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kiting, diving, trippin' I ain't never been lost, just confused for a few days - Daniel Boone

This is one of those 'Don't try this at home' situations.

CHINA | Sunday, 11 January 2009 | Views [1443] | Comments [1]

Five guys walk in to a hospital with an empty baijiu (local firewater - 'white wine') bottle and ask for it to be filled with pure alcohol.

Back to the beginning;

We set off from Chang Shan Hao gold mine at around 8:00 AM in -20 or so weather in a vehicle with no internal heating system. This meant that the four Chinese guys and yours truly were blowing our frosty breath over the windows which was freezing up as quick as the identity cards could scrape the ice off the inside of the windscreen for the driver to get us down the 160 km of twisting, icy and busy road to Baotou.

The first 10 ks took a fair while and we got to the first vilage where we got out, pulled fuses, lifted the bonnet, pulled more fuses and finally went inside the local co-op store and bought a bottle of baijiu. This is where I started to think this is going to be a very interesting trip. The bottle wasn't drunk though, it was tipped into a rag/towel and wiped on the inside of the windscreen to keep the windscreen clear. Once the baijiu ran down the screen, got too thin and the glass was dry again the driver was looking straight in to an iced up windscreen once more.

The bottle only got us as far as the next major village where the jovial guy in the front passenger seat (the fumes may have had something to do with his mood by this time) decides to go in to the hospital for the good stuff. I think a litre of pure alcohol cost them about twenty RMB, but it was worth it. It worked a treat.

Then we had a good view out the windscreen of all the trucks, bikes, trikes, people, pushbikes and wedding processions for the next three hours to Baotou.

I've had some memorable travels in this country and this came close to the guy on the tarmac in Jinan airport who, after enjoying a long liquid lunch with his friends, left nobody in any doubt of his state of sobriety. This guy was very vocal on the shuttle bus from the terminal to the plane and then when he got off the bus he thought he'd do the right thing and give the plane the once over. As the sober passenges were lined up to board the plane this guy walks under the wing and gave the landing gear tyres a kick to check their integrity. He got hustled on to the plane very quickly after his pre fight inspection where he was told in no uncertian terms by a young hostess who was built like a whippet (and potentially twice as mean) that he was to sit down and shut up.

The next 50 minutes was boring after he went to sleep, but it was a tyre kicking I won't forget in a hurry.

Tags: china, cold, driving, laughs

 

Comments

1

Hi Gary - love your emails - and your site. You really should retire and just write!! You have a flair - a comedic flair!! How about a photo of this wonderful "we" who seem to go everywhere??

Looking forward to seeing you in November (hopefully). Harry and I had lovely weekend at friend's place at Noosaville (24 degs most of time, few drops o rain) Most of beach has been washed over to NZ and they are pumping sand again but still fabulous. Ae and Pen came for Sat night - don't know wht happened to Russ.

Toodling, love Barb

  barbara howchin Jun 9, 2009 10:04 AM

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