Lost and losing it in the Chinese countryside
Wuhan Travel Blog› entry 6 of 19 › view all entries
I sat on the flight next to Jun who's from somewhere near Wuhan. At least I think so. I speak barely a word of Chinese, and she didn't know English, but we tried to talk for about an hour anyway using my Lonely Planet dictionary and international translator card- both of which are pretty pathetic for this. She kept saying over and over "You tell my son". I assume she wants me to email him, but she did ask about marriage so who knows? I did give her my email, so we'll see if she sends me something. She was great though, because she helped me buy a bus ticket to the city. I would have had a very hard time figuring it out I think.
Anyway, the bus dropped me off in Wuchang, which meant I crossed the Yangtze river on my way (Wuhan straddles the Yangtze- Wuchang is the south part and Hankou is north).
So I walked to a hotel business office, who told me the same thing. And here's where I really started screwing up. I asked if I could go to Chongqing because I for some reason had it in my head that this was not too far away (wrong!). He told me to go to the bus station which was actually across the street, but it took me a bit to figure that out. When I walked into the bus station a woman greeted me and offered to help me get a bus to Chongqing.
So I'm on this sleeper bus, which is quite the experience in itself. Instead of seats, there are a series of "beds" which are more like a reclining chair in shape. But they're rather short, so I couldn't stretch out my legs no matter how hard I tried. The bus didn't leave until 6:30 which I assumed was late since a sign in the front of the bus said 17:00 (wrong again!). I slept pretty well considering how hot and cramped the bus was. I woke up around 3 am and watched the beautiful hills go by. It was quite the scenic route actually. I got to see the countryside and parts of China most Westerners never see. My bus made stops every now and then as they unloaded packages. First it looked like big bags of rice at one place, another was computers. 5am came and went, but I didn't worry since I'd thought we left late. Around 9am we go through this large city called Eshi on one of the signs. I tried looking it up in my LP guide and didn't see it, which surprised me because it was clearly a major city. Ten miles out of the city and I'm looking at a map and I see Eshi- halfway between Wuhan and Chongqing!
So I freak out at this point. I really didn't know what to do, but I knew if I turned around now I could get back to Wuhan in time. At the next stop 20 minutes later I tried talking to the driver. I think he thought I was asking him to turn the bus around, but what I was trying to say was that I wanted him to drop me off at the next city where I could catch a bus going back to Wuhan. He called up a friend who spoke English. Whoever this guy was (I never got his name), he was my savior. It took awhile but eventually the driver understood. We drove to the next town and before I knew it I was at a gas station standing next to some complete stranger the driver had talked to and the bus was driving off. To be continued....