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, Breathtaking, Wales,

DofE Gold, Expedition,

Jul 6 2009

Sacred mountain epic journey

Right, so I found a local guy – who is a martial arts instructor, but knows the mountains – he is called Xiao Bing. He and I set off for a sacred mountain on the opposite side of the Erhai Lake (40K long, north to south, with Dali on the western shore). We are heading for Mu Xiang Ping (otherwise known as Chicken Foot Lotus Mountain). At the start of the day he says he wants to save me money so we will take a bus, then find our transport into the mountain itself. All sounds fine so far, so we head off to the main road and find a public bus. It’s 8am and the bus is full of local people going to work. It is packed and there are lots of flies. It stops a lot, the road is a dirt track in many places. We are on the bus for an hour and fifteen minutes, all the way to a town at the other end of the western side of the lake. Here we stop and Xiao Bing negotiates a ride in a ‘tuctuc’ (you know, 3 wheeled motorbike with curtains and seats behind the driver). We pay 4 yuan (about 30p). The motorbike takes us along the north side of the lake along a busy road to the next town. We get out of the motorbike. Now it is ten o’clock, so we’ve been travelling for two hours. Xiao Bing recommends we buy food; I leave this to him and he gets two pots of extremely spicy noodles from a shop across the road. Now he negotiates with another driver who has a small four seater van (with very thin wheels and tinted windows). The price to take us to the village high in the mountain is 200 yuan, he says it will take two hours…
We set off and soon we are on a narrow muddy mountain road that snakes up and up into the hill. We pass local farmers tending their fruit crops, the driver stops to chat with them and they offer him a stop for tea… but we continue. We pass a small village, he asks directions, we continue. Three times we stop and there are debates between the driver and Xiao Bing – the driver fears he will not have enough fuel to get back to town. We continue. Finally, after the interference of an extremely loud-mouthed local farmer woman (who wants money to show us the way – we refuse), we reach our setting off point. My altimeter says 2750m, we are very high in the moutain. (Mu Xiang Ping aka Chicken Foot Lotus Mountain 4 July)

Rough Edge, Adventure, Logistics, mountain, navigation training, worldwide, trekking, Scotland,

DofE Gold, Expedition,