A Travellerspoint blog

Dorm Etiquette: How To Deal With A Loud Snorer

By Jon

The sound of someone sawing their way through a entire forest fills the air in the six bed dormitory, keeping all but one of us awake. Of course it's not an overzealous lumberjack working a night shift, but the newest member of the dorm snoring his head off with an incessant grating whine. And now it's 5-o-fucking-clock in the morning and we've barely slept a wink.

Now if it were a loved one snoring next to you in bed you could give them a poke or hold their nose until they woke up. Failing that, a swift kick under the covers at least provides some satisfaction, even if it doesn't stop the noise. But what do you do when you want to stop a complete stranger from snoring? What's the etiquette for resolving the problem? As much as we want to firmly hold a pillow over his head I'm not sure whether this is correct procedure. So as I lay awake while my ears vibrate to the sound of a wounded warthog, I've come up with a few solutions to help backpackers deal with antisocial snorers.

1) If they're sleeping in the bunk above you, remove half of the supporting slats from underneath their mattress. Be careful not to remove too many as the last thing you want is them falling through on top of you. Ideally remove three to four slats in the middle of the bed, just enough to cause them to partially fall through the hole, wedging them in a bent over position which is not conducive to snoring.

2) Work with all the other members of the dorm to lift the bunk bed and carry it down the hallway, out of earshot from your own beds. This may mean the member of the dorm sharing a bunk with the snorer also has to sleep in the hallway and still has to suffer with the noise but sacrifices have to be made for the greater good.

3) Cut through the bed supports but leave the bed resting loosely on them. Attach a hinge to one end of the bed then rig up a weighted pulley system to spring the bed up and catapult the snorer out of the window.

4) Again, with the help of your roommates, attach strings to each limb of the snorer then make them dance like a puppet for your amusement as you control their actions from the top bunk.

5) If the snorer is in the bunk below you, drill a hole about 2cm in diameter through the bottom of your bed then, in a scene reminiscent to the film You Only Live Twice, feed a weighted piece of string through the hole and dangle it just above the open mouth of the snorer. Drip some liquid throat medicine or muscle relaxant onto the string and let it trickle down the string and into the snorers mouth. This should hopefully relax the throat muscles and stop the snoring.

6) If the snorer is in the bottom bunk and you're in a top bunk and the dorm has shared bathroom and shower facilities, block up the sink and the shower drainage then turn on all the taps. Retreat to the safety of your top bunk and watch as the rising water levels slowly cover the snorer's mouth turning the irritating abrasive sound into a series of peaceful bubbles.

If you have any other suggestions to combat snorers in shared dorms please let us know.

Posted by JonAndSara 00:33 Archived in China Tagged dorms snoring dormitory snorers Comments (0)

Another one of those moments.

By Sara

Today while I was cycling in amongst the Yangshou mountains I had another one of those 'let's just take a minute and appreciate where I am' moments. Wow, am I really here, am I really experiencing this epic natural wonder?? How lucky am I! I don't know if the Yangshou mountains are one of the natural wonders of the world, but if they are not, they totally should be on that list, and high up on it!

I'm trying to think of how I can describe these mountains to you. They are all around me, spiking out of the ground, all different shapes and sizes. It's a bit like what I'd imagine it would be like if I was taken back to the dinasour ages. I'm half expecting a diplodocus to appear from behind one of the mountains.

When I look at them I wonder how these natural sculptures came about. I originally thought it was to do with the ice age but after speaking with the locals, it turns out that this place was once under the sea, which explains a lot. After finding that out, it makes the experience of being here all the more epic.

Here are some photos but I don't think they quite do the mountains justice.


It's safe to say, I have been moved today.

I've been moved so much by this place that I am, a little bit, considering moving here for a year after my trip. Apparently China is crying out for English teachers, and get this, they give you a decent salary (by Chinese standard), a place to stay, all bills paid, 4 months holiday a year and they pay for your flight out here. You don't even have to speak Chinese to get the job! However I'd definitely be up for learning! Add another string to my bow! The hours are good which would give me time to focus on my dress making. I'm picturing a little cabin in the mountains with a sewing machine and a bicycle. Maybe an out door shower. (When in Rome...)

My family will be reading this and thinking, WHAT, is she crazy?? This is because they have been on the other end of Skype hearing all about my struggles of dealing with China. It's amazing what a place can do to a person. And yes, I am a fully fledged crazy person, I'm well aware of this! Hey, everyone needs to have a bit of crazy in them. Right.....

Posted by JonAndSara 03:44 Archived in China Tagged yangzhou Comments (0)

Tranquil Guilin

By Jon

Without doubt Guilin has been the most beautiful and tranquil place we've visited in China. The whole city is packed full of rivers and lakes and then surrounded by green, mountainous karst formations. Throughout our time in China so far we've found it difficult to find a bit of peace and quiet away from the multitudes of people (that's the problem with a country with a population of 1.4 billion - people are everywhere!). Usually there's been no place to relax - parks in the large cities are generally small, crowded or have an entrance fee we don't want to pay. Here though, along the rivers, we finally found a bit of peace, away from all the staring eyes, unused to seeing foreigners.

What made our experience even better was meeting a Chinese guy called Frank. He's an English teacher at a local university, and by the sounds of it, he has the perfect job - he works 15 hours a week, the government provide him with a house and pay his bills, he gets a decent wage on top of that and gets four months holiday a year. As you only need a degree and no extra qualifications to get the job ( you don't even have to speak Chinese to teach English here) it's almost tempting to stay and find work!

