The bus that turned into a boat!

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May 13th 2008
Published: May 13th 2008
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Howdy - we'll we've certainly had an action packed couple of days, we're in Kaili in Guizhou province right now (nowhere near any earthquakes if you were wondering) but I'll step back a couple of days.

From Sanjiang (last blog) we moved by bus to Conjiang (pronounced chongjiang - that caught us out for a while!), in the process switching from the Guiyang province to the Guiyang province - although there was merely a sign along the road somewhere, no U.S mexico border or anything.

Both Sanjiang and Congjiang were fairly unremarkable but were means to an end. And that end was villages. Now, villages = not big city. Not big city = not much infracstructure. Not much infrastructure is equivalent to mostly dirt roads. Mostly dirt roads plus the aforementioned lightening storm = chaos!

The road out of Sanjiang was pretty good for about an hour - nice, smooth concrete winding up into incredible hills with great sheer drops off the side of the road and panoramic views. However, once we crested the mountain, the potholes kicked in. Then came the slips covering half the road, then the concrete dissappeared altogether and we were left with dirt and potholes/puddles (potholes were by far the majority). We were prepared for this, having heard the roads are a little 'rough'. What we were not prepared for was the sudden stop about 10 minutes into the potholes behind another bus. The bus driver then got out the gas cannister. At this point, running out of gas was also something we were prepared for. However, when we looked around the corner, there were four other busses, a couple of trucks and any number of people milling around. Ok then, must be some kind of accident. Then everyone clears off the bus with there stuff. Ruh roh.

So, when in rome, we grabbed out gear and started walking through the mud. Slowly but surely the sight of a large truck stuck in mud around 700mm deep positioned diagonally across the road we wanted to go down appeared before us. Hmmmm.

So, no-one speaking english and non-existent mandarin on our part (counting to ten and saying 'hello' wasn't going to help here) followed someone who was going to the same place as us. Good plan. We half expected to walk down the road for a while and grab another bus on the other side of the mud pit. That would have been lame. Instead, we got on a boat .. excellent! Us, the chickens and about 20 others crammed about a longboat and headed upriver. It was here that we saw the extent of the queue on the other side. Probably 30 + buses looking at us jealously as we floated upriver - some looked like they might have been there a while - take snacks indeed!

Anyway, we jumped on another bus (not going to Chongjiang but there was no other option) and set off, hoping at least we'd get somewhere we could catch another bus. I won't go into the complexity, but we were trying to get to a village which involved us getting off the bus and catching another one on the way to Chongjiang - we abandoned that plan it now being 3 hours later than we thought and us having no idea when the 2nd bus might arrive. Oh, and the new bus dropped us short of town so we started walking only to be picked up by another bus ... nice

So we got to Chongjian in the end, 3 buses and one boat later. From there we headed up the hill to a beautiful little Miao village called Basha where the men still wear period clothes and carry long rifles - cool.

We then headed off to Zhaoxing - a beatiful little Dong village in the middle of a stunning valley. Wonderful place, full of life and people doing day to day stuff. Photos will be coming but it was one of our favourite places yet. We stayed in a traditional Dong house with a lovely host and just wandered amongst rice paddies with the horses and buffalo 😊.

Yesterday was 2 hours of bus back to Conjiang where the bus driver, in his rush to get us there on time, did his honest best to kill us but we made it in time to catch another (!) 8 hour bus up to Kaili. Which is where we are - we got in late last night so folded and got a sweet hotel room (still only NZ$35 incl breakfast) and trekked out to try and find a laundromat to wash 90%!o(MISSING)f our clothes. Anyway, hopefully, we'll get some photos up tomorrow - the minority people are gorgeous and the villages amazing.

Till next time


13th May 2008

Take Snacks!
So you had snacks and didn't starve on your big bus-walk-boat-bus-bus-walk combo? I'm pleased :-)
13th May 2008

Re: Take Snacks!
For the record THE best advice we have had yet!

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