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On the road to Jodhpur

sunny 35 °C

So as the two NZ ladies were ill, I headed off to Jodhpur bus station on my todd. At the bus station I met a fantastic girl called Ice Smith from the Phillipines! (She had a son called Vodka too!)
She was great craic and I found her attitude towards India hilarious, I think she had sheltered in her hotel room the last couple of days to get away from it all. :D She is going to name her daughter Ireland. (After me! ;) )
At the bus stop, along came another lovely lady called Marion from German. So the three of us yapped away until the time came to get the bus. This was actually an hour later than we were told it would be.
Me: ''Is there a 4pm bus?''
Indian: ''Yes yes of course there is.'
but there wasn't!
The bus didn't even come near the station, we had to follow a local fella 5 minutes down a busy main road to get on it.
The three of us were sat down the back. 2 young locals got on in front of us and I could just tell they were going to be
trouble. The whiff of gargle off them!!
The bus 'conductor' came down and told us ladies that we could sit up front, but at the time we thought we would be ok and wanted to avoid the 2 local lads who were up a bit in front of us. However, as soon as the bus started, I knew if I stayed down the back, I would barf everywhere. The roads were so bad, the bus was getting battered around. We were being flung round the back of the bus.
I think the conductor dude was actually looking out for us and advising us to move away from the 2 little guys, so myself and Ice took his advice and moved up to the front. We were only going as far as Jodhpur, but Marion was going to Jaisalmer and had a sleeper bunk booked so stayed down the back in her bunk.

So then on get these two English lads.. Timmy (25, Lazy ;), funny, thinks he looks like Colin Farrell, Farreller is his hero) and Cecil * (22, lovely lad but complete and utter stoner, smoked beedies, chillums and fags noooonnnnn stop all the livelong day, never knew where he was or where we were going etc lol. Nice guy - just ourrrovittt).

So anyways off we go, the bus is barrelling along the road, overtaking large trucks on bends, in the dark, on the side of a mountain - you know - the usual Asian style bus trip! Marion is up in her bunk minding her own business, when the little local lad starts asking her if he can come up to her bunk!! He kept pointing at her and then back to him saying ''me come up? me come up?''... Marion was like 'eh noooo, no no no no no.. HELLPPPPP''. So Cecil the hero/loonatic gentleman comes along and tells yer man to bog off away from his 'wife'. :D Then just when Marion is feeling safe, Cecil asks her if she would like to ''fool around for a while''.. bwaahahahhahhaahha
Marion got sufficiently freaked out up there and came to join me and Ice up front. :D

Meanwhile the bus ride is getting worse. there is no suspension at all and we're all getting thrown around the place like loose spuds in a washing machine. We were just about hitting our heads off the bus ceiling every few minutes.

So we stop for a quick chai stop and when the bus starts again, Cecil notices that his moneybelt with his cash and cards has gone missing!!
So he starts to raise a bit of a fuss about it and search around his bunk and Timmy's bunk and under the seats. He informs the bus conductor and asks everyone around to look under their seats etc.. including the 2 local lads, but it's nowhere to be seen. ( I was sure it would just appear as I thought he was just stoned and had misplaced it).
So 5 minutes later, we're all still looking. Every Indian on the bus has joined in now as they love to have a nosy into what's going on. Cecil begins to think it might have been the Chai Guy who got on the bus when we stopped, but we had bought chai off him and hadn't seen any belts or bags on him. So as more and more fuss is being made, suddenly the little local lad tells Cecil to check his chair area again (the local lad's chair) and lo and behold, there's the wallet down the side of his chair. Hadn't he only gone and whipped it off Cecil when Cecil took out a few bob to pay for Chai.
Now it's as plain as day to all on the bus that this young fecker took it. But fair play to Cecil, he avoided what could have been a big confrontational situation / row and thanked the little loonatic Indian for finding it! Then they end up hugging!! 2 feckin loonatics together. LOL

After this, the bus settled down and on we rattled for another few hours. The 2 UK lads and Marion decide they can't take any more of this bumpy bus full of loonatics and they decide to join me and get off at Jodhpur for the night.
Seeing as how the two NZ girls are not coming to our hostel anymore, I assumed that their room would be going spare in Jodhpur and invited the three lads along with me.
Sop we tuk tuked it to the guest house and it turns out that the two NZ girls had cancelled their room. The owner, while very nice, didn't seem to want to take us in, even though it was midnight, we were quiet and knackered, and he had rooms. It took a bit of sweet talking and apologising from me to get the others into a room there. sheesh! Someone who doesn't want our business in India. Weird!!

  • names have been changed.. :D

Posted by squeakylee 12:08 Archived in India Tagged bus jodhpur madness journey Comments (0)

Kunming

Kunming, Kunming..hmmm what did I do in Kunming

sunny 31 °C

Writing this ages later so probably have forgotten half of it. I was only really planning on hanging around Kunming for a night on the way to do the Tiger Leaping Gorge, but Kunming was lovely and pleasant with clean streets, clear blue skies and lots of sunshine. The hostel was pretty neat too and had a pool table and ping pong!

