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travelling with laughter

Being handed a newborn was a magical moment, it irradicated the very long tiring day.

CHINA | Monday, 27 August 2007 | Views [1061]

Our last day in Yuanyang was brilliant although the weather was a bit dire.....rain rain rain.

The amazing thing though in spite of that were the clouds...they were literally on top of us, it was a very strange sight...when you could see! So Ant and i decided to go for a wander down a dirt track through the clouds, with no aim in sight through small rural villages, kids playing in the street making pottery with clay/mud and one kid had a piece of string with a pigeon attached on the end.....they are very creative with their toys! Not sure the pigeon was having as much fun?

The views were amazing, i cant actually put it into words....basically if you looked in a china book and looked up rice terraces...we were there! Lots of locals farming in the terraces and herding the water buffalo. I did get a little stuck at one point trying to get past the huge beasts as they just stopped and stared at me, they were extremly unnerving....so i sent Ant through first! It worked....probally his bright blue crocs!
We came to a dead end in a village and so on our way back we wandered around a different route and this lady invited us into her home/shop. We ended up getting some strange ice-cream and then three little boys came in so we got them one too. So we are all sat there in silence munching on our ice-creams ,just lots of nodding and smiling in communication. The kids were great, shy at first but very inquisitive and they were soon doing 'high fives' with me and then they put their hands under their armpits and started doing the farting noise!!! It was very funny! When we left we had a group photo, i put my arm around the lady of the house (wasn't sure what to do so i just though i would do as i would at home) and to my delight she did the same. It was a great afternoon.
The next day we went to the bus station bright and early to get our bus to Jinghong (as we were told this was possible the day before). Firstly we were expertly ignored and then told 'no' but with a little persistence and help from kind strangers we established that we would actually have to get three buses....1st-Luchun(4hrs),2nd-Jiancheng(5 hrs & probably stay) 3rd-jinghong(8 hrs)! So full steam ahead......
The drive was actually quite a high light once you got over people spitting in and out of the bus, people smoking on the bus....but then i can't really complain about that one as i thought 'when in rome......' and the noise of eating! Seriously SHUT YOUR MOUTH!!!!!!The landscape kept us captive though as ant cheeserly described it as 'the clouds over the mountains are like the veil over a beautiful bride' - i know....finger down the throat time! And they had Madonna playing, just the one track but it was good to have a quick sing-a-long!
Then we came to a complete stand still in a queue of vans and buses in the pouring rain. I was desperate for the loo so armed with anorak and the lonely planet guide, finger firmly stuck on the words 'where is the toilet' headed to the nearest house. I got a row of blank faces and "no"...helpful....back to the bus and a lady pointed down the street, so off to try again. Stopped yet another lady and she signalled for me to follow her, through mud, over planks of wood, over rocks (this was the cause of the hold-up..a landslide of boulders)......mud  splattering up the backs of my legs and as if it couldnt get any worse my flip flop came off in ankle high orange mud as i dodged a truck! Made it to the loo though and back to the bus to wait for a further annoying hour to get moving....

Finally hit the road again through the winding mountains for about thirty minutes only to stop again......our driver tried to push past them and then had to reverse all the way back....but he had perserverance and ploughed on ahead for a second time. Ant got off the bus to get some crisps and at one point i did think we were going to leave him behind as the bus started moving again.....then everyone started hurrying off....i had no idea what was going on....So i picked up all of our stuff and followed. Ant and i had to walk-trot (because the bus was coming behind us) through a really muddy path with rocks falling down at the side of us....slight landslide would be my guess!!!!! Then rush onto the bus again and tootle on! We had the great pleasure of entertainment for the next half an hour courtesy of a chinese guy singing and imitating a guitar....'interesting'!!
We made it to Luchun (hooray) and then got kindly put on another bus, just enough time for a loo trip (but still no food))....and we were headed for Jiancheng. Quick police stop where they only checked our passports (apparently according to the Lonely planet bible its for our safety..)and on again, quick stop for food...peanuts and biscuits and two hard boiled eggs each. Tasty hey...i can tell you'll all be jealous!

Then at 8pm we stopped AGAIN......this time was a little more tricky! A massive landslide which had blocked the road completely! Now what?!? Herded off the bus in the dark with our backpacks on, with the aid of a feeble torch light and the bus driver jabbering on in chinese-obviously trying to explain what was going on. We had to walk across this v v v muddy path and then climb over concrete walls! A little hard with a backpack on and at one point i was crawling along the wall....! Once over the two hurdles we were then greeted by a soft top truck...apparently the whole bus was in there and we were to get in too....I dont think so as it seemed very chock-a-block and guys were hanging off the back. Luckily we were treated like royalty, we dumped our bags in the back and we told to sit up front. Thankgod for that...though then we did have to endure chinese music tv but it was a small price to pay. I did feel so bad about all the people squashed in the back espeically as there was a mum with her month old baby somewhere in there! We safely arrived in a place and all got off.....though we had no idea if we were in Jiancheng....no signs, nothing and not one person spoke ANY english (thank goodness i was with Ant). As we got off we went around to the back of the truck to get our bags, we helped to unload stuff and help people down. Then this lady looked at Ant and just handed him her tiny baby newborn, he looked a little gobsmacked as he held this tiny little baby. The mum then passed him to me and i was to place him on her back so she could wrap the fabric around him as to carry him. It really was such a special moment and such a priveledge to be trusted like this AND we are FOREIGNERS!

A kind random lady then lead us to a hotel room to sleep and the ordeal was over! Managed to get food by pointing and it was tasty, except some bbq meat which a) v v v spicy and b) didn't know what it was..beef?dog? But we filled our tummies and all was good. It was such a tiring weird day but such an adventure and with lots of laughing we made it through....and Ant and i are still speaking!!!Amazing!
 The next day we packed up and went to the bus station to finally go to jinghong. Again another obstacle......there was only one bus and we had missed it by a mere 6 hours as it left at 6.30 am......damn damn damn! I was not v amused! So we booked it....to be on the safe side. So Ant and a very grumpy me went back to our hotel.....to make my mood exceptionally good a guy cleaning his car with a hose of freezing water managed to get me too....THANKS! We spent the day in the mountains walking around, watching butterflies and aggravating the frogs and of course admiring the views! Had ice-cream and chilled on the benches in the main street and i think we were most peoples tourist attraction for the day!....
Today we got up early and made it on our bus, my life saver was a flask of coffee and the ipod! We had front row seats of the precarious bus and lots of leg room....fab...or so we thought! Ant was sat by the window and i had the aisle seat. About an hour into the journry our bus driver picked up loads of randoms (a bit of extra cash i think) and we were soon surrounded! There went the legroom! Another hour further on i needed the call of nature......luckily we stopped for yet another landslide and lots of people got off to wee too. So i jumped off and walked up the road trying to find a 'private' spot, all sorted out i walked back to the bus and then had to break into a run as the indicator was on and i thought it was going to leave me...panic stations! I was ok though.

Ant and i swapped seats when he jumped off (same reason incase you were wondering) and i got to enjoy the clean air blowing into my face....nice. Until.......now named 'vomit man' proceeded to LEAN over me and vomit down the bus very noisely - in case i hadn't gathered what was going on! This didn't happen once but several times........there always seem to be a drama on these damn buses!

Ant and i shared a whole watermelon for lunch...thanks to my free knife i had previously received! A little bit tricky to cut on a moving bus and a little messy but delicious once achieved! We did have a lunch stop but it all looked v v dodgy so decided to skip on that one and just munch our way through yet another box of biscuits!
So here we are in Jinghong ,10 hrs later on a supposedly 8 hr journey....and people speak ENGLISH and we have seen other FOREIGNERS ....yes!!!!! We looked up in 'our travelling bible' a hostel and have booked in for the night....The place is hilarious! Its behind a building site (in progress) and it consists of about 8 rickerty rackerty bamboo huts! Its so awful its great! A bit musty but 'authentic'. Scabby shower and loos but it will do for the night!
 Still loving China regardless.....its all about 'growing as a person' and embracing the challenges!

Tags: Laughter


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