Jul 24 2009

Ba Bye will take over the world

There is no point learning how to say goodbye, zai jian, cheerio, adieu, see you anon, au revoir, auf wiedersehen or see ya. Just know how to adapt ba bye to whatever situation, it is sweeping the world. This is not ba bye, there are a few more posts to come before I get back. Tonight however I am reunited with my laptop after a month so I wanted to share this thought. Ba bye – see you tomorrow (just arrived in Shanghai 24 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 23 2009

This bit’s all buses

So, Lijiang is as I left it – packed with tourists. I find the Carnation Inn again and I’m met with smiles and a warm welcome from the family there. I repack my rucsac and I can'[t quite believe just how full it is again. Mr Carnation Inn organises me a ticket to get me to Kunming – I am to take a sleeper bus…
Finding my way to the bus station for a 7pm departure the sky clouds over and there is monumental thunder and lightning and it rains, like really rains! Once at the bus station however, confusion reigns as it turns out I have been taken to the wrong bus station. Great. But thanks in no small way to the incredibly efficient ticket office clerk, for somehow she manages to track down my bus, which by now (7.40) must have already left it’s departure point and she redirects it and it comes to pick me up – awesome. However, while I have been waiting I have been admiring the extremely smart Volvo and Daewoo buses at the bus station – feeling reassured by their gleaming paintwork and efficient looking drivers and staff. As my true bus pulls in two scruffy bus drivers approach and wave me towards a much less attractive looking bus and – alarmingly – thrust Y21 back at me saying I have overpaid. This is not the most reassuring start to an overnight journey in the rain back down through the mountains of Yunnan, but hey ho – let’s see.
There are no really good pictures of this bit, just some video I took in the dead of night to give an impression of what it is like crammed onto the top bunk of a sleeper bus on a “bed” that is about 8 inches wide and surrounded by 40 other people in similarly cramped bunks all of whom seem to be suffering from chest infections. This is one journey I don’t want to repeat. Here’s dawn over the lake in Kunming. I was extremely glad to arrive here and I really didn’t care how tired I was. (Lijiang to Kunming on a “sleeper” bus 21/22 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 21 2009

The bus off and on

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Image ThumbnailImage Thumbnail It is an awesome bus, very smooth and excellently driven. So once the tyre is fixed we make good speed and head high into the mountains – passing slower traffic easily and quickly. All of a sudden though we come to a roadblock and the bus slows to a stop again. There has been a landslide and workers are suspended in harnesses high above the road to hack away at the loose earth letting it crash to the road to be cleared away. Traffic is stopped in both directions while this operation unfolds. We all head up onto the grassy hill by the road and wait in the sun, we are there for about an hour until a siren sounds, the men haul their way back up their ropes to a makeshift platform they’ve carved out of the muddy hill and traffic is allowed slowly past this obstruction – we’re off again, Lijiang is only hours away. (On and off the bus again from Zhong Dian to Lijiang 21 July)Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 20 2009

Driving safe

It takes about an hour for me to relax in the realisation that Dave is an awesomely good driver and knows the road extremely well. Indeed he doesn’t just know the road, he seems to know everyone on it too. His skill is appreciated as I take millions of pics and much video (to be edited & uploaded once home). The moving pictures, I am sure, will capture the drama of this magnificent journey best, but here is what a driver on this mountain road faces as he hurtles through settlements, villages, roadworks and farms:

Children, handcarts, grandmas, yaks, monks, donkeys, bikes, pigs, tractors, goats and laundry – all these can be on the road at any time. Hence Dave adopts the ‘hoot & go’ approach. You hoot and go. Simple. And it is hoot & go for overtaking too – although this takes a little longer as a passenger to feel comfortable about. In all we are in each other’s company for close on 5 hours and he is one of the most skilful drivers I have been driven by. He gets me back down to Shangri La safely, but fast, skilfully, but cautiously and I thank Dave for that.

This is one of those epic journeys that is impossible to bring to life here, but I have picked out some random best bits for now – there will be loads more to come, given bit of time. One breathtaking ride. (On the road from Deqin 20 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce