We arrived in Nanning for our final stop in China. We got here from Guilin by high speed train (we topped out at 207kph) and it only took 2.5h to get here. The journey was relatively uneventful, although the whole personal space here seems to be a lot smaller than back home. People just seem to bump and smash into you and don’t say “Pardon me” or “Excuse me” or anything. Same goes for their devices. Maybe it’s just me but I keep my phone or laptop or iPad relatively low so I don’t disturb others but not so much here. On the train people were chatting loudly into their phones, playing games on devices quite loudly and one girl was even singing along to her Chinese pop tunes right behind me. I guess it wouldn’t have been that bad if she stayed in tune but no luck there.
We had very minor trouble finding our hostel. We booked at the “Green Forest” hostel but apparently they’ve changed their name to “Traveling With” hostel. Apple maps shows Green Forest, the taxi driver had no clue, but at least we had the address in Chinese. We drove past and managed to find signage for Green Forest.
We walked into a grotty alleyway (our accommodations seem to revolve around these filthy dirty passages) and we saw the entrance to the hostel – and to borrow a line from Kung Fu Panda 2 – “Ah, my old enemy…stairs!” Turns out the hostel was on the 3rd floor of the building and there was no lift. I, of course, am carrying my pack, my guitar, and the 80lb duffle bag. The place seems to be run by teenagers who speak very limited English, though one girl seems much more proficient that the rest. Their inexperience is showing through their difficulty in making change when we pay for things, not bringing a stir stick or spoon when we ask for milk or sugar for our tea, and other minor things that a few training sessions would likely take care of. To be fair they do have an English sign posted stating that they are still developing and in the progress of getting their business set up. On the plus side they have a very decent pool table with a slate top so the boys were quite excited about that.
Oh, I forgot to mention that three of us got our hair cut at a local barber shop in Guilin. The boys were a bit cranky and worried that the barber wouldn’t know how to cut their hair. We assured them that the barbers here would likely know how to cut Asian hair better than anybody. We got in the chairs and they wash your hair by dumping a handful of shampoo on your head and then massage it in using a squirt bottle filled with water. Connor especially liked this part as it was like a head massage that lasted for a full 10 minutes. Then they took you out back to rinse your head, back to the chair for a warm blow dry and then pass you off to the barber who asked what we wanted done. I saw this young fellow who worked there with a chic hairstyle very similar to the boys’ so I pointed to his head and then pointed to the boys’ heads. He smiled and started cutting.
After the cut they washed, rinsed and blow dried again. Connor said that he would definitely come back the next day to that barber shop for another cut – everything except the actual cut. In other words he really liked the head massage! A few locals have commented that we have two handsome boys and I tend to agree. Of course, I am their dad so I’m biased.