I am really stingy, so Unless its free, I take it.
Someone told me its a waste of time to go around a city without a map.
A bit true. I did Shanghai without a map. It was my second visit. It was hell, 5 hours of walking hoping to get to the over rated attraction, THE BUND. But I guess its not really a waste of time, coz I saw the what I would call, the REAL face of the city and it sucks. I dont mean sucks. I just say that the whole CAMPAIGN of CHIC and Trendy city hides this reality. Someplaces took me back to MANILA. It was just soooo Third World without the Charm powers of Laos and Cambodia.
Well, it day 3 in HUBEI, China and I am online! 2 hours on foot and nothing impressive, my hostel sofa is a better place to experience culture. The MAP made the city looks so Promising. It had RIVERS and Lakes everywhere. Parks galore and I love Parks.
Here is the major trouble the bus stations dont have maps and the NUMBERINGS dont exist. I hate asking people for directions for two reasons:
1. MOST OF THEM ARE STUDENTS, uni students and I look Chinese. They feel embarassed and had to apologize for being stupid or not being able to speak in English. I leave them sad and frustrated, because they cant help me.
2. Some of them get too excited to help. IT IS ANNOYING.... and I am not in the mood to be an object of mass fascination. I am not exaggerating, it can be too much in developing cities. They dont see foreigners everyday, especially SOUTH EAST asians with western accent.
3. They can't speak English, so they will take you a place and walk with you for ages. Some of them are that nice. I keep saying, I'm fine, I will find it. But the Chinese don't understand that HARD CORE backpackers exist in Asian forms. I look like a kid and their and maternal and paternal instincts is eating so much of my time. They worry I get lost.
The map in my hostel is RIDICULOUSLY overpriced. My lonely planet is so heavy...I dont want to rip the page off. so atleast one park and one bar. I was thinking that if a city is really beautiful one does not need a map to find impressive sights or cultures, Do you get that??? I mean I could walk out of the hostel and within 40 minutes, I'll see something that makes me want to take a photo. So far this city failed. I'm sure it has top attractions, but I dont like Tourist SPOTS, I want a CITY!
Anyway, do you explore without a MAP??? the other cities really IMPRESSED ME, with no maps I walk from the train station, and I keep saying WOW, AMAZING, AWESOME, FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL, yes, its in my VOCABULARY, along with my volume of Pessimistic expressions.
I'm so lazy to leave the hostel. Yesterday was nothing... It was third world city. But I know its not. But if I had a map, I would never would have seen its dark side. I would go directly to the parks and the clubs.... Which is my plan later, if their phone is not out of service, I'd be in a bar right now.