Leaving Yuanyang

Waiting for the sleeper bus to Kunming, I met an Israeli named Tom.

Wait a sec, I can hear you say. Another sleeper bus? What in god’s name are you thinking?

This wasn’t really an overnight bus, I rationalized. It left Xinjie at 4pm, and Kunming was only 7 away. Just to make sure, I asked the lady at the ticket counter when the bus arrived in Yuanyang.

“4:00” she wrote.
No, not when it leaves Yuanyang, when it arrives in Kunming.
“04:00”, she wrote.

Tom thought there had been a misunderstanding too, so he double-checked.

No misunderstanding. The ride was twelve hours. I’d heard of buses stopping for a few hours so they don’t have to arrive at their destination in the middle of the night. But adding a few hours specifically to arrive in the middle of the night?

Xinjie, just before the storm

The last time I was in this station a few days ago, I had met a couple from Israel, I told Tom. At the time I thought meeting someone from Israel was an unusual occurrence. Turns out, if you don’t meet someone from Israel while traveling, you are on the moon. Tom met the same couple when they arrived in Kunming. (Like I said, if you’re a tourist, China is small country.)

If my memory served me, the Israeli couple had also caught the 4pm.

Yes, they did, Tom confirmed. They said it was a mistake.

As if I needed another reason not to go, boarding the bus we discovered the bunks were double beds. And I was not in the mood to spend a 12-hour bus ride cuddling with a stranger.

Tom had no choice. He had to get to Dali to extend his visa.

Rather than get into a strange city at 4am on zero sleep, I exchanged my ticket for the 9am bus and checked into the first hotel I could find. Good timing. When I walked into the hotel, the sky was blue. The moment I set my stuff down in the room, a torrential storm rained down on the city.

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About sinestor

Originally from Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, I'm currently spending a year exploring the amazing world known as China. My main website is Every Day's a Holiday.

2 comments

  1. Ness T

    Thank you for your travel blog. I stumbled upon it while planning for my trip to Yuanyang as well. I appreciate your very detailed blog. I have a few questions for you regarding your planning, itinerary, safety, and accommodations. I assume you traveled alone as a Caucasian male. While traveling to Duoyishu with a number of obstacles, were you ever in danger? What would you advise for someone who is going to Yuanyang from Kunming? How long did you walk from villages to villages and was that ever dangerous? How did you get to other viewing terraces when you stayed at Sunny’s? What was the other hotel in LauHuZui?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Ness, I don’t recall ever feeling unsafe in Yunnan Province. It’s a wonderful place. I preferred taking the day bus to Kunming as opposed to the sleeper, which my friends advised against. There are, from what I recall, little minivan taxis that’ll take you from one viewing point to another. I walked a couple of times, but they were far between. I’m trying to remember the name of the other guesthouse near Sunny’s. It was something like Aunt Jane’s. Sorry my memory’s not better!

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