I learn something new this morning. Express Bus I know already, but what about asking, if he'll tell me when we're there? If it's not the final stop. "Qing ni, gaosu wo zai na'er xia" Please you tell me where are? And it works. It IS not the final stop as I'd thought it was. I'm not totally surprised, it's the one where we landed yesterday, even I HAD thought it would be south of town.
A newspaper man want to sell me a paper, but I won't laern much from that I guess? Can I take a photo? I can. Just after he surprises me by bringing up a camera phone wanting to take a photo of me. He can't be hired on a commission basis? This leads to more photos with a younger chinese couple - with papers that I hold.
This bus is the biggest I've been on until now. You walk a stair and sit upstairs. Modern stadard with toilet, but like yesterday the toilet seems to be closed. The drivers don't want to clean it probably? So we stick to the usual toilet stops. I think there's even lunch included in this ticket. I sit almost in front and ther are SAFETY BELTS!
We also make a stop at the bus station south of town. Why don't we just go! We lost half an hour there. So, he turns on the engine, it's 11.30 and I don't know exactly how long it takes. 7 hours?
At some time in the heights before we get down to the valley where Dali and the big lake is, there is rather flat area, and I have just been wondering why there are no fields there, when I see them - military tanks, row after row, flanked by row after row of military tents - it's my first time to see the chinese army. The prints of caterpillar treads tells about an area for excercising. That close to a public road?
When we get to the northern end of the lake we have a lunch break. The driver tells us where to go. This is not completely new to me, but last time I had Sophia to lean on. We're given two bowls to drinkt tea from and to eat from. You rinse them with the tea. Some throws out the tea afterwards, others drink it. We have each one small plate with a dish, and the rest is common dishes on the turntable. A friendly gentleman sees that I'm given a spoon - but I stick to the sticks. I don't think it was because he found my technic too lousy. Last time I was given credit from a fellow passenger.
It's a long trip. We don't get on the express way till after Dali and even there are stops in traffic. Now it's 18.30 and we've got 140 km left. Right now we're at a gas station to tank diesel. It'll be at least 20 and I wonder which bus station we'll end at? The one where bus no.82 leaves from hopefully? And it might take an hour from there. Hmm.
Now at 19.45 the darkness lower on the red earth of Yunnan. The driver has done
his best lately. Every other express bus has been overtaken. Only one minor stop
where a crashed car was standing across in the mid lane. The only accident I've
seen in chinese express ways until now. There can only be 30 km left.
I feel from the uneasiness that we're almost there and see a bus no.82 on a corner at the same time. So when I've had my backpack I head directly at the crossing completely insensitive to all offers regarding: hotel, taxi and probably worse things. There are MANY people at the stop.
When I get closer to the front door of the bus two men succeed pushing their way from aside, but then I get hold of a handdle and block the way for possible successors. I find a strategic position at the small seats for one person not too far from the door. A little later a man complains, he gets hit in the head by my backpack, I apologize the best I can and put an reassuring hand on his shoulder - it won't happen again.
The bus is full. To the rim. Nobody gets on for the next stops, but I've tried that too.
The bus goes on and on. "Ren Min West Lu" doesn't mean anything to me, but when we get to "Dong Feng Lu" I know we're closing in. I know that name. In the end the bus doesn't go further - without having reached Jin Bi Lu as I'd expected. It's nice to know one's city. I have to orientate a little, then I see the chinese "gate", that's the walking street I have to take.
And I'm there. There's a dormitory bed for tonight and a double room in the morning. Now I'm going to eat supper - and a draught beer - it's cold. It's 22.