It is an uneasy night. The train is rocking and rolling and moaning and humming and squeaking all through the night.
At 1.30 I have a feeling it`s almost dawn, so it is a long night.
At last some activity from my neighbors. It`s hardly dawn here at 5.30, but according to the schedule, we should arrive at 6.18. I sit by the window and look out. Intoxicating fertile landscapes. Misty blue mountains on a foreground of long edged hills draped in green. I must mainly imagine the green colour in this dim light. A new variation of Sichuan landscape.
The lady comes and change the plastic card back into a ticket. So it won`t be long. I go to pour some water in my face. When I come back I hear a wellknown sentence: "Xia yu le". Yes, apparently. In the growing light you see that the surface of the road is wet.
When one of my fellow passengers shouts in his mobile phone, I learn a new expression: "Ni shou shen`me?", directly: you speak what? Or in my words: What did you say? - Pardon?
I don`t know if it`s Chongqing North or Chongqing Central we will arrive at. I bring up the knife with the compas. We`re moving towards south east and later direct east. So my guess is that we have gone north west around the city and now are heading for Chongqing Central. That`ll be perfect. I can take a taxi, I know the direction and it`s not more than 2-3 km.
I arrive at Tinas Hostel a quarter to seven. Everyone`s asleep. The guy in the reception opens his eyes, but as I don`t speak, he sleeps on.
This is Chongqing - nothing is horisontal for long - then there`ll be stairs. In this house too. Very charming. I quickly locates Tinas Garden, a shielded terrasse. I find a sink and hot water for my tea and soon I`m cutting a banana, an apple and an orange for the mysli. It starts raining again and here I`m sitting in thye rain enjoying the morning. This drumming of the rain gives a feeling of a cottage in summer.
Now it`s almost 8, so someone ought to be awake?
The girl in the reception is friendly and speaks good english. They have many
kinds of rooms, but when she offers 20 in discount for a single room with
private bathroom AND aircon, so I get it for 90 RMB I accept. I liked this place
from the moment I stepped in. The room is perfect: a small table and a chair so
I can write and with a shelf too. There`s also a room under the TV and a small
table at the bed. Big tiles on the floor, electrical kettle and a shelf for
hats! The best room for the prize in China.
When I`m out to ask for train, busses, metro aso. A guy enters the reception saying: "Are you from Denmark? The one with the bicycle?"
I`m a little confused. Am I wellknown in all of China? I feel I know he in some way. "I worked at the Mix Hostel..." and now I recognize him. I don`t remember his name but the voice is right. And suddenly we`re almost family and I have to tell about then and now.
I go out to find the supermarket and return 4 hours later, but WITH my shopping. After having it located I went on towards the center chasing Metropolitan Tower, where the danish consulate is.
A danish/chinese girl helped me trying to get in touch with the school in Maoxian and the english teacher. She`s not here any more, but has moved to Shanghai. Her substitute I also know from emailing and she`s just now out of town too, but there`s still another young dane here with a vietnamese sounding name. He`s the one I meet when I`m let into the consulate on the 31th floor.
His danish language is perfect, but he has both vietnamese (the parents) and chinese (the grandparents) ancestors. He`ll be here still 1 1/2 months before he goes back to continue his studies - mandarin and chinese culture.
I thought I`d just say hello, but Hans Halskov is not so busy today, so they invite me for lunch right away. I don`t even notice exactly where we go, just that we go up high. The restaurant slowly turns while we`re sitting there eating. It`s obvious they know the place. I have to tell and I`ve lots to tell now it`s in danish. It`s the first time for so long. So I havn`t time to ENJOY the meal completely. It`s all delicious. Especially a dish with eggplant - divine.
Hans has been in Yingxiu with the ambassador on the oneyear day and he offers his help regarding my book. He has also had another daughter since last time, she`s now 16 months and all the girls speak to her in chinese while he speaks danish. So she`ll learn, she will!
When I`m back into the street, I`m a bit confused. We part at the Metropolitan Tower and Hans gives me a badge from the embassy. 60 years it says on a red background because of the 60-year old diplomatic cooperation between Denmark and China. In the start of 1950 Denmark and Sweden as some of the first countries recognized China.
I`m so happy about it.
I walk in the wrong direction. There was a corner with a gigantic
picture probably of Chongqing when the newest skyscapers have been
finished. I use it to determine the direction. It`s not until later I
take a look at it. But it`s not this picture!
It turns out that it was so big that it is on two corners - and between. So now I find the right corner - and there`re no problems.
I want to buy a ticket for the train tha day after tomorrow. There is a fast train that only takes 2 hours. Unfortunately it leaves from Chongqing North, but that doesn`t matter. There are ticket offices (those that just charge 5 RMB) near the monument. That`s as close as she can get. I get a noten with the name for such an office written in chinese. It`s not that easy. Many are tourists themselves. In the end after yet another failure someone says: "Can I help you?" It`s a girl with her father and some classmates too. There is a loud discussion, they do not agree, but they have to accompany me there, that`s for sure. We stop. The daughter goes to ask, yes it`s possible. I think it`s a travel company but they have one counter for train tickets. I could have managed the rest on my own, but the girls want to. I get my ticket and wave goodbye to the family, now there`s also a mother it seems, I didn`t see her before.
I drift around looking for Chao Tian Men where my Yangtze Cruise started (by bus) two years ago. I reach a place where there`s a view to the Jialing River. Has the opera been finished? Something very strange are there in front of my eyes. It looks like a somewhat misdrawn picture of a ferry seen from the side. Merely straight lines and strange angles.
I find the square. Ah, from here it looks more interesting, but nice?
A westener comes smiling against me and tells me that now he`s not the only white man here. When I answer, he asks if new maybe should speak danish? A musical ear. Not many can tell I`m danish.
He`s from Romania, a political refugee in Denmark. Later an economic refugee in Germany. We talk for a long time in the square. It starts raining and when everybody wants to sell us umbrellas, we bring out the equipment. He has a thin plastic bathing cap toput on his head and I have my umbrella from Maoxian. I sensed the possibility of rain and brought it. Now it`s useful. We end up going by bus together. When we`ve almost reached my hostel it takes a wrong turn and I leave after first having shaken hands on a cheerful meeting. Maybe we`ll meet in Chengdu?
The road doesn`t trick me. There are some stairs here, they have to end down my road, so I don`t have to go back - quite right!
Now I hope the kitchen is still open. It`s 18.55?