Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Photo 1: Chinese workers by the roadside. Photo 2: The VW Touareg we stopped, our black unicorn...

Initially only taxis seemed to be using that road. Eventually, a Cherry QQ, a miniature car of local design, stopped for us and took us to a place called Yingjing, through forested hills that ended up in terraced valleys. Farmers with conic hats worked hard in the ricefields. Mist seemed to be a 24 hours resident of those hills, and we could never afford to see further than 100 meters ahead. When night fell, after having tried in vain to spark the hospitality of a couple of hamlets, we decided to camp just next to the road. We set off to explore the area a little bit to find a suitable terrain for our camping ground, and we found that somebody had already set some sort of tent made with stitched potatoe bags. Inside this unusual tent, a perfectly clean bed awaited its mysteryous inhabitant. There was even a packet of peanuts under the pillow. And that was as far as we dared to investigate. We smoked a cigarette in the dark, trying to guess who on Earth could live there. We finally went to sleep. In the middle of the night, a man, and a woman carrying a crying baby entered the odd tent. Still wondering.

On the second day hitch-hiking results improved a lot. We stopped a Mitsubishi Pajero whose driver invited us for lunch and drop us off in a place called Hanyuan. There, fingers crossed, we looked at the card of the saint that Pablo had met in the mountains of Yaan, and in 10 minutes a VW Touareg 4WD was still next to us. That was not a car, but an unicorn! In that bolid we reached Shimian, where Pablo, who had less days left in his visa, took a bus to Kunming. As far as I was concerned, I was still cleaning the sin of having taken a plane from Lhasa to Chengdu, so I continued my pilgrimage on foot, postrating every three steps, and asking forgiveness to the God of Roadsides...

Being alone, the hitch hiking became really smooth, and soon I was overtaking the Kunming bound bus Pablo was in. In spite of this optimistic prospect, I did not rejected the free train ride that I was offered by the police in a town where I arrived by night. People there could really understand I was tryingto hitch-hike! So the free train payed by the cops landed me in Kunming, on the morning of the third day.


bikaran said...

hey man
just I had a look on you rwebpage and hope see you again on the road

dave said...

sorry i didn't get to see you again in Chiang Mai. i was in nepal with my friend which was awesome and i'm back in town now.
keep safe and have fun out there amigo.