Hadn't really expected to do a blog from here - but this is how it goes.
Left the cruise boat at 8pm slightly behind scheduled and piled on to a bus to Yichang 30km away. Went through enormous tunnels of at least 8km long through the mountain sides. Our guide had promised to help us get on a bus to Wuhan when we arrived and so we thought we would be travelling with Mike and Pam for the next 5 hours or so. The plan was to get to Wuhan and see if we could get on a night train up to Beijing. When we arrived at Yichang - the guide took us out of the bus station (funny when we were catching a bus) and when the bus turned up it was virtually full. There was a bit of a scramble and we got our luggage on and all the kids on the 2 back seats - but there were still people to get on. We hadn't yet paid (4 seats x 120RMB - which seemed expensive). Split decision and we decided this was not the public bus - and demanded to our luggage off - since we hadn't yet paid. Mike and Pam got on - they had already paid and looked on as we argued with the guide and the bus driver about getting the luggage out. The price of the tickets went down - but we were adamant now and armed with our bags marched off towards the bus station....
Confident I went up to the ticket window and asked to go to Wuchan - no - no - no buses gestured the girl - S***. But we weren't phased, walked out and ask a bus driver the same thing and realised we needed to go to Wuhan not Wuchan. Back to the ticket window and this time success. Although the bus went to somewhere else in the same town. Tickets in hand - we were then marched back to the booth as the driver gestured to CT with his arms - change of tickets! Turns out we were booked on to the sleeper bus and the driver had got us reallocated to the back beds where we could all be together! These Chinese are really rather nice and helpful! CTs dream had come true - a night on a sleeper bus.
The bus was meant to arrive at 2am - with a train out to Beijing at 3am we thought we'd be ok, but with at least 2 stops in the first hour it was clear we weren't going to make it to the station in time. We finally arrived at 3.30am - but no-one moved, obvioulsy they had paid for a sleeper and they were going to sleep on it - until the morning. So we crept off - the kids rather dazed. Taxi to the train station where we found there were no trains available until tomorrow! (or today as it now was). McDonalds to the rescue and we stuffed the kids with chicken nuggets (breakfast menu not yet available - too early). At which point we made another new chinese friend - the very nice Wayne - who although not a travel agent (he was a law student) he phoned to see how much the planes would be and walked back to the station with CT to find out what the options were. Eventually we were booked on to a sleeper tonight (6th). Just with a day to fill in the lovely Wuhan!