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There's not a helluva lot to do in the city though. I went to the Art Loft but there was bog all there, except 2 gallerys, 1 had 2 pictures in it, the other had maybe 10. Hmmmm I thought. That was a bit meh.

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So continued on to the shopping district and window-shopped in the fancy shops. Then went to the Flowers and bird market where all sorts of people were selling birds, flowers, dogs, cats and other bits and bobs. I felt a bit sorry for the cats and dogs as they were in tiny glass cages just waiting for people to buy them.

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After a few more hours exploring the town,

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I had enough walking and went back to my hostel to get my free beer. A young handsome Portuguese fellow named Joao came along and we had a grand auld chat outside watching some Americans and Chinese lads playing bad Ping Pong. Joao works with software and special effects and worked on all sorts of cool movies. OOOOOH. Nice going. He quit his job and is out to travel for as long as he can. He was a lovely, friendly funny chap and we got along great.

That night when I got to my dorm, there was a weird old German dude in the bed opposite me. He had his trousers on Simon Cowell stylee and his moobs out. I got quite a fright when he started mumbling at me as I thought the room was empty! I dind't understand what he was saying, but then he started talking English and saying ''Can you leave the door open please?... hmmm.. I was like ''eh ok.. but why?''. He explained he was having difficulty with his door card. I wondered was he even staying here or did he just mosey in off the mean streets of Kunming every night looking for an empty dorm to stay in. Anyways I was pretty happy when two more girls came in anc occupied the other beds.

Joao had been invited to lunch the next day by a lovely little Chinese lady - who we shall call Wu for short, (her name means Beauty of the Sea) so I tagged along as well. Wu brought us off on the bus to her friends house / restaurant. Her friend feeds people for free at his restaurant every day! Breakfast, lunch and dinner! So we were quite excited to be invited along for a free, local, delicious, vegetarian dinner! nom. We sat down with the owner, his friend and Wu, at a big round table with a lazy Susan on it chock full of delicious interesting treats - rice, vegetables, sticky rice in banana leaves, mushrooms and lots of other scrumptious delights.
The owner had an awesome gaff, with lovely polished wooden furniture, a giant tea-pouring desk and stacks of books about Buddhism and Mother Teresa etc.

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He also gives the books away for free and just asks that people pay the kindness forward to others. It was a really interesting place and we pondered how on earth this guy could afford to feed people and give away al the stuff for free. Wu hadn't even thought of that, so I'm afraid we planted seeds of curiousity in her mind! Oops

After dinner, the owner gave us free hemp nuts, which are apparently delicious, expensive and help you live to the ripe old age of 108. Yahoo! He gave us a packet each, which was a bit much considering they were so expensive. Plus we couldn't keep it refrigerated! But we didn't want to seem ungrateful so we took the free hemp. On the bus on the way back, we gave 1 of the packs to Wu. She was delighted, as she couldn't afford to buy the stuff herself. She said they would help her sleep as she had a hard time sleeping these days. She was so lovely! Anywho, we bid her good day and got our stuff. Joao had decided to come to Lijiang too, whoop! ROAD TRIP. So off we went to head for the epic sleeper bus. I wasn't really looking forward to the bus as I never find buses that comfortable. I much prefer the trains. You can move around and I sleep like a baby on them! : ) Wasn't sure how I'd handle 12 hours on a feckin bus!

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Soon as we got on the bus, I met another handsome lad - a young Dutchman named Stefan was in the sleeper next to me. More chums! Wahoo! Stefan had finished a law degree and was out travelling for as long as he liked as well, while he was still youngish. ; ) Well Jell. He'd already hitchhiked a lot of the way down from The Netherlands - quite impressive. Anyways he was a funny chap and we waffled away for a while. The bus wasn't too bad at all actually. The driver did have a gross habit of snotting out the window every 5 minutes which was kinda funny. The journey wasn't particularly comfy but I got a couple of hours sleep and I'm even writing this on the return sleeper bus from Lijiang to Kunming so elected to take the bus again (no choice really!).

Posted by squeakylee 02:50 Archived in China Tagged bus kunming sleeper hemp chums Comments (0)

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Aww - I'd LOVE to see a tiger... ehhhhh

sunny 34 °C

Today the four of us bussed it to Jane's Guesthouse at the start of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This is one of the World's deepest gorges and the mighty Yangzi river crashes through it below. If you go to Yunan province, apparently you can't miss this trek. The gorge runs between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (5596m) and Haba Snow mountain (5791) and extends over 15km. Locals say that it gets so narrow at 1 point, that a tiger leapt from one bank to another.

