passing villages along the road, i saw dogs in various states of dismemberment. they sure love their dogs here in guizhou - to eat that is! we stopped for a short break, where i bought two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast and a bottle of water. some of the men asked me some questions about american living, like how much i made, and whether america is better than china. at another stop, i bought a bag of local candy (kind of like peanut brittle, but in a ball) and shared them with the men. we became friends and later they gave me some uncracked walnuts.
backroad to anshun
sleeper bus interior
when we finally made it to anshun, i was dismayed to see no traffic hotels nearby. with my heavy backpack dangling from my arms, i walked to the closest hotel i could see, a posh-looking high-rise. RMB$220 was the cheapest rate for a night's stay, but they were booked solid since there was a waterfall festival happening this weekend. i continued walking, seeing no traces of hotels, and was about to head back when somebody called out asking if i was looking for a room. it was a restaurant-hotel complex, and from the looks of things i knew it'd be a farcry from the nice hotels i've been living for the past few weeks. for RMB$100 it was basically a sparse room with a small bed, a tv, and a bathroom: a squat toilet, no sink, and an open pipe that functioned as both the shower head and the toilet flush. after traveling for 21+ hours though, i didn't care, and took the room (the front desk girl might've given me a discount though, RMB$30 less). after paying, i went back upstairs to take a lukewarm shower, using soap as a shampoo (the only thing they gave me was a small wash cloth, a roll of toilet paper, and a toothbrush).
i then went out exploring, maybe find something to eat, maybe visit an internet cafe. i saw a china telecom office which reminded me i needed to put more money into my phone plan. like before, it was a game of musical chairs as i went from office to office, trying to find that one place that deals with non-local numbers. fortunately i only had to visit two places before i found it. after the obligatory getting cut in line by a handful of chinese customers, i asked the woman behind the desk about adding more money. "sorry, we can't do that here," was her reply, then she redirected me to the help desk. the woman at the help desk said the same thing, and told me to add money via a phone card, before redirecting her attention to another customer. after some more waiting, i asked her if she could help me add money to my phone, since i've never done it with a phone card. she walked me to the vending machine while i gave her RMB$100. after vending out a card and punching a series of numbers into the phone, she gave it back to me, "all set." later she confessed that the only reason she helped me was because i looked cute. hey, whatever works.
internet cafe entrance
i made it to an internet cafe where i updated the blog - unfortunately there's restricted access and i can't copy photos onto the machine.
hot & sour noodles
when i came back out, i followed a series of old chinese houses until i accidently came across the old section of town. i found a noodle shop and had a large bowl of hot and sour noodles for dinner, before exploring the old town some more. a few people saw me taking photos and encouraged me to document their town. i came across the confucius temple (yeah, i know, another one!) but decided to come back another day when i had more time. i talked with an old lady who's lived in anshun all her life, and she gave me a brief survey of how things have changed. lijiang? dali? why go to those places when you can see real chinese old towns in jianshui and anshun? here was the reason why i came to anshun in the first place, and it all happened surreptitiously.
leaving the old town, across an intersection i saw a night market being set up, with various food and clothing stalls. people were pitching tents, and cooks were warming up their grills and woks. since i already had dinner, i just bought some bananas and walked back to the hotel, deciding to come back another time. on the way i visited a shoe store where i had a chat with the owner about life in america.