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Journey with Alex Soh... Day 11: Chongqing & Zhangjiajie

Posted on Nov 10, 2009 in Journey with Alex Soh

Every day is a new adventure! The plan for today is to backpack my way from Chongqing to Zhangjiajie, but navigation was almost impossible as I couldn't find any trails leading that way. I felt like I was on The Amazing Race, trying to figure out my next move, until the much-needed help came in the form of this tiny gadget that never ceases to amaze: the Apple iPhone.

Through its GPS application, I managed to find pretty detailed directions to Zhangjiajie - not only did it tell me that I'll have to change trains at some point in the journey, it even showed me the exact train numbers that I needed to take, as well as a list of train timings for my selection!

Travelled through the night by train and although I consider myself quite the seasoned traveller who can adapt rather easily to the worst situations, surviving the ride on the train was really no mean feat. It was a disturbing experience: the train was so dirty, cold and smoky! People smoked, spat, and even slept everywhere and anywhere; the toilets were used (or abused) by everyone till it stank so bad. However, what I went through was quickly made up for by the beautiful, misty scenery that passed me by as the train was nearing its destination. Set the ISO on my Nikon D3 a little higher and started shooting through the window to capture the misty mountain... I hope they awe you as much as they did me!

I arrived in Zhangjiajie early the next morning and boy, I was totally exhausted! Out in the cold at the station, a guy came up to me and offered to take me to town for just 5 RMB. I hesitated a little, then "issued" a warning to the guy not to sell me to a tour agency and going with my gut instincts, I took off with him. Here I am now, in the comfort of my clean room, looking forward to catching up on my sleep. What a day it has been!

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