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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Death Cab for Alan

A couple of things started on the way back from the golf course. The rain was one of them. The other was what is no doubt bound to be three months of constant fear when on the road.

Riding back from the golf course, the car stopped working. The power just died. So there I was, pushing a car along a two lane crowded highway in ShunDe, which thankfully was under construction so on my right there was a wall, and not four rows of cars pushed into two lanes. This happened three more times on the way home, leaving us each time to stop and fiddle with the battery until things started working again.

After returning to the factory, we waited around a few hours and then took to the road again, this time to the airport at Guangzhou. This then, was the most terrifying and fascinating experience yet in China. Imagine, if you will, ten rows of traffic fit into five lanes, converging then into a toll area. Following the toll, those lanes of traffic then narrow further, to a point where two lanes branch right and two left. It took about an hour to go a few miles; in that time we saw two wrecks, just missed being in five or six ourselves, and in the eyes of the driver, visible in the rearview mirror, I saw an intensity normally reserved for steroid laced linebackers.

On the bright side, while not watching instant death unfold before my eyes, I had the opportunity to enjoy the rows and rows of old one-story red-bricked factories and traditional houses. Then, in the middle of flooded fields were thatch roofed houses and men and women in hats with pant-legs rolled up wading in their yards. Later, we crossed Bei Jiang (I think, which would mean North River). There were several rusted out barges plying up and down, dim in the fading light and drizzle. Then a burnt out factory and crumbling apartment building, and eventually, the monstrosity that is Guangzhou - there seemed in the area to be no streets, just aparment buildings stacked atop each other.

We arrived just in time for a second mad-airport dash in less than a week.

Things seemed calm after that. We arrived in Chengdu and spent the night, before heading to Jiuzhaigou in the morning. Then more fun with roads. The story of that, though, will have to wait for another day.

I will say, though, that in the last three days I have seen some of the most beautiful scenery of my life, and that I have never eaten quite so well...and this has included sampling such things as frog, goat, yak and pigeon (a dish called virgin pigeon - I dont know why, as I don't even know how pigeons procreate). I also sampled several bai jiu (white alcohol - made from a plant called qing ke, and anywhere from 18-52 proof). Now I am on my own, figuring out where to go next.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Mom said...

Makes the Dan Ryan (or I75 at rush hour on a holiday weekend) seem like a walk in the park.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous shawn grant said...

glad to see you are OK!!!! hey i was looking at some pictures of my first trip to europe and guess who was in a couple of them....thats right me! no but I did find a couple of you I will try and scan them and send them to you. i know you changed your e-mail can you send it to me. thanks buddy! sorry I havent written you in awhile but I have been really busy. do you recall the blog of your grandfather in may, well my grandfather just pasted away about two weeks ago today. atleast I was able to visit him on his last day on earth,old. he was 88 yrs old. on that note i will try and comment more often.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Natalia said...

Please, donĀ“t eat strange things when you are on your own. You never know where they come from.
Take care of yourself and enjoy.

2:40 AM  

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