I woke up feeling peachy and bounded down the road for some hand-pulled beef noodles with Our guide whilst Joe stayed in the hotel to exorcise some of last nights demons (all over himself in the shower, in fact). By 12 noon, checkout time, he was still green faced and moaning and not even a coca-cola had passed his lips, but we had to get moving.

You’re going to hate me for saying this, but when we realised how awful the driving was in China, Joe and I agreed that I wasn’t experienced enough to drive. For the safety of everyone (especially Bob). So, the task was falling completely on Joe.

We only managed to drive about 30km on the expressway before he started seeing double, and had to pull over onto the hard shoulder and have a sleep. Our guide and I sat on the pilons and watched the lorries go by in the blistering heat for half an hour.

We made it to the next town of Yibin, at the upper reach of the Yangtze river, and went straight to the People’s park for a lie down and an icypole. There would be no more driving today. Instead we spent the day listening to old wooden chinese men and women play their instruments and gossip, whilst reading our books and curing hangovers.

Frustratingly, the afternoon was spent trying to find a hotel that would host foreigners. In China, you need a special licence to host non-chinese ‘aliens’, and we were refused accommodation from places who didn’t have this licence more times than not. This was especially frustrating in towns that were off the tourist trail (as most were that we visited) because it usually meant that only the most expensive hotel in town could host us. Even more frustrating was that when we tried to negotiate a discount we were made to feel like the scum of the earth, and were often told (snottily) that they were the only hotel who could host us in a way that indicated they were doing us a favour. On the other hand, the hostel accommodation in China was awesome – albeit only available in ‘touristy’ areas. Our biggest complaint about our tour company was that for all the money we paid them, they never asked us about our budget, nor did they do any research into accommodation in the places on our itinerary. Our guide did her best and found some great places (esp hostels) but we were often rocking up blind in these towns and going from door to door Joseph & Mary style (except for the whole pregnancy, son of god thing).