i was having a pity party in my apartment this morning, entirely not in the mood for vacationing. but once i left the house and started going through all that familiar motions of travel, i was in a better mood, or at the very least i didn't have time to wallow in my misery. the flight was delayed by an hour but at least it wasn't cancelled. once i arrived in zhangjiajie (it was kind of magical arriving at the airport and seeing a backdrop of karst mountains) i took the number 4 bus (RMB$1) which got close enough to my hotel (verified via smart phone gps) that i walked the rest of the way. it's a haiyou chain, the same place i stay at everytime i go to chengdu. because i'm a member, i got a discount and the room was only RMB$99. by then it was 4:00, but i still had 3 hours, so i decided to visit zhangjiajie park to 1) see if i could find a place to stay up there, and 2) see if i could buy an admission ticket in advance. i had to go to the bus depot to take the bus (departing every 10 minutes) to ZJJ. the girl at the hotel told me to take the number 6, but i grabbed the number 5 because i saw it was also going to the bus station. turns out it went the opposite direction, so i got off and took a motorcycle instead (RMB$10). on the bus i met 4 pretty girls with small suitcases. they were going to the park village to look for a place to stay (instead of opting to spend a night in the city like i was). when we finally got to the park 45 minutes later, a woman approached me as soon as i disembarked, offering me a place to stay for RMB$100, with photos of the room. the selling point for me was the wifi, so her husband drove me to their place about a mile away. the place was clean, no weird smells, no view of the karsts, squat toilet, but working wifi with good signal (even from the 4th floor). i decided to take it. the husband drove me back to the park, where i tried to buy a ticket but they were already closed (it was around 6:00 by then). i saw people leaving the park, making their way to the large parking lot where buses were parked and ready to return to the city. the air in the park has a lot of moisture and smells refreshingly scentless yet abundant. the trees are a tapestry of different species all woven together. getting onboard the bus, i saw the 4 girls again. they were still looking for a place to stay, and asked me if i already found my place. i recommended my guy. they asked how long i was staying. i said a week. they asked if i was by myself. i said yes, and i didn't need a tour guide. they too wanted to adventure without a guide and asked if they could join me. we exchanged numbers.
i went from crying over my fried eggs in my kitchen in changshou to going out on an adventure date with 4 pretty young women in zhangjiajie. this has been a very eventful week!
i returned to the city with two foreign girls onboard. one of them was mixed race (asian-caucasion) and they were french to boot. we stopped at the city limit so the driver could fix his automatic door. when another bus came by, he told us to just get onboard that one instead. i got off before we reached the station, and walked up big bridge road. i bought some souvenir snacks from a local supermarket, then found a side street with a lot of restaurants and had some shaxian rice noodles before walking back to the hotel.