca-Cola, replenished the stock of noodles and went to the highway happy. It was another picture from a western in Chinese style. Two inoplaniates walk along a long straight main street past two-story houses, carrying backpacks, a Coca-Cola in plastic bag and two skateboards in the covers, similar to a heavy automatic weapon. All the locals see us off. Someone silently, someone says something, but we go further and like we do not pay attention.
On the outskirts of the city, a heavy downpour attacked us, but we quickly ran away and hid under the porch of someone’s garage. It was so unexpected and fun, and we were very glad that we were in the right place at the right time. We sat there under our roof, wondered at the power of this water stream and laughed at the Chinese passing by. While brewing coffee, we were joined by a motorcyclist. He were surprised and nodded approvingly. And although our guest refused coffee, we, of course, did not refuse to take a picture with him.
Soon we waited until the downpour subsided a bit and went on. The second wave surged and now we are under the roof of some workshop. There are many children running around here. At first they grouped, then gradually began to come closer and tell us something, then surrounded us, tied up and carried on a fire. Okay, that was joke! They surrounded us and began to poke at the police station a little further across the road. And then they went to take us to the cops. Heck! This is not a joke! We waved to all these kind people and went away from this place.
The rain was over, but we are walking along the road past all these houses and no longer want to stop somewhere. My hand asks for a ride and at the same time shows that we are good people and will not kill anyone, but the Chinese certainly think that we are tourists who love to walk and that everything is okay. Although on their faces still bewilderment.
I slowed down a young guy in an old truck, said something and drove on. Smile and wave. For more than an hour we walked along this road, until we caught up with this guy, he called out to us and said that he would take him to the neighboring city. We climbed into the old and very dusty cabin of his truck, but our happiness knew no bounds! At least we are going!
“He had not asked for money!” – we thought when we got out of the car. Everything is cool, he shook our hands and went somewhere back – apparently drove us further than he should have. The men came running and asked where we were going. We need to the other end of the city. They offered a ride. But this is China, so you need to ask!
– How much?
But if it is five, it means fifty. Five hundred rubles to drive through the city – thanks, we will walk on foot!
The city looks as if it was settled again after the apocalypse, but it is crowded in the center and a beautiful park with a quay. We sat down to see off the sunset, so that people would stop watching us a little. Curious kids – very funny, amuse us and their parents. The people here are good! They walk, bathe in the river, go fishing and enjoy life. Everyone is smiling at you and it’s great!
Far from all
The day is almost over, but not our adventure. We move on. We need to go through the river and see that we have everything we need to get to the track.
We are driving on the road in total mist, trying not to hit a pebble and not to fall in front of a passing car, their by the way is not so much. In any case, we still catch the car and, to our great surprise, successfully. The guy takes us to a small town, asks about the hotel and the police, we say that all the rules and he also goes back.
Okay, there are some lakes with boiling water, we have seen such a lot, but without a clue what it is. Come closer to look around. On the other side a goose farm glows. A large flock of white geese swims beautifully in dark water.
– Let’s go closer to the highway, there are also some lakes there.
Another industrial area. Winding road up. We were tired, but we went to town. The streets are empty, but there are still many who work and noise and conversations can be heard outside the metal walls of the hangars.
The lakes are also noisy from pumps and terribly stink of rotten fish. On the shore a lot of dead fish. It would be possible to spend the night here, but we do not want to. The entrance to the highway shines brightly nearby. In addition, there are several police cars, but today we do not care. We decided to eat, relax and think.
All we came up with was to go back to the city and take a shower out of the bottle at the washbasin near one of the workshops. A man from a house nearby shines at us with a bright lantern and shouts something. On the way to the city, he overtook us and then met again on the way back. I asked if everything was fine, and we asked for drinking water. He said no, left, and after a minute he caught up with us again and gave us several half-liter sealed bottles of water, said that he lives on a fish farm right there, said that if he needed anything else to come, hesitate .
– Okay! Bye, man! Thank you!
One by one, I am in shorts, and Nastya in a bathing suit, as planned, we was shower from a bottle on the street with shampoo and soap. The hard workers across the road were busy with their deals, the aunt passed by, looked, said nothing. Everything’s Alright. We refreshed and went to put up a tent near the lake.
A Chinese man is not a cobra. He won’t bite!
Found a nice hidden place near the parking of trucks. But apparently not very hidden, because we did not have time to put our tent, as the man arrived and then another friend of his.
