DAY 48 ‘Trevor’ drove me through Pu’er and out of his way to a stretch of road with a throng of trucks lined up on the side of the motorway.Trevor then went about approaching all the drivers to get me a lift to Kunming – 600km north. 6am After shards of sleep and a very […]
'Trevor' drove me through Pu'er and out of his way to a stretch of road with a throng of trucks lined up on the side of the motorway.Trevor then went about approaching all the drivers to get me a lift to Kunming - 600km north.
After shards of sleep and a very bumpy ride I was dropped off at a bus station in Kunming. This city is massive, bustling with hordes of people, cars, mopeds, taxis and smog. I wanted away pronto. After enormous confusion despite my maps, translated letters of intent, drawings, charades and several calls to ‘taxi mans’ English speaking friends - "please to meet you", "please to meet you", "please to meet you" was all that was exchanged, I eventually had the Thumb out on the road north at around 8am.
30 mins later the Police arrive, far from threatening they were just bamboozled by the sight of me...they wanted to help. Again the No flight! No train! No bus ! scenario played out, but on a different level to everywhere else in South East Asia. ‘As simple the notions we were trying to communicate, as tenfold the complexity which filled the void of miscommunication’. I am certainly an English man in China here.
I drove off with the officers only because I thought they would get upset at the thought of leaving me in the 'supposed' lurch. I thought they were taking me to a better Petrol Station when the car came to a sudden halt... they stop a white man on a Moped, the first I have seen in China. A kiwi fella called Sam came to the rescue. We were in the University part of the City. All was resolved due to Sam's superb Mandarin... once the void of miscommunication had been siphoned of its complexity, belly laughs ensue as well as disbelief at the Thumbs challenge. Sam took me under his wing, treat me to a pizza hut, got me a new sim card (it only works within China) offered me a very insightful view of China then put me in his mates car to the perfect hitching point on the outskirts of town. Sam's Chinese pal stayed with me stopping every car in its tracks till i got a lift.
A 30km lift off a quiet fella to the next junction - a mother and her baby son then pick me up...another 2 hrs of very frustrating miscommunication ensued, I later got a letter she wrote me translated, she wanted to pay for a flight to the next city I was aiming for- 'Cheng Du' I couldn't begin to tell you what she thought I was doing. I jump on another short lift and find myself deep in the country side. With very few vehicles coming from either direction, of coarse it began to rain heavily... water proofs out! as I stood their getting soaked. A little mini van loaded with grapes came to the rescue. The following 2 hr drive on a concrete stilted motorway hugging the side of a valley where a series of massive dams weaved their way inbetween a mountain range was breathtaking. Trevor then dropped me off at a remote petrol station. For the first time since I left England I feel cold... off with the flip flops and on with the shoes. No sooner had I tied my shoe laces when a fancy 4x4 with two trendy fellas inside pulls in. Great guys...neither of us understood a word each other were saying yet we had a laugh, they made me play my guitar most of the way.
I was dropped off in the centre of 'Zhaotong' around 10pm. I could not make head nor tail of anything, this looked like a small City on the map... it wasn't.I spotted a starry eyed young looking student. Fresh in town also Li Jian spoke enough English for us to arrange halfs on a Hotel room for the night. Li Jian and one of his class mates...'Season' took me out for dinner, this place reminded me of that opening scene out of the movie 'Gremlins', when the dad is In China buying his son the furry Gizmo thing... everything was massively foreign, I recognised little...their is barely any gadget, branding or ordained custom that is familiar to me... I love it.
Li Jian and Season invited me to a party that evening, I was way past tired so declined and made a bee line for bed.