Jane's guesthouse was at the entrance to the trek, but it didn't seem like Jane or anyone else had been around for a while. It seemed quite dingy and empty - but never the less we sat down and ordered some grub off a guy who's ear seemed to be leaking - he had his finger stuck in it for quite some time!
The food and dorms were grand, however there was a couple sharing our dorm who slept in the one bed and were constantly making slurpy noises, or trying to get it on. Jeez lads - it's not that expensive - GET A ROOM!. It was quite disturbing and Chen moved to the outer room as he was too close to the slurping. We had a great laugh that night showing each other comedy clips on youtube - my own particular choice was Father Ted. (as ye do!)

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TIGER LEAPING GORGE

We set off at about 9.30am and it was already feckin roastin'. I hung out at the back of the group - A) for some peace and quiet and non-fact related-updates and B) cos I was slower than the lads. The lads powered ahead and waited for me every now and then. My legs felt like lead and to be honest I didn't even think I could do the whole thing and we hadn't even gotten to the ''agonizing 28 bends'' yet. Good Jaysus.

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We veered off the track at the start and a local lady put us right. A lot of the locals in the area set up little viewing spots along the trek and try to charge foreigners to take pictures from them. We came across this old woman selling bananas at this lovely little viewing spot. She wanted us to buy some bananas in exchange for taking pictures. Myself and Stef bought some bananas but the other two lads didn't want any. They were taking pictures. We didn't as we were too busy stuffing our faces with banana. The auld dear went mad at the fact that the two lads were taking pictures without a banana purchase! We tried to explain that they were actually taking pictures with our cameras but alas she wanted none of that shite. She cursed Joao half way up the mountains, hoping his ''babies would be born without assholes''. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Harsh.

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We pushed on, the old woman's curses echoing up the mountain. It was an absolutely beautiful day with clear blue skies. Once again we were so lucky with the weather, the views were amazing. The going was tough for me but all the lads seemed grand. (I'm getting weedier I think during this travelling lark - need to get back doing some proper exercise and yoga! )
Just before the 28 bends we stopped for a rest. The bends themselves weren't actually that bad - (I thought the start was tougher) - we were rewarded with awesome views of the mountains around and the gorge below. We stopped at 3pm at the Tea Horse for lunch and then trundled on afterwards passing goats, beautiful mountain scenery and lovely waterfalls.

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After a few more hours of trekking, we reached the Halfway House Hostel, which was full of lots of other tourists. We met a few funny American/UK girls there, a lovely Irish couple, the same American lads we kept bumping into everywhere, an Oz/NZ couple, and another few people from the UK. There was a great auld buzz in the place and we all sat down on the roof which had spectacular views. We ordered a load of food and then had many beers under the millions of stars twinkling above. The four of us were the last to bed as per usual. During the night I heard one of the American lads leaping out of the bunk bed to go and puke over the balcony outside. UH OH. I was selfishly relieved that he hadn't eaten dinner with us. The thought of all 10 of us in the room having to follow him out to puke off the balcony was a little unsettling, if still hilarious!

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DAY 2

The next day, we set off after breakfast and trekked for another few hours. It was another gorgeous day and the scenery was amazing. The toughest bit of the day was going right down into the gorge to the river to see the stone the tiger apparently leapt on. It took us an hour to get down these huge, higgeldy piggeldy steps to the river, but it was worth it. The river was bonkers violent and I questioned the ability of any tiger to be able to jump across without falling in. To which Stefan replied ''It's just a story.''.
Oh.
Right.
Aww. :(

Going down was bad, going back up was even worse. It was torturous. I was soaked in sweat. It was SO HOT. (You would think I'd be a skinny minnie after all this going up and down steps and what not, but I keep drinking too much beer with the lads. :D) I probably wouldn't have had so many beers last night if I'd known this was in store for us today. I thought it would be a quick hop, skip and a jump down to the stone and back up again.

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Anywho we made it to the top finally. I looked like I'd been in for a swim in the river - everything I was wearing was soaked. I had a shower and some noodles in Tina's guesthouse and felt a bit better.
There had been a landslide on the mountain nearby and the road we needed to take to Shangri La was blocked so we all had to be driven to the landslide by mini bus, wait on one side til the drilling and construction work stopped, then walk to the other side to get the bus. Some of the guys who had left Tina's agggges before us, were still standing around in the heat of the day waiting to pass. Sickener!

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Getting the right people on the right bus seemed to be an impossibility for the lads who were organising the buses. It was like a bad sitcom. As soon as two new lads got on our bus, all our ticets had to be checked again and again before two other people were kciked offf. This went on for about 20 minutes! :D Eventually it was off on the road to Shangri La. Our group now included the 3 lovely American/UK ladies and the four of us.

Great people, non stop laughing, beautiful weather and epic mountain scenery!

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Posted by squeakylee 06:35 Archived in China Tagged bus stone hot tiger gorge 28 leaping janes tinas bends Comments (0)

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