Sunday, October 10, 2004
You heard me right. And let me tell you why!! If anyone ever asks you to take a 22 hour bus ride thru China....don't ask me for input, I have no idea. Our ride was supposed to be that long but wasn't. INSTEAD, it was almost 25 hours long! I know you are wanting the details, so hang on. It's a bumpy ride....
We boarded the bus at 4pm. Since the place we bought our tickets (a table by the train station) was not the place to catch the bus (no one told us), a woman from the table almost literally led us by the hand to the bus (a few blocks down) and put us in our seats. Which was nice since again, everyone here speaks Chinese and we don't. The trip started uneventfully. We were in the second to last seats and the initial higway was fairly smooth and the scenery very nice. I found problems with my personal situation quickly-my seat would recline, then slowly work it's way back past straight up to "shove his face into his crotch" position. My vent would not close (having cold air blowing on your head is a great way to get over a cold!) and my footrest was stuck mid-position. I never sleep while traveling anyway, so I wasn't too worried.
Then it began. The tv came on, and a night of horrendous programming started. A kid's show kicked off the 'entertainment' and was quickly followed by 2 movies that as far as we could tell were about prostitution, rape, murder, and general mayhem. The last (ended at midnight) was a karate kid rip-off, but in english. Still didn't watch it. And just so you know, they dub over EVERYTHING in China (I've decided) no matter what the language of the original. So here we're watching a Chinese movie dubbed in Chinese? According to these movies,all women laugh in a pitch high enough to shatter crystal and shriek loud and longly enough to kill meese. Unreal. On top of all that,EVERY movie had fancy kung fu. ALL of them, even the kids' flicks.
On we go. Several stops were made for potty breaks (China is all about the squatter toilets, or troughs, for men and women. No privacy and not much sterility. Keep that in mind. THey were no big deal as I'd decided to keep my consumption to a minimum. I hate being stuck in a vehicle having to wee, especially since the only way to communicate to the driver would be the pee dance. They laugh at me enough here, I don't need to encourage them (seriously, it's just like home. Buying groceries before we got on the bus everyone in the store found me funny. I don't get it!). At 930pm we stopped for dinner at what I thought was a garage (I was paranoid the whole time that the bus would break down. I've heard stories). I know spine was a part of it since I chunked a tooth on a vertebrae. Not bad though. However after 20 minutes on the bus I worried that it would create unsavory conditions in my gut. Don't worry, I was fine. At that point, I stopped almost all consumption. In the end, I had a pastry, that dinner, a small pastry sammich, a small bottle of water (free with a 25-hour bus ride!) and half a nalgene. I am still dehydrated if you are wondering.I'm a damn camel though! But slightly less smelly.
What else...oh! There really was nothing to do on the bus. Thanks to the wailing soundtrack for the movies, talking was impossible. The nice highway did not last long so writing was out. Since our individual lights never worked, reading also became not an option after dark. Thank god for minidiscs!
Sleep, let's discuss that. I've decided that every vehicle in this country is mounted on the wrong type of springs. They haven't figured out that springs are supposed to DAMPEN and ABSORB shocks, not create the aforementioned trampoline condition. Our bus had at least 45 springs. To add to the 'fun', many of the aisle seats (of which mine was one) were also apparently mounted on springs. As soon as I would start to drift off, we'd hit a gnat and my head would bounce 79 times off the back of the seat and the entire chair about turned damn 360s in place. Unreal. I did not sleep much at all. The one time I finally drifted off for 10 minutes I awoke to this scene: dazzling ravines on both sides of the bus, a narrow road, construction, rain and fog. I looked out the front window to see an approx 12 foot wide patch of concrete that we had to drive down to (~6" drop) then back up off of, with no guardrails and mud covering the road. I shat my pants. Literally. Don't worry it wasn't the worst smell on the bus. We made it, and proceeded to drive thru fog for the next 12 days and it was thick! I don't know how the driver saw anything. I don't think he did, his bottle of vodka was nearly empty....
Unlike the rest of this country, garbage cans were present on the bus (no bathrooms, I forgot to mention). These were small cardboard boxes that acted not only as garbage cans but also as spitoons. Don't step in them leaving the bus.
Shizzy dimples on my bum make it hard to leave behind the memories of that day in guantanamo bay brazil and the piglets i left behind
After these 25 hours of 'fun' (I am still rattling. My brain is bruised from the shaking seat and my stomach is churning still.) we arrived in the wrong town. I guess our ticket to Chengdu got us within one town. Back on another bus (STILL RATTLING!!) and then some wandering to our hotel. Whew!
Dinner was good. We had pig's feet. Well, I did. Rachelle refused to chase the buggers around. See, here in China you eat what you can catch. It's ok though, they have muzzles. Rachelle said the texture got to her, I think she's was scared by the massive sows.
It was a bit chewy
Love and smookums kisses to you all
I am tired