DAY 55 The Thumb rose to experience another rigmarole of mind bending communication. I don’t know where this ‘taxi gal’ thought I wanted to go but her car got flooded on the way…we were cruising the back roads of the city when we encountered a small tunnel, victim to a burst water main, water levels […]
The Thumb rose to experience another rigmarole of mind bending communication. I don't know where this 'taxi gal' thought I wanted to go but her car got flooded on the way...we were cruising the back roads of the city when we encountered a small tunnel, victim to a burst water main, water levels were touching a metre at it's highest, the tractors and Land rovers made it through OK, against my advice 'taxi gal' calmly drove slowly into it, stalled and just stayed their... I brought the obvious streaming of water through the door's to her attention... a minute later in a very unflapped manner she turned the engine on...steam filled the tunnel. She got us out and we both cleaned the taxi for an hour. Her 'Brother the translator' was then brought into the fold... after a visit to the university to find someone who could really speak English the Thumb was eventually out around 9am.
My destination is Urumqi 1600km west where I have to get my visa for Kazakhstan... I decide I am gonna non stop it due to the route 1 nature of this road and lack of massive cities along it.
The sun was out, it was a beautiful day, I was leaning against a bollard on the slip road to the Highway. 20 minutes of the Thumb being held aloft conjured a flash Discovery Land Rover. 2 China men and a China Woman pull up. Many peeps just stop to look at me...thats what I thought this was. A flurry of pointing and map wrestling 10 minutes into the journey lead me to then discover the 'Discovery' was going the full 1600km to Urumqi... the 'dream lift' had arrived and the driver was doing a steady 110km whilst popping shelled nuts and flicking the good's one after another into his mouth.... Superb! I can just sit back for a day or 2 and cover some serious distance. 30 mins in we pull over on the hard shoulder, some vital fluid was steadily flowing from the bottom of the engine onto the road. Bottom line, the 'Discovery' was going nowhere...Classic!
We lunched with a load of workmen in the cool shade of a huge 'stilted concrete road' building site nearby... I ate another rotten egg under the gaze of 20 builders standing round me expressionless and just staring... the heat was stifling. 6 hours later the pick up truck arrived - are they going to sit in the car on the pick up truck all the way to Urumqi or are they going to head back into the city and fly... what is to be of me and my dream lift? I so wanted the pick up truck to go to Urumqi... of coarse the lack of communication meant i had to sit tight and see what happened,
My 'dream lift' companions had taken a shine to me. I had the camera on them quite a lot and it seemed they were on a road trip themselves. I will never know for sure but I believe they stayed with the truck because they wanted to look after me and get some kicks on the way. We drove constantly, the 2 pick up drivers joined the procession. I can't explain how we had a laugh but we did...the soundness was obvious and 'China woman' had taken a particular shine to me. She was the drivers husband.
During the 6 hour wait myself and the other China man climbed over a few barbed wire fences and went off exploring the surrounding area... after a short while we sought out a tunnel in the distance to seek shade. Their was a surreal moment sitting in this small concrete cattle tunnel in the middle of the Gobi desert, we were scraping words out on the wall to each other... it was like a prisoner of war film, 2 people from completely different cultures yet so alike, completely unable to verbally understand each other... ranting and gesturing in Chinese he wrote 'Zong'... I wrote 'Jong', I didn't have a clue what he was on about... it was futile, we both laughed. He did manage to get across that he had not seen 'drivers wife' smile so much for a long time and that I was the reason. They were a lovely couple and this in turn made the husband happy.
All was splendid.