Frank is also a couch surfing host but couldn't host us as he didn't have enough blankets for the two of us. However, he kindly gave up his afternoon to show us around the city. After he walked us along the river, showed us the pagodas on Lake Shanhu, and took us to their 'version' of the Arc de Triumph and Golden Gate Bridge, he shared with us the most valuable of his knowledge - where to eat! He took us to a road called Taiping Lu where many of the locals eat and where we were able to buy whole meals of rice noodles or meat filled noodles for only 50p. And best of all, a small store selling whole roasted duck for just £2.40! And when I say whole, I mean whole, with neck, head and beak included. Just watching the skilled way the woman effortlessly chopped the deceased animal into small bite size pieces for us provided the nights entertainment too.

Now we're about to travel south for an hour or so to Yangshuo which I expect to be even more beautiful than Guilin as it's further into the country. Along the way there's a mountain called Nine Horses Hill where Mao reportedly saw the shapes of nine horses outlined along the skyline. Apparently when Bill Clinton visited the place he could only see three horses. Perhaps his imagination isn't as good as Mao's. Or perhaps he imagined the other six to be interns.


Posted by JonAndSara 21:31 Archived in China Tagged china guilin Comments (0)

Lovely Gena and Her Couch

By Sara

We are soon to depart from our first couch surfing experience and we are coming away from it with 2 new friends and 2 very full bellies! What more could anyone want?

Gena, our host in Hangzhou, China, completely spoilt us! She made muffins, showed us where to buy cheese and wine (Chinese food every day was taking its toll!), took us for massages, dinners and the most amazing bike ride around west lake, gave us pinocoladas for breakfast and brandy slushes in the evening, showed us the latest series of How I Met your Mother and linked me to Facebook (FB is blocked in China)! Oh yea and she gave us a place to sleep for 3 nights, all in exchange for our friendship, which wasn't hard to give as she is so welcoming and lovely. Can you believe it!

While we were staying at Gena's, we were lucky enough to be around at the same time as her Chinese friend that was visiting. His name is Pu and he is just the sweetest! Now I know I am only 29 years of age but I have to admit, I just wanted to mother him, he is such a sweetheart AND he is a masseuse. He sorted out my back which was really cool!
He says his dream is to move to England but he doesn't think he will get there, I hope he fulfils his dream. I did offer up my sister for marriage to save the hassle of the whole visa thing. (She's going to kill me for that!). Ha ha

From the minute we arrived at Gena's home she made us feel so welcome, it was just like we were visiting an old friend. She gave us a key while she was at work and said we could help ourselves to food. But we didn't have to as Pu made us traditional Chinese food for lunch every day. In exchange we helped him with his broken English. It must be very hard to speak only in a foreign language for so long. He did very well.

I think that we got very lucky with our first couch surf, I doubt our future experiences will be this fantastic. If they are even half as good as Gena's then we are on to a very good thing here! Gena is going to give us our first reference so hopefully that will help us to find future couches more easily. It's funny, we originally went for the idea of couch surfing to save money but actually it's not about that at all, it's about meeting people and enjoying the company and culture of others.

Here are some photos of Jon and I with Gina and Pu on our day out cycling around the West Lake -


When we finish travelling and get settled (wherever that may be) we will definitely become hosts to give a bit back to our fellow travellers.

I think couch surfing is such a great thing, it brings people together in a nice way and you get to meet people from all walks of life, all over the world.

I'm flying the flag for couch surfing!

Posted by JonAndSara 00:38 Archived in China Tagged china hangzhou west_lake facebook couch_surfing pinocoladas Comments (0)

Where's the Hair?

By Jon

Having been in China for a week there is one thing that strikes me about the men here (apart from the fact that hocking up phlegm and spitting it out seems to be their national sport – it doesn’t matter if they’re outside or not) it’s that none of them have beards. Any facial hair at all seems to be rare, the closest I’ve seen so far is a teenager’s half-hearted attempt to grow a moustache, but that looked more like an anorexic caterpillar had crawled onto his face, while another teenager sported three long, straggly, threads of hair which emanated out of his chin; I guess this was some sort of fashion statement, although what that statement was I haven’t a clue. Hopefully it’s an open invitation for people to grab the strands and pull him around by his chin as punishment for the idiotic way he looks.

Out of a population of 1.4 billion people it seems strange that the hairiest moustaches probably belong to the old women in the country, and out of the thousands of men I’ve seen in the cities and on the metro lines I haven’t seen a single Chinese man with a beard. Is it because Chinese men simply can’t grow a decent beard or is it because Thierry Henry, Tiger Woods & Roger Federer ran such an effective ad campaign for Gillette that every man in the country stockpiled razors and now needs to shave every day in an attempt to make room in the house for their only child?

Then I discovered this recent article from the Telegraph!

It says Chinese authorities are offering rewards for people who tip off anti-terrorist police about individuals who may act suspiciously - this includes reporting people with excessive facial hair. Officials have issued a notice offering rewards ranging from $8 to $8,000 for a wide array of information including tipping off any neighbours growing beards. No wonder they don’t grow beards here!

Now I haven’t had a proper shave since I left London and my last blog was also rather unflattering about their precious Chairman Mao. I may well be at the top of China’s most wanted list and there was a strange woman taking photos of us while we walked around the Oriental Pearl TV Tower last night.

If you don’t hear from us soon, please contact the British Embassy in Shanghai!

Posted by JonAndSara 18:12 Archived in China Tagged china beards Comments (0)

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