FIRST LEG OF THE TRIP
Derek and I left Tuesday morning for Nanning, a city in southern China. Four of us (Derek, Yvonne, Janice and I) are planning on traveling Vietnam, Cambodia and possibly Hainan (if we still have money) during our winter break which began, for the four of us, the day we left Shiyan and will last until the end of February. Yvonne was detained until today so she and Janice left this morning to meet up with us and will arrive sometime tomorrow. Derek and I came early to Nanning to apply for our Vietnam visas so that when the other girls arrive, we can leave pretty quickly. We also filed for the Lewis' visas because they're planning a similar trip to ours but are following a few days behind us.
Yesterday, after getting a hotel, Derek and I walked quite a distance to find the Vietnam consulate. We didn't find it, but we did find a Wal-Mart which, after eating and taking a taxi to the consulate to apply for the visas, we perused for awhile. The Wal-Mart was surprisingly similar to ours back home, only instead of a smiley face mascot, they had a smiley PIG face mascot. Kudos to Wal-Mart for their adaptation abilities!
Everything we've heard about Nanning is that it's a boring, rather worthless city to visit, but it's not so bad. The streets are clean, the air is crisp, and aside from almost getting runover twice by bicycle carts, the atmosphere is pretty relaxed. Derek and I are going to have to find things to kill time for the next two days, but we found a nice Internet bar that promises to drain a few hours of our time, and we'll probably just explore the city by foot later. There's a rather famous dog market we want to check out too!