– Guys, why are you want to spend the night here?
– No no no! Let’s go to our farm? It’s dangerous here! The cobra will bite you here!
– Yes, no, man! Everything’s Alright!
– Let’s go, feed you! We are good people, we will not offend, we are have a safe place!
– Well, Nastya, let’s go?
We quickly collected our belongings, loaded them on motorbikes and went to visit. We thought we would spend the night in their house, but in the end we set up a tent in their yard under the roof. They have a table there, fans, beer, seeds. Our friend called and ordered to bring food. And after five minutes more friends arrived. Brewed us noodles, gave a watermelon and beer screed. After ate we “talked” with them with Google translator for two hours. It was interesting to tell them about our path, future plans, about how difficult hitchhiking in China and generally try to explain what hitchhiking is. We told that we came from Korea, but did not say that we started in Japan. They are not very fond of the Japanese. Then they all left, we washed things and went to bed. In the morning we slowly gathered, had breakfast with oatmeal and watermelon and drank coffee. Friends gave us water. We took pictures with them and went to catch the car to the entrance to the highway.
Already in the morning there was an incredible heat. We came to the place where we wanted to put up a tent and found the lost pegs of the tent. And from the side of the roadside sellers, it looked like this: “Everything went as usual normally, we sit, we smoke, but in the morning two white men with backpacks and machine guns in their covers pass by, reach the edge of the parking lot, pick up something, put it in a backpack and go! “. And I did not invent it, we saw it all in their puzzled eyes, when we again passed by and start catch car.
Keep the watermelons on them ride where you want
As usual, no one stopped until one man on the station wagon braked. He did not want to take us, he stopped only to wait for friends on the way out. The man opens the trunk, which is filled with watermelons from bottom to top, takes the first one and carries us. “Wow, this is a gift!” – we are shocked. Where are we will put him? Miraculously, the watermelon climbed into my dimensionless backpack. Here the man gives us the second watermelon. “Oh! Where shall we put it? ”- but we did not refuse, took out a knife and began to eat. It was awesome, juicy and sweet, fresh, grown right here in the fields nearby! While we are eating a watermelon, the man catches cars for us and, by the way, he is good at it. Now we know how hitchhiking in China works – not with a finger up, but with a wave of a hand, as if you are catching a taxi.
But he still did not succeed, he waited for friends, said goodbye and left us alone with the watermelon. Only we finished it, as the guy who was driving in our direction literally immediately stopped. Cool! Later we learned that he was going to the border town and we decided not to go out at the crossroads to the Ban Gioc Falls, but to go with him to the border and visit this waterfall from the Vietnamese side. Anyway, we don’t have enough money to get to the waterfall from the Chinese side. So we drove about two hundred kilometers at a time – then it was our record and there was little to the border. We were glad to have such luck! We bought fruits and ate the second watermelon so as not to drag.
Intoxicated with success, we naively agreed to the offer of a minibus driver to take us to the border. Several times we showed him with a gesture that we had no money, he nodded knowingly and in the end we went. Doubts still tormented us, and when they arrived at the border they materialized. With the same gesture, the bus driver showed us: “Give me the money!” And the bitch smiles slyly. We were shocked, showed him an empty wallet and said that we had no money. He got angry in earnest, began to grab us, grab our backpack, the package of food, as if he wanted to take us back. We basically did not want him to pay anything, since all the savings would be reduced to zero. Drove minibus did not lose his head and told all the aunt at the checkpoint, and they did not let us out of this greedy country. We just stand and wait for what comes next. The man is nervous, spits, curses. Gathered a crowd already around us.
The situation was saved by a Vietnamese woman. She says to Nastya: “You have beautiful glasses! Let me try on? ” I suspect something, but she puts on and asks a friend: “How sunglasses on me?”, She nods: “Good!”. A woman says to Nastya: “I buy them from you, give the money to the driver ?!” and pops a little less than the required Chinese yuan. The conflict is settled. A woman later gave us another two hundred Vietnamese money rubles. “For the first time,” he says. She hugged Nastya as friend and said goodbye. We go away from China. So, at one moment, we became acquainted with Vietnamese hospitality and Chinese meanness. We ate two and a half watermelons in one day and learned what hitchhiking in China is. In addition, we need to wash and we have minus sunglasses – well, yes and don’t care! But we are going to Vietnam!