Friday 07.05.10 The train for Chengdu
Just as I sat there lonely waiting, who steps into the room? Markus and Bernadette, my new austrian friends. We had discussed the possibility of meeting again in Chengdu, but this is a total surprise. When we were together last Markus talked about that there's a meaning for everything - if so this must be the meaning of me not getting on the train yesterday?
We exchange experiences and eat together before we leave to take a taxi to the station together.
Has he understood we want to go to the station? I break my new promise by not showing him the map immidiately. I do after a couple of hundred meters. He understands. Nevertheless he goes all the way down to the big street where he's not allowed to turn left, so now we have to go one kilometer in the wrong direction, before he can make a u-turn. We get on right track. When he gets to Beijing Road I point, we going THAT way. It's even more blocked than yesterday. Maybe he's not allowed to go here. There's only room for a car, so when we meet a oncoming bicycle it takes about 2 minutes before we've passed.
We get to the station and people are already bording the train. They're in wagon 8 and I'm in 10, that's not so far.
It's soon dark. I go to their wagon and sit for some time before going to sleep.
When I return to my berth one of the staff is waiting for me. He points at my bag and the shopping bag that I've put on top of the bed clothes in one end. I look at them stupidly, take the bag and say "Yes, it's my stuff". When I still haven't got the meaning, he snarls angrily: "Please take your luggage". Now I understand - it shouldn't be there, so I put them apologising under the bed. The bed clothes also seems cleaner than last time, it probably just had a wash. He's maybe been waiting the half an hour I've been gone, as he was almost off limit. I haven't experienced anything like this before - to me.
I have a nice sleep though with interruptions.
A big part of this train ride is during the daytime. I go to see my friends,
they're watching videos from Shilin, The Stone Forrest, with their neighbors.
I've been there too, so I can join the talk of "Er shi ma", the legendary
chinese woman. But besides this the lack of understanding is obvious. They're
from Kashgar, which is one of the most remote towns seen from Beijing. Close to
the border of Uzbekistan. He's a policeman, so afterwards I come to think, that
maybe he too has been following the course in Kunming, like the three from Gansu.
He's a superior I guess, because he's brought his wife and also has a
I don't remember clearly what, but I talk to Markus for most of the rest of the way. We agree on most issues even he's austrian and 28 and I'm dane and 61. I'm actually older than his father, he tells me later.
They too are going to stay at Mix Hostel and has asked for "free pick up from the station", so I get the idea, that I might be able to go with them, if there aree not lots of others to be picked up.
In the end we find out that they're not going to stay at Mix, but at the new one he's opened called Lazy Bones, so they go in their own taxi.
I didn't understand how they could have a room with private bathroom. I thought there was no such thing at Mix. And I was right.
When I enter the hostel my scottish friend Pete is there, but we also agreed that we might meet here.
My single room is not vacant so I get a twin room, which means with a double bed. It takes up most of the room. This room is one of the only ones on this floor I haven't slept in until now. Room 212.
I make a small tour on my bike. Just some streets where I never was before.
Markus and Bernie show up at 17.30. There's going to be a "Dumpling
Party", where each makes his own dumplings.
We're hungry, so we eat here and are just about finished when the dumpling production starts.
The dough is prepared, it just has to be rolled out and there are two kinds of stuffing to put in.
I learn a way of folding empenadas, that M. and B. learned in Argentine. It goes for dumplings as well even they don't look chinese.
There aree lots - we shouldn't have had dinner.
We agree to go to the opera tomorrow, or what kind of show it is. The Sichuan Opera they call it here. According to the description it's a mixture of acrobats, clowns and opera. It costs 100 RMB and the taxi is included.
Just as I enter my room a sms from Jan Larsen ticks in. The driver has just phoned him to tell that the road will be closed in our direction on monday and Jan is tied up the other days.
Hmm. This is China. Can it really be?
Fortunately I have my own sources, so I send a sms to the english teacher in Maoxian.
Five minutes later I get the answer. Unfortunately it's true. Sunday and Tuesday are allright, but monday - sorry.
Hmm. So I'll have to change my programme to make it possible - but I can do that. Let's see what he says tomorrow, he'll call me then.