Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Road to Sichuan

It's 7am. I'm sitting on a bus that was supposed to leave at 6:30. The bus is full of mostly Tibetan people who haven't showered for god knows how long and all smell like freshly pressed yak butter. Half the people on the bus use the Chinese first come first sat rule, the other strictly going by the sit in the number seat your given. Chaos of stupidity rules supreme here. It's pretty cold, about 3 degrees Celsius, and we have a 10 hour ride ahead of us. Did I mention I lost one of the ear pieces for my headphones? This means no music to block out the incessant chorus of lugies being prepared to be hocked, and then shortly after hocked (usually on the floor) and open mouth coughing. A germaphobes worst nightmare. And thus begins my trip from Litang to Kangding.

Well at least I have the back row all to myself. Got to find the positive, right?

Shortly into the ride I try lying down to take a nap however am jotted awake as my body goes flying into the air. This road is bumpy, to say the least. our bus seems to rattle as it rolls anything, it could be a tiny pebble and the bus would go this way our that.
Pretty soon we make an unscheduled stop to pick up so more people standing by the side of the road. Sitting next to me are two very dirty Tibetan kids and their equally dirt covered mothers. So much for the positive.

Soon the bus is prowling over snowy mountainous roads and fishtailing this way and that. For those unaware of the roads on the Sichuan-Tibet highway picture small thin roads 1.5 car lengths wide that hug the mountain on one side and the other side peaks down the sloping side of the mountain. Needless to say peaking down the side of a mountain (and it's far drop to a bottom you can't even see) is very scary when sliding out of control. At one point an oncoming truck not too far from where we were slid on the ice and fell off the road, coming close to going over the edge. This was, by far, the scariest ride of my life. Thoughts of emailing my family from the bus to say, "I know I'm not going to make it and I love you all." definitely crossed through my head.

We made it through the ice unscathed but of course it isn't going to get better today. Next we hit the worst bumpy road I've ever hit. Flying a foot off my seat (truth, not journalistic coloring here) at points, my tailbone in pains worse than I'd imagine a dropped soap in jail would bring.

I wasn't able to photograph much of the natural beauty of the mountains and other landscapes we passed as I was either hanging on for dear life or holding the little boy next to me down so he wouldn't fly into the ceiling or over the seat.

This post will have more pictures that I'm not describing because it's more about the nature and scenery than anything else. The pictures were taken over a few different days on different stretches of the road. You'll notice that much of the scenery is different as it was constantly morphing into different landscapes.

Pit stop for bathroom and to clean the bus.

stream and a mountain in the background

a ramshackled tibetan building of sorts

meats hanging to dry

we stopped to put on the tire chains.

tires are chained up

This drink looked really COOL!!! it was half orange and half milky type drink. each in separate half containers but when you drank it would mix in your mouth. Great idea, but nasty taste.

these prayer wheels were set atop running water which would cause them to always be spinning as the water was flowing through.

welcome to the land of the lost

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