Holiday Inn heaven
29 Jun 2007
|Would you believe that I got the room all to myself all night! I can't believe it. Thankful too as my throat is really bad now and swallowing is becoming painful. I think it might be a side affect of the Malaria tablets. I have been taking them now from before I left and that can't be good for the system.
At one stage some Chinese rocked up to my door. They apparently were coming in. By this time I had my stuff spread all over so cleared it up for them. Now as I had the number one seat I felt it my right that I could use the whole thing for my stuff. I don't think they agreed. The thing I didn't get was that there seemed to be one too may of them. There were only three beds spare and there were four of them. What kind of bugger up had happened here?
Once they realised that I wasn't leaving or giving up my prime spot they went into the hall way and sat on the fold out side seats that the staff use. Eventually they grabbed their stuff and moved out. Apparently there was an error and they smiled farewell to me. Not unhappy to see them leave. I was enjoying the quiet and did not want never ending chatter going on.
The rest of the way had no drama's and no more intrusions. However we spent more time in tunnels it seemed than out. Pity as the view was at times fantastic. The staff member came to let me know that we were almost at Chongqing and to switch the ticket back.
I got off the train and joined the masses heading out. I was the only westerner in sight and was an object to stare at apparently. The amount of luggage I had especially my backpack, intrigued them. I guess they don't get many backpackers in these parts.
Going down the stairs I was soon approached by people offering help or a lift. I don't know. It was all in Chinese. I followed the signs towards the Taxi stand and stayed firm. Others came up offering to take me in their cars which is obviously a local scam. Some others accepted but I was in a very foreign environment and there is bugger all in English and no one seems to speak it. Exactly what I was expecting.
I got my turn for the taxi and a police office helped me with my stuff. It seemed to be an honour for him which was nice. The taxi driver had not a clue where I wanted to go and I realised more than ever how I should have gotten Blue Sky to translate my hotel directions into Chinese before I left.
He phoned someone and to cut a long story short, we finally arrived. My throat was next to useless by this stage and it's hard enough trying to communicate here but add a voice that barely works and you have all sorts of problems.
The hotel I had chosen was the Holiday Inn. I had checked it on the net and could get a room for just over $50. Expensive but after 28 hours on a train and in a huge city which can barely be seen for the smog, I was willing. However all those rooms were sold out and the only thing left for me was a Executive Club room. Just over $100 a night. I had no choice but couldn't afford to stay two nights so found out if they had a travel agent near by.
Sure enough they had one on the premises. I would be able to book the Yangtze River cruise for tomorrow. I went to my room which I must say is fabulous. It comes with all the extra's as well. Actually it has more than any other hotel I have ever stayed at.
I called Mum to let her know where I was and what I would be doing. My throat was no good and I got a couple of coughing fits but at least I got to talk to her for a bit. It seems that there might be a chance that I can still use my ATM card. The bank only put a hold on it and not cancelled it. Mum had gone to the bank to check for me and it shows that it still works. I will check on this end just to make sure.
Then when I hoped my voice had recovered enough, I headed to the Travel Agent. She was of great help and got me on a boat for tomorrow evening with a hotel pickup included. The pickup is not till 8pm but as the hotel will allow me to stay in my room till 4.30pm due to the room I have paid for, I will not have to wait to long in the bar downstairs.
The boat she has me one is five star and definitely a treat. Something that I had not planned at this stage but I will just have to go really cheap in other countries to make up for it. Jeff, I'd appreciate if you could put that money in the bank for me. After paying for the cruise, I just might need it.
I finally realised why all the cheaper rooms had been booked out. There was a wedding party in full gear. Noisy bunch but the hotel put on a real good show for them. I finished up and went back to my room to order some room service for dinner. The garlic bread and cream of mushroom soup where fabulous and I highly recommend if you stay here to try it. Dunking the garlic bread into the soup is scrumptious.
So here I am in a very nice room with a very comfortable, humongous bed but a throat that may make the cruise a very quite one on my behalf. I checked the directions for the Malaria medication and sure enough, this is a side effect that affects some people. No more tablets for me till I get better.