As you may have noticed, I’ve been obnoxiously negative recently. My time in Yunnan was, with the exception of two days, frustrating. I spent a lot of money and travelled long distances to see things that annoyed me. And my enthusiasm for travelling was all but gone.
A conversation with my family – who have turned their home into a hospice in which they glumly watch episodes of ‘The X Factor’ and wait to die – also affected my mood, as have the daily emails, texts, phone calls and MSN messages from H, telling me his life is terrible, he’s going to cut his wrists, asking for money or begging me to come to Korea. He doesn’t say these things in ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ kind of way – he wants to double the problem, to make me feel as unhappy as he does. He often succeeds.
After a seven hour bus journey from Yuanyang to Kunming – surrounded on three sides by men who, when not shouting at each other or smoking, hacked up and spat out litres of snot – and then a 14 hour train journey the same day to Nanning, I’d had enough. I’d already ditched my original plans of going to Guilin and Yangshuo in the north of Guangxi province after I realised that they would be as unbearably touristy as the Yunnan ‘attractions’, but upon arriving in Nanning, I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to carry out my alternate plan of travelling the south coast. After I started to come down with whatever plague had afflicted the snot-boxes on the bus, my fate was sealed and I spent more-or-less two days in bed sneezing and coughing.
I do, however, quite like Nanning. It’s not too big, it’s green and the traffic is not as bad as most other places. There is nothing to do here though. I can’t imagine there are many tourists who spend three days here as I have – it’s a city that you pass through, not stay in. There are an above-average number of beggars – lots of people with no legs – and I’ve seen quite a few middle-aged, fat, white men walking around with young Asian girlfriends – I’m close to Southeast Asia, where the perverts come to play, so I guess that’s not a surprise. I went to the museum and walked around a bit, but mostly I’ve just been to Walmart to buy tissues, cough sweets and snacks.
At the time of writing this, I have three days until I can cross over into Vietnam (my visa becomes active on the 24th) so I’m going to go to a vaguely interesting sounding place called Longzhou and try to rekindle some passion for what I’m doing and hopefully leave my negativity at the border.