This time typed on a computer; spelling not guaranteed. :P
01.05.2011 - 04.05.2011
Lijiang partII m'dears!! I bet you totally missed my long winded, atrociously spelled rants about my absolutely fantas-ma-gorical adventures in the mystery that is the Chinese Nation. :P
So day two, well actually three from what I have told you, was interesting to say the least. Got out of bed at some hour like 10pm, meandered down the road with Nat and Lew, got some breakfast from a Naxi street vendor (mmmm..... baba, think thick roti bread crossed with eggy bread and spring onions. yum!)
then proceed to amble through the ridiculously crowded streets, packed to bursting point with foreigners, to the famous N's Kitchen. A nice, relaxed little restaurant on top of another building and ate nothing but extremely yummy, fluffy pancakes with bananas, honey and cinnamon on top. Yes m'dears, there is pancakes here in China, quite interesting if you ask me.
Well fast forwarding to later that evening; had dinner somewhere, uninteresting then went shopping with Joe which was nice. Apparently he had his eye on these wall hangings (which mind you were freaking amazing!) but alas couldn't find the store. We walked up and down this one road for something like 30mins trying to find it when finally (exclaimed with great relief and excitement) "yes! that's fucking it!" was yelled at the top of his lungs (much to the amusement of some Hong Kong tourists who understood every word uttered) lol. Colour, colour, colour colour! That is all I am going to say Joe then left that evening destined back to his school. Nice guy.
Tuesday and our final day in Lijiang, aka the "Flirtatious City" Nat and I, after rolling out o' bed at about 10am (again） and speaking to the new 'packers (2 from Sweden and one from Singapore) went and hired mountain bikes for the day. And glad we were that they were proper 6 gear, 12 speed mountain bikes otherwise we would have been SCREWED!
So setting off on the route as previously mentioned by the Kiwi in the "Through the Window" Cafe (literally walk through a window to get in FYI) and set off to Bai sha (白沙） village, about a 45min ride out of Lijiang along many back streets where there is nothing but large, mystical snow capped mountains safe guarding our passage to the village.
Got to the village and decided to go up one of the small mountains/hills to see a Taoist temple that was marked on the map. By this stage our legs were beginning to groan in mortal protest. 2.5hrs later I realised we were actually beginning to cycle up the mountain. :S So we dismounted (with our legs protesting with each movement) and sat down to have some fruit and water. It was funny walking after 3.5hrs on the bike, felt like we were hardly moving, awkward..... Chilling by the side of the road, we hear absolutely nothing but the wind through the willow-like trees and the sound of the FREE birds (not the usual caged ones we hear in the cities and around school) and a small "wild" yet domesticate puppy sitting at our feet looking for scraps of food looking absolutely ADORABLE I must say。Then seeing someone working in the field I asked them how much further the ride to the temple was. Apparently it was at the top which was only another 10 mins up the road, so we perceived and walked/cycled to the top of the mountain (much to the amusement of the road workers.
We got to the top and what do ya know, no freaking temple!!
Seriously you can not fathom the level of agitation we were both feeling at this stage. We took a few photos, laughed our heads off at the inaccuracy and our stupidity (as we realised that when I asked the field worker how much further they initially burst into laughter before giving us directions). Then we thought, well bugger this, time for tea and beer (the latter being my thoughts) so we turned the bikes around and absolutely soared down the mountain's windy roads at what felt like 65kmph (think roads like the ones that snake around the Dandenongs guys), the air in my eyes made them stream. LOL! Soooo much fun hair was everywhere and some stupid, mop like mutt decided it would be hilarious to attempt to attack the wheels of our bikes. Stupid mutt almost lost its nose. Moron-mutt alert.
So got to the bottom and went to the little Cafe as recommended by Stephen at "Through the Window". It was nice. Chilling in the sun with a bottle of Dali beer and some Naxi butter milk tea, Nat and I played an absolutely bastardized version of sino-Chinese checkers, more like make up the rules as you go. Vegging in front of the cafe in the sun lit street we were just talking, relaxing and listening to the sounds of life go on around us. Then some people (obviously) from America came along. Nice bunch of people from Texas and surrounds, wicked as accents I must say lol. Love a good accent I must say. Chatted to them for a little while. Talked about what we were alll doing here in China, explained a little about Lattitude and Minzhong (the school where we teach), about Eshan and so on. Which was met by looks of slight awe and (in a deep Texan drawl as they looked at their daughter of about 14/15years old) "I be' yall's folks are real proud o' yall. Yall a inspiration to younger generations". Mighty touched I must say.....
So the ride back was nothing interesting, mountains, cars and lots of me stopping and asking "Lijiang zai nar??" (where is Lijiang?) rather amusing but we got back to the "Flirtatious City" as the heavens opened, returned the bikes and went to have dinner with Lewis and his new BMAs from Sweden and Singapore. Yumm... lol. Then back to the hostel, picked up our bags to catch the last bus to the train station. Piled onto the train, climbed to the top bunk, I swear I have NEVER been so tired and sore in my whole life, everything down to my shoulder blades and eyelashes absolutely cained!! Never slept so soundly on a train either, mmmm.... sleeper train's top bunk, nice and toasty....
Kunming arrival at 7am, t-minus 4hrs 25mins till our first class. :S Rush to the other side of town to the Southen Bus Station, bought tickets to Eshan, got on the bus and the driver yelled at us, you have tickets for 10am, get off!! By this stage Nat and I were absolutely knackered and verging on our last nerve. I kinda snapped; explained heatedly in Chinese that we were teachers at Minzhong and if we got the 10am bus we would miss our class. Essentially his response was "tough shit, it's not my problem foreigners". Well you can imagine how pissed off I was and the things that were muttered under my breath. I took the tickets to the ticket booth, explained the situation and the lovely woman refunded our tickets and gave us ones to Yuxi where we would then get the bus to Eshan. We arrived at the bottom of the drive that leads to the school at 10:45am (it takes 10mins to walk up the drive), dumped our bags in the flat and washed our faces before sprinting off to class.
But omg the reaction when I stepped back into the Grade Two class room made it all worth it.
Class 6 (my favourite class), 62 kids, stand up and scream at the top of their lungs the following: "MEIXIAN IS BACK YAY!!!!!!" Gotta love them kids.
So concludes my May Day holiday weekend. The lessons learnt this weekend:
-Lijiang definately is NOT "Flirtatious" it should be renamed "Westerner Central".
-Bus drivers from Kunming to Eshan are absolute twats.
-Sweds, Singaporeians and Argentianians/English people are quite possibly the friendliest people on the planet (next to the majority of the Chinese), Pick up your game Frenchies!
-The world is now right because I'm back in Grade Two. Wooot!!!
Have a good one folks and stay tuned!