After a night on a sleeper bus, I did manage to get to Xiamen. Sleeper buses in China are interesting and far from what I expected. Imagine three rows of beds, each row having two levels. A bed is made slightly longer by your feet being in the space underneath the other person's headrest. The linens carry all kinds of friendly patterns I used to like when I was six, smell like they haven't been washed in weeks, and gave me a funny rash (that has since disappeared, phew). The first hour the onboard TVs (poor those who slept right underneath them) played random Karaoke videos, then came a horrible-but-funny HK film, something about a former British Army Officer holding an entire school hostage with his buddies to be able to see his stepchild once more (yes, it really made no sense), and I believe another film came on, but I slept by then.
We stopped once at a small bus station in the middle of nowhere, where one could stock up on travel supplies, eat the typical cafeteria food for an inflated 15 yuan per small plate, or could go to the bathroom. The bus bathroom by this time was so foul smelling I feared the moment anyone would use it, as my bed was reasonably close, and some stenches are better left trapped.
We arrived at about 5.30 in the morning. I took some time going over travel plans for the next two weeks in my guidebook while resting, sorted out how to get to my hostel, and got on my way. A joyful taxi ride later (I had to insist that I did not want to see any more 'sights' on our way as the meter was ticking away merrily) we arrived at the pier. I embarked and took the free ferry over to the small island of Gulang Yu, where back in the days the colonial powers sent their people - hence lots of old, pretty villas, no cars, not even bicycles, and lots of tourists. Amidst these I got lost trying to find my hostel, but eventually checked in at about 8-ish - and that is where I am now, ready to embark on my next adventures! After getting the sweat and dirt that has accumulated on me over what seems to be an eternity off me, I'll explore the island and Xiamen a little, and then figure out how I best travel on to HK tomorrow! Pictures will come once I've taken some more!