Last Day in China
November 16th, 2009 by Jeff

Our last stop in China was to be the (relatively speaking) small town of 2.6 million people. We had no real plans for our stay in Nanning, we just had to get there to be able to catch the train form Nanning, China into Hanoi, Viet Nam.

It was our first long bus trip and was quite interesting. Catching the bus was no problem, as our wonderful hosts from Yanshou brought us right to the station. We were told the trip would be six hours. It was a pretty nice motor coach. And, at no extra charge, we were treated to a six hour RAMBO movie fest (in English with Chinese subtitles). I think it started with Rambo 5 and was a countdown, but I don’t think I had actually seen any of the Rambo movies after the first one – back in the early eighties (and this trip just confirmed my sound reasoning on that decision – quite a bit of blood and gore with plenty of action, but very little in the way of plot or character development, no surprise there). I also found this choice of films a little ironic as we were on our way to Viet Nam. At the end of Rambo 3 (I think) we arrived in what we assumed was Nanning as, 80% of the people began to depart. The large group of non-Chinese speaking people all got up and did our best to ask the driver, “Nanning?” since there wasn’t any sign at the station telling us this was the stop. After some debate amongst ourselves, we all came to the conclusion he said yes, so we got off, retrieved our bags from the belly of the bus and marched off to the taxi stand (hoping we were in Nanning). Fortunately for us we were.

Tessa and Phoebe, the cool girls in the back of the bus!

Tessa and Phoebe, the cool girls in the back of the bus!

While we were planning on doing nothing but hanging out in Nanning, a local couchsurfer – Nancy Bushwell- had other plans for us. Nancy saw that we were traveling in China as a family and graciously invited us to stay with her on our day in Nanning. This could not have worked out better! Nancy is an English teacher at the University in Nanning, and asked if we would be willing to come and speak with her class about our travels. I’m sure you all know how shy and reserved we all are, so after about 2 seconds of thinking about it, we all said we’d love to do it.

We were able to spend about an hour with Nancy’s class the next day. The class was a group of about 30 students studying English to be translators. After we gave them a general overview on us and what we were doing, we split up and took a group of eight students for 10 minutes or so at a time. Then they could ask us anything they wanted to know, about us and our travels. There was a lot of good discussion. I talked about the interesting dichotomies we saw in China, for example the killing and dressing of a chicken dinner one block from the million dollar condo we were staying at in Shanghai and how that would never happen in the U.S. (much to their amusement). Tessa was asked if she had ever appeared on Gossip Girl because she looked so much like an actress, and the young men wanted to know if she had a boyfriend (we politely told them they were a little old for her). Phoebe showed pictures of our house and Arizona; and Kate told them, no we are not independently wealthy (although we do make quite a bit more then the average Chinese person). It really was a fun experience and I hope Nancy and her class enjoyed it as much as we did.

A few of Nancy's students with the Tessa and Phoebe

A few of Nancy's students with the Tessa and Phoebe

That evening it was off to the train station and on to Viet Nam. The train was fine, but customs wasn’t much fun. We had a wake-up call at 11:30 on the Chinese border to clear customs (about and hour and ½) then over the border to Viet Nam and another hour and 1/2 to clear our visas and to enter the country. We fell back asleep for 3 hours to arrive in Hanoi at 5:30 AM.

We pulled into the ramshackle station (not the main one) in the east side of town and were told time to get out. There were very few lights on at the station we grabbed our stuff and made our way out into the dawning day. We negotiated with the taxi drivers for a ride to our hotel. The price started at $10 US and we whittled it down to $3 (no one was running on the meter this early in the morning). We pulled up to our hotel, still shuttered for the day at about 6:00 AM and watched the Old Quarter of Hanoi come alive.

2 Responses  
Nancy Buswell writes:
December 21st, 2009 at 6:21 am

Just noticed this today!

Yes, my students and I enjoyed your visit very much! Thanks for taking time out to talk to them.

That’s a nice picture of the boys in my apartment. I remember now that they are the ones who went there to pick you up for the class.

Happy travels,


daisy writes:
January 4th, 2010 at 5:50 am

Hello, i am a student of Miss Buswell.I really appreciate the time we spent together ,though it was short. I wander if you can send me the pictures we took together the day that you came to our class .Looking forward to your reply.

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