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Zhongdian (Shangrila) (Summer Break)

Thursday, 25th August 2005

After breakfast we were on the 7:30am bus, not 8:30. The return trip took only three hours to Deqin. The bus slipped around all over the road no matter how slow the driver went. When we arrived in Deqin we sat for a feed of Joutsa and went for a town walk. We caught the 12:00 bus to Zhongdian which, due to poor weather conditions took nine hours.

A couple of hours into the journey our bus came within centimetres of being pushed over the edge. A truck coming in the opposite direction did not move over enough for us. The driver realised as the very last moment and we both put the brakes on and began to slide. We slid the wrong way which was towards the edge. The truck finally came to a halt with its blinkers a couple of centimetres from the side of the bus. We where only a few centimetres from going over the edge. The Chinese girl sitting next to me, whom I named Snack bar Jenny due to her constant eating burst into tears and an old Chinese couple sitting up the back began chanting something in either Chinese or a Naxi dialect. I held Snack bar Jenny until she stopped crying and looked down the mountain side. It was a long way down to the Mekong River. I thought of the broken bus bodies I saw yesterday. We then continued on our journey with Snack bar Jenny eating beside me.

When we arrived in Zhongdian it was freezing cold. Snack bar Jenny and I headed to the Tibetan Hotel/Cafe. Mama (yes, this is her actual English name) was happy to see me and got a cold 'Dali Snow Beer' for me and a ginger and honey tea for Jenny. She also reminded me to eat and drink some warm water through out the evening.

Friday, 26th August 2005

Rose for breakfast and chatted to some American Students along with a couple of Canadians. I then packed my bag and headed to the bus station. There wasn't a bus until nearing evening so I purchased my ticket and headed back to the Tibetan Café to spend the day reading and talking. I threw in a couple of hours walking around town but it was too cold and miserable and I spent most of it indoors.

After dinner I headed back to the bus station and boarded the bus. The trip was typical and sleepless. We stopped and started a billion times, drove at a thousand miles an hour, a million cigarettes were smoked by all and couple MP3's players were keeping not only their owners awake but everyone else as well. I wonder sometimes if on sleeper buses, if the driver sees you boarding the bus with headphones on, does he confiscate them and give them back upon leaving.

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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