Monday. Return to the PSB. De ja vu. The visas aren’t ready yet. Surprise? Another day in Kunming is difficult to contemplate so we buy more DVDs and have some ears for dinner. If you don’t think they are ears you tell me what they are. They look like ears, they taste like ears and they smell like ears. Even Chinese people we asked later on didn’t know what the feck these things were. Faced with the prospect of lingering in Kunming for the next few days waiting for visas that may or not appear we decided to leg it. We had been told not to leave the city but we figured if we weren’t leaving the country then no one was likely to ask us for a passport or visa. So we got in touch with the ActionAid people who had some projects going on in the GuangXi province and booked a sleeper train for Tuesday night from Kunming to Nanning. Sleeper trains weren’t new to us as we had spent 4 solid days on one when doing the Trans-Siberian in 2004 but the Chinese ones have even more irritating music and have 6 beds to a cabin (which doesn’t have doors).
We arrived in Nanning on Wednesday morning after 13 hours on the train. It wasn’t bad though. The beds were softer than the Kunming youth hostel. In Nanning we met up with Li Ql (pronounce Lee Chee) – the HIV and AIDS Project Coordinator for the province and spent the rest of the week visiting various projects near the Vietnam border (see separate post).