A Terrible Night’s Sleep on a Chinese Sleeper Bus

It’s only 170RMB they said. It’s the most convenient way to get to Yangshuo they said. By the time you wake up you’ll be there they said. At least, that was the idea.

Rich or poor, there’s a method for everybody when it comes to traveling in China. The speed trains were booked out for weeks, and flying was either going to be too expensive or too time restrictive for a spontaneous weekend getaway, so at the time, taking a night bus had sounded like the best option for getting out of the city one Friday afternoon. Dirt cheap and set to arrive productively early at 8am, I’d boarded the 36 bed tour bus around 9pm, looking forward to falling asleep to movies and waking up well rested for a weekend of hiking and exploring in the mountains of Yangshuo.



As soon as I’d crawled up into my bunk, I realized this wasn’t gonna be the relaxing ride I’d been hoping for. Whether it was due to the fact that I was literally several inches too tall for the length of the bed, or the many, many times I’d banged a knob or a funny bone against metal and corners while shifting or repositioning myself, or how every time the bus hit a bump, my body bounced upwards, smashing my shins against the lip of the foot cubby… within the first ten minutes it had become dismally clear that I wouldn’t be getting much sleep.




But still, I’d tried to think positively and make the best of it by padding my shins with clothing from my pack, and using the blankets provided to cushion the wooden foot cubby of the passenger behind me, which my head had overextended onto. And then the man underneath me’s phone went off, ringer set all the way up to “inconsiderately loud,” to which he answered befittingly, shouting into his phone to overcome the increasingly poor cell service. The whole bus had already sounded like a hot June night near a pond, with text alerts going off like Spring Peeper Frogs, but those could be blocked out by headphones easily enough. This guy and his ten decibel conversation though, definitely wasn’t.


They say the first scratch on a new car always hurts the most, but that isn’t the case when it comes to sleep deprivation. Besides the ten or so phone calls I hadn’t been able to sleep through, each of which consisted more or less of the person shouting about they hadn’t arrived yet, and ironically enough mentioning just as loudly how they were on a sleeper bus, the bus had also stopped about every 2 hours to pick up and drop off passengers, none of whom passed by me quietly or thoughtfully. Bags occasionally slapped against my bunk and whichever part of me that was slightly sticking out to make room for the rest of me, raucous announcements of arrival were made into phones, and most of the men exiting were in such a hurry to smoke that they’d already lit up as they passed by me. By the time I’d gotten off the bus and driven to my hotel, the only thing I wanted to do was sleep.


Budget travel comes at a price


Whoever said ‘It’s the journey that matters, not the destination,’ clearly never took a night bus to Yangshuo. But damn, this place was worth it

The Most Creative Rip-offs of Western Trademarks that I’ve Seen in China

It wasn’t until I came to live here that I would’ve ever thought that copying something could be considered creative, but damn, the Chinese have practically turned it into an art. See, originality isn’t always common over here in China, let alone enforced, and what we might consider blatant copyright infringement, a Chinese company or entrepreneur would just see as hopping on the bandwagon and running with a good idea.

This is seen at the universities, where as much as 50% of the thesis papers my friends attending international programs had to write could be plagiarized at no penalty.

This is seen in my classes at the public schools, where teams of students would openly copy each other’s answers during competitive games and not understand why they weren’t awarded points as well.

This is seen in Kunming China and countless other cities, at the 22 recently shut down Apple stores that Apple itself never actually opened.

This is seen in America, where shopping mall store employees have been prepped on how to handle Chinese people photographing their merchandise for future duplication.

This is seen in local shops and market places, where vendors profit off of counterfeit goods and make little-to- no attempt to hide what they’re doing.

This is even seen in a company currently leading the Chinese Stock Market, whose business practices have ensured that’s the only stock market they’ll be listed in for quite some time.


“Right now our business model is focused on copying a successful company, innovation is our goal for next decade”


Seems legit.


                        HEIMEKEM LAGER BEER                        PRENIUN QUALITY


That product placement.

“If a product sells, it is likely to be illegally duplicated,” and the counterfeit industry in China is as blatant and ballsy as it is widespread. But the unscrupulous business practices and knock-off Nike’s and Folexes are all common knowledge; stuff you doubtlessly could’ve heard about without ever having come here. In the pictures below though, I’ll show you how ridiculously the Chinese take copying one step further in their everyday life, from for-the-sake-of-profit to for-no-other-obvious-reason-than-just-because-they-could.

1. Are these ATM’s or arcade games?


2. You’re lucky Fox can’t start a fantastic law suit


3. Which happy meal did this kid buy?!


4. Although I can’t remember seeing him in the movies, it was definitely a smart decision to swap in Spider-man. I seriously doubt the Aryan God of Thunder could’ve been Asianized all that easily


5. So.. what? Does this mean they’re wild-picked?


The Honorable Mention – A gem from my childhood which just so happened to end up in an English book I once taught out of. Lemme know if you’ve heard this one


The original totally had more wim-oh-weh’ing…