As expected, we awoke at 8am by Evan knocking on our door to see if we wanted to go exploring - we politely and sleepily declined (Dave managed a mumble before I had to shout from the bed).  We slept until 10am, and then got showered and dressed and decided to try find the Silk Market. This was a fake goods market that was actually on the itinerary so we hoped we'd catch up with the others. We described our destination to the reception desk, aswell as getting a photo up off Yahoo of the building (we're seriously missing Google over here) and they told us the bus number and wrote down what we thought was the destination to show the driver.

 It all went smoothly. Our bus arrived just as we walked up to the bus stop, we got on and showed our piece of paper. The bus driver nodded, and after about 10 minutes on the bus nodded for us to get off. We tried to hand her some money to pay for our journey, however, she completely ignored our gesture so we hastily got off the bus - Maybe they don't pay for buses here? Smug at the fact we had found out way around, we stepped off the bus to find ourselves facing a giant market...a supermarket. Idiots.

After a bit of moaning and groaning, we decided to walk the route back hoping to find some breakfast, and even though it was frustrating, the walk was refreshing.

 We found our way back and grabbed yet another McDonald's (breakfast here is just plain odd. Far too early for noodles and sweet bread) and got back to the hotel to receive a message from the other couple informing us they had missed the whole days trip also. We didn't feel as guilty anymore...

We relaxed there for a couple of hours catching up on stories from the night before, aswell as trying to book our hostels for the next few nights. We had planned to head back to Hong Kong, where we would catch our flight to Bangkok. However, the prices had rocketed up and was just far too much out of our budget. Therefore we decided to stay in Shenzhen for the two nights (where the overnight train terminated) and explore another city rather than crossing straight over to Hong Kong border.

We were then interrupted by Evan explaining that we had to check out by 12pm, it was now 3pm and we were informed we had to pay extra for half a day. Frustrated and stressed, we headed over to reception where we were informed of the additional amount charged where Evan took the blame and covered the costs (it was only £20, but it was the prospect as we weren't informed). We quickly rushed upstairs to pack our bags and were all set to leave until we did a quick 'passports, phones, wallet' check, and realised we had misplaced the wallet with our travel money card, and the train tickets that we needed within the next hour.

After a manic half hour ransacking the room, and realising it was in the rucksack all along, we let out a sigh of relief and went to join the others to say goodbye.

 Unfortunately the majority of the group were either sleeping or gone out, but our group of 5 (Rico, Sarah and Serene) were all there to wave us off, and with mixed emotions of leaving - sad to leave the group, excited to move on - we followed a man from the hotel who took us to the train station where we caught our last 24 overnight train in China.

This train station, obviously being the capital, was one of the busiest yet.

Each waiting room was overflowing with people, surrounded by the homeless asleep in the corners, and everyone pulling out mini camping chairs to sit on. As amusing as it was to watch, I guess they were the sensible ones and we were the idiots sat in the middle of the floor on our rucksacks.

On the train we were lucky enough for one of us to be assigned the bottom bunk, another the top, and we were finally in the same compartment (every other trip we'd had to swap). Once settled in, we sat on our bottom bunk together where we got talking to a young, friendly Chinese couple sat opposite us. We swapped over information on different cultures, and once again Dave was told that he looked like a famous footballer (I just don't get this place..), before the lights went off and we gave them both the bottom bunks and climbed up to the top next to each other.

We've now been on the train for 18 hours and it's not been as painful as I thought.

Only a few more hours left before we meet our last guide that lives in Shenzhen to guide us to our final hotel in China.

Shenzhen

We arrived to Shenzhen around 6pm after a day of sleeping and reading. Our last tour guide was waiting for us at the exit to take us to our hotel that he had found for us.

After all the hostels we've been staying in - not bad but not amazing - my expectations weren't to high. However when we stopped outside a giant Plaza hotel, I couldn't be quite sure if we were at the right place. There had, apparently been an offer going hence why we got it so cheap, and after discovering our room with its own little balcony, I was more than happy.

After only eating a pot noodle in 14 hours, it was safe to say we were starving and in desperate need of a shower. We went on trip advisor to find a cheap Indian restaurant, however we couldn't match the map up with the Chinese writing on the street signs, so we ended up settling for a little Italian that we passed on the way.

This was such a good last minute decision. The food was incredible and cheap and we were both extremely happy people. By the time we got back to the hotel it was only 10pm, however I was already falling asleep (there was a cold bug going around the other group that we were trying so hard to avoid but I think we've both caught a climpse of it). Although as we had slept all day on the train Dave dragged us across the road to the complimentary sauna and spa to the hotel to stop us both oversleeping.

Upon arrival, a woman with very limited English started jabbing her finger at different prices and massages on a board, and after explaining that we only wanted to use the sauna, she just carried on pointing. Several more women joined until we were surrounded by an army of them, and after explaining to each one what we wanted they stood amongst each other shouting in Chinese. I decided this was a bad idea and said we should leave until one pulled out a locker band and handed it to us and then showed us to seperate changing rooms.

Still unsure of the idea, we were both separately led through parallel doors. Expecting a changing room, the room opened up into a forest of massage beds and chairs. As I was taken down more and more winding corridors, I begun to think there was deffintely no spa. Eventually, I was taken to a room full of arm chairs with old people laid back relaxing in it, pretty much representing an old peoples home.

They had 100% misunderstood as they smiled and walked off leaving me here. I ran after them and asked them to take me back to Dave, but they kept showing me in more multiple rooms, reluctant for me to leave. After a while of this happening I started to panic, and began just rushing back myself through the corridors trying to remember my way back, until a woman caught up to me and eventually took me back.

Luckily Dave was waiting there when I got out, and had a massive look of relief when he saw me. He apparantly got brought back straight away as soon as he saw where we went and begun shouting at them all to find me and bring me back, in which all of them declined and blocked off the entrance to come and get me. Whilst nothing in this was malicious, the language barrier caused a lot of distress in this particular situation, and being led alone through a large building was quite daunting. All in all, not a great experience and we quickly got back to the hotel and into bed.

(I apologise for the lack of photo's in this blog post - These few days were quite frantic, tiring, and not much time to take photo's of pretty things! Watch this space for next Thursday's however, I promise you some more pics)

Sophie Amelia

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