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Xicheng : The slightly 'Anxious Torturous Path' to Chengdu.

Chengdu Travel Blog

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Lu Gu Hu and the extremity of Lige village most of which is heavy, partially completed development for anticipated tourism

“Grooooooan!”.  It’s 11.30am already.  I must ‘a been rolling sides to side in m’bed for a good 4 hours already.  Sick as parrot.  Sick as a dog.  Sick as a backpacker who sunk 400mls of local firewater inadvisably last night.  I haven’t been this hung over since forever!  Seriously.  What the frick am I gonna be doin’ with myself today?!  Probably not an awful lot.  “Groooooan!”.  Logistics logisitics logistics.  Aaaalways more logistics to be thunk about.  No rest for the wicked, the world-wandering or the drunk. 

I’m in Lige.  Good.  I can remember where I am.  On the shores of beautiful Lake Lu Gu.  I recall a practicalities conversation with ‘Vivienne’ the lovely, helpful reception gal here at the ‘Memory of March’ YHA.

  F**k yeah, I remember now. A troubling fact exhumed from the tattered wreck of my mind.  There’s no public transportation around Lu Gu Hu.  Absolutely none apparently.  This means only private mini-van hire to Lu Gu Hu Town for your onward connections.  100RMB ($14.70) a pop.  F**k that.  Better if there’s more of you of course.  But I’m alone.  And hung-over.  Badly hung over!  But it’s decision time again…

… well, serious scenic hiking as per original desires is outta the question owing to half the day having already been spent comatose in bed and the fact that I’m in no fit state for such exertions.  Farewell ’Lion’ Mountain plans.  I carefully consume a ‘green pepper omelette’ and Coke and ‘Viv’ spiels out my all too few options for moving on.

  It’s wise, and I agree, in order to save haemorrhaging too many days of my itinerary to crack on from Lu Gu Hu and get a connection to Xicheng asap.  But that means getting to Lu Gu Hu Town. That 100 RMB smack-in-the-wallet.  F**k that.  No way Jose!  I may have a less perceptible pulse than certain graveyard occupants today and have to focus about 87% of my remaining (not many) mental faculties on not vomiting but I will get to that town on the cheap if it kills me… which means hiking it… 12 kilometres with a 70 litre back on my back and a 15 litre day bag too… in 35 degrees… with a hangover… meaning it will actually kill me.  “Let’s do it people!”.

Did I mention I’m in no fit state for any such exertions already?

‘Viv’ offers suitably sympathetic farewells as I slowly lurch out of doors.

Joy gets China-bong-tastic to kill the time.
  To cut a good hour or two off the start of the walk I struggle up a dirt slope, far side of Lige to meet the solitary road that rings Lu Gu Hu.  It’s hard going.  Hot going.  Sweaty going.  The minute there’s even the slightest incline muscles, back, shoulders and the will to keep moving all start packing in.  A horse stood in my way gives me a “What the flippin’ heck are you doin’ mate?!!”  look as I totter and sway past it.  One step.  Two step.  Just one more step.  Step.  Drag.  Drag.  Step.  F**k!  This is a bad idea.  A dumb idea.  Trawling myself up the dusty slope, 17 kilos of sh*t on my back allowing my feet no traction or legs any semblance of balance at all.  Martyring myself for ten flippin’ quid.
Bus on hold.
  What a dolt!   I reach the road.  Flatness.  “Phewf!”.  Well that’s half a kilometre done and still no need to get a visa for the Afterlife.  