Taking the advise from my friends that had just flown over, I bought a ticket from Bangkok to Hong Kong where I would apply for the tourist visa to enter China.
I headed by bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok and, after a couple of nights, I flew over to Hong Kong. I arrived on a Saturday which meant I had to wait two days before applying for the visa. Taking advantage of these days I walked around the city and explored. I was staying on the Causeway Bay area right next to Victoria Park. I found the city quite fun to hang out and easy to navigate in, although expensive in comparison to the other cities in Asia I had been to. The vibe was very similar to Vancouver BC, which made it easy to picture myself living there.
By Monday I was able to apply for the visa and it was ready for pick up on Tuesday afternoon. With passport and approved visa in hand, I bought a bus ticket to Nanning and was on my way by Wednesday afternoon. As I didn’t have an exact time of arrival, the plan was that I would take a taxi to the East gate of Guangxi University , from the bus station, and meet my friend there about 10 am.
To try to make my life a bit easier, I got the Mandarin characters for the gate and University names. Luckily,a girl that was traveling in the bus, with very good English, offered to help me get a taxi once we arrived. So with the help of my new bus friend, and given that we arrived right on time to the station, I was at the East gate by 8 am.
With some time to kill and no means to communicate with my friend, I went over to the KFC across the street. Here I learned that the word for “coffee” in Mandarin sounds exactly like in Spanish “cafe”. If I didn’t learn anything else in this trip at least I would be able to order myself some coffee and be happy.
Closer to 10 am, I went back to the arranged waiting corner. Standing there I was recognized by a friend of my friend (since I was a non-Chinese girl waiting with a big backpack and climbing gear, I was kind of easy to spot). A few minutes later I was back at my friend’s apartment. This apartment at a Chinese University Campus would be my home base for the next few weeks.