I talk a lot with the guy in the reception while I'm here. He's great. Fairly good english and obliging. When I'm going to leave he asks me if I think it would be a good idea, if they have bicycles themselves. I use the opportunity to advertise for Mix Hostel in Chengdu and their way of doing things. How much influence he's got, I don't know, the manager is she that is the oldest, but only speak a little english. I add that in that case they also have to find some better maps.
I go for the bus stop, where I have to catch 82 to the west bus station. Just when I get there a 82 leaves. Well, they often come two in a row I've seen. And then I stand there waiting. 25 minutes later my three police friends from the other day appears. What a coincidence. I explain with gestures that I've given the pictures I took to the girl, so they WILL get them. Their 73 comes soon after.
I go on waiting. When it's one hour before the bus leaves 3 backpackers arrive. They're also going to Dali. They think it takes an hour to the bus station. One of them has already ticket for the bus like I. We agree on taking a taxi. And succeed in getting one and the driver succeeds in putting 4 big westeners with luggage into the car.
He doesn't go the shortest way but the fastest no doubt. In a little more than half an hour we're at the bus station which costs 23 RMB. I give him 30, he's done well, and have 5 from each of the others. This was my first chinese taxi ride and it was a positive experience.
I sit next to the russian in the bus and we talk for the first hour. I enjoy speaking english with one that speaks maybe even better than I, it can be a little hard sometimes with Sophia.
The express way is terrific for a long time, so I write a bit on the PDA. That's for the first time.
When the road gets poorer I have to stop.
We first pass through broad valleys, but eventually reach some passes that the
trucks crawl over.
After that we go down to a city, Xiaguan or New Dali or just Dali.
We're dropped at the bus station but don't know which one. We have to go to Old Dali, which should be around 12 km to the north.
There are both minibusses and taxis and all will take us there for 60 RMB, but that we find to expensive. The russian guy want us to walk from there then something will show up. Bus no.8 will go to Old Dali, but we don't know how far it is to the railway station from where it leaves.
In the end of the street stands a scooter rickshaw, he'll take us there for 40. A minibus driver interfers. What about 40, I ask him, and he acts as if I'm crazy. In the meantime the rickshaw driver has gone down to 30 and we accept, but is there space enough?
Like a small miracle three big europeans and one smaller are stoved away in the car WITH their voluminous luggage. It must be quite a sight. We leave, the engine complains but succeeds. We haven't got far when he stops. He thinks we have to move things around a bit. What I haven't been able to see is, that one of the russians legs are sticking out - it's maybe not so secure.
Some of the backpacks can lie on the roof, he's got something to tie them with.
And in this way we chug north in direction of Old Dali. It's not
going fast. He tries to save petrol, everytime the road inclines he goes
At some moment it starts raining, but there is a curtain to draw and it helps a little. I'm lucky to be in the lee side.
Then at some other time the engine stops, which you hard can blame it. After several attempts in vain it works for a short time.
I can see the driver leaving walking onward. Two of the others use the opportunity to stretch their legs. He's gone to get petrol and it can't be far because he's back in five minutes. Then we go on and soon after we turn left and the engine chug uphill towards the goal.
We get off and find a city gate. The russian starts walking, that's apparently his kind of tactic. I realize I can ask if this is the southern gate? - zhi ge shi nan men ma? And the old man repeats that that's what it is, so one has to go through to get to the center. I see Friends Guesthouse, that I've decided to stay at is here right as expected, og run after the others to make them turn around and enter the city where the Dali version of "The Hump" is. So here we part, it was fun talking to the russian even he was born in 87 and didn't remember the concrete communism.