Tuesday, January 20, 2009

China Chronicles: Day One

I woke up at 9 AM after spending the previous night at Now Bar, gorging myself on Christmas dinner leftovers with Aidan, Andrew, Amy, Jeremy and Claire. Thankfully, I had the self discipline to make myself go home and sleep after two beers. The morning was spent frantically making sure the cats had enough food for Kerri to take care of them while I was gone as well as making sure my apartment wasn't too much of a disaster for when Kerri came over to feed them.

At the last minute, I realized that I had left my camera charger at Rachael's. I called her to let her know I'd be over, grabbed my backpack and got into the first cab I could find. Yeongtong was in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go, but I was managing my time well and luckily made it to the Suwon Bus Terminal with a half hour to spare before the next bus for Incheon took off.

I grabbed a quick lunch at the terminal and was soon on my way to Incheon. I don't know if taking the bus to Incheon made much of a difference, because the Incheon terminal is pretty far away from the ferry terminal (the bus goes to Bupyeong and from there you need to make your way to Dongincheon Station by subway), but the bus is far more relaxing than taking the subway all the way to Dongincheon- plus, by the time you get to Bupyeong the subway won't be very full because hardly anyone ever goes to Dongincheon (except me- I seem to go there a lot).

After about an hour and a half, I arrived at Dongincheon Station. I grabbed a cab, expecting the ride to take about ten minutes (where all the other ferries are located) and was pleasantly surprised when the drive took maybe two minutes. Once I got to the ferry terminal I found a spot for myself in the very long line and attempted to watch my backpack... while it was on my back. That was difficult. I vowed to myself that I would buy a little travel purse for my travel documents and money when I arrived in China. While in line, I was grateful to meet another foreigner from Canada named Jordan who was going to the same place on the same boat- he would be my travel buddy for the next day or so.

We finally got our tickets and made our way through baggage checks and passport checks. A bus came to the terminal to take us to the ship and we piled on with about 30 other passengers. By about 4: 30 PM we were all on the boat and accounted for. And what a boat! It had a GS 25 (convenience store), a restaurant, a bar, a few noraebang rooms, a jjimjilbang (Korean style sauna) and much more. I was worried about my accomodations as I would be sharing with three other people, but I was again pleasantly surprised when my roommates turned out to be Chinese university students studying in Korea.

After dinner and a nap, I met up with Jordan and we had a drink on the upper deck before going back to our rooms for some much needed sleep.

The only bad thing about my time on the ferry? The heat was on in my room way too high, and my roommates didn't seem to notice or care. I just slept in my underwear with no covers. I was still too hot.

The first glimpse of China... looks a lot like Korea, doesn't it?

View from inside my room. The little table and chair were cute and surprisingly comfortable.

While the outside of the ship left something to be desired, the inside was very clean and... almost glamourous!

The bunks, TV (which has channels in Korean and Chinese) and our little fridge where we found plenty of drinking water. A great boat ride! It was so big you didn't even notice you were on the water. I would recommend this was of travelling to anyone- it's comfortable, it's inexpensive and it's fun!
Stay tuned for my exciting entry into China! Ooooh... aaaah....