Thursday 29.04.10 Dali
Just a few comments on my bathroom before I leave. The sink is placed so a small person like me has to bend forward to wash hands. When I rise again to my full height the mirror - which actually is quite big - cuts off the top of my head. The toilet too is very low. Above the mirror a lamp is mounted - the screws are on their way out of the wall - hopelessly aslant, and it doesn't work. The rack for the towels is coming down too. The plastic bathtub is inclining in a way so that the water accumulate opposite the drain and in the end there is a fan, but that doesn't work either. It might not have been there at all if it wasn't for a very low hum, when it's turned on. But that's how things are... Just for the record: the bed lamps are slanting to make you sick.
I bought my ticket in a very small office. I will be driven down to the main road I've understood. Busses cannot come here. I get there before time after having bought my stamps. At 10 I'm asked to stand ready at the street with my backpack and the woman goes with me down to the main road. We go in a Buick. And a lady is driving... My most slow car ride ever in China. Automatic gear. Even it's probably produced here there's nothing in chinese in the dashboard.
They leave me at a spot where a bus will come to pick me up. One of the smaller ones. When? She writes at the back of my ticket: 10.20 - 30. Ok fine.
Two german girl on rented MTB stop close by to ask somebody if they speak english? No... I ask if I can help? They've planned to ride around the lake it shows. It's 120 km they've been told. Might be. They have a map better than mine but it's still not possible to distiguish asphalt from gravel or dirt. I tell them about my trip yesterday and the road conditions. I think they decide to get on a ferry to the other shore to have a look. A resonable decision I'd say.
I wait. At 10.40 I bring up the ticket where she's written her phone number - and the bus' phone number. I think I'll try her first.
Just when I'm going to call a smaller bus stops at the other side of the road and I reckon it must be the one. He don't want to go here and stop. He's late already. I have the seat next to the driver, very fine. That's because of all I paid maybe? And I'm maybe also a passenger that goes "right into the pocket"?
I have realized long ago, that I didn't get my small plastic bag from "Illum" (a danish warehouse) with all the food stuff, with me from the office. Damn! But no disaster. I'll probably miss the bag the most - nice strong quality.
It's a pretty long ride, turns out to be 180 km. We go along the lake like I did yesterday, but soon after we reach the end, the climbing begins and soon the valley is hundreds of meters below us. We go up there for a long time, but reach new flat areas at some time. There are milestones and since the first 67 km to Lijiang I keep track of how much we've got left.
Right after I boarded the bus almost torpedoes into a car, which from standing still in the right side of the road suddenly decides to turn left. The driver has to both break and at the same time escape to the left. But he's a fine driver. It's my impression that he'd rather go into an oncoming car than hit a cyclist or a pedestrian.
We end at a bus station, but I don't know exactly if it is in the map in Lonely Planet.
A couple that was in the bus too I assume are japanese - I don't know why. They
wear sunglasses so might have been, but they turn up to be mexicans and very
nice like so many westeners here. They also want to find "Garden Inn", like me -
shear luck. We deccide to split a minibus. The driver wants 20, which is
probably a bit too much, but not THAT much. We get there and they don't have a
single room for tonight, so now I'm going to sleep in dormitory for the first
time this time.
There I meet with Pete, who is scottish. We have a long chat about everything.
I go out to orientate in this charming city and find a supermarket to shop food.
When I'm back I meet an austrian couple, they're very nice too, so time goes by, now it's 20.30 and I'm leaving for supper.
I don't want to go too far, so I try the first that looks like a restaurant. All chinese. The dishes are shown in signs hanging on the wall. I haven't a clue, but it turns out to be a fun andd positive experience nevertheless. They do understand I want fried rice even I don't pronounce it properly. Lacking words I started out with the classic: Gong Bao JI Ding, but they don't have chicken today. Just then they bring a take away dinner for a lady - fried rice - ah, the pronounciation was like THAT.
The guy comes and offers me a smoke. I'm been offered at least 1000 cigarettes in China, so I know ONE sentence: I don't smoke, thank you.
For once I have black tea and not green tea with the dinner.
When it comes there's also a bowl of soup - "free, house". The fried rice is ALMOST too spicy, but perfect in any other way - and it contains meet too!
The cook, a girl who speak some more english words, steps down and want to know from where I am? Aha, Danmai, and she even know about 'Antusheng', a chinese way of pronouncing "Andersen", H.C. - Hans Christian, earlier known all over China, but the young people of today don't know him.
That was that, I wonder how much it is?
Only 10 RMB. In "The Hump" it was 16 and mot so good.
When I get back I come to talk to Pete again and we end up talking until 23.30. He's been travelling for 8 months and has been in San Pedro in Chile and La Paz and have riden down the "Worlds Most Dangerous Road" and also been in Macchu Pichu, so we have lots of common stuff to talk about.
But we also talk about languages, education and lots of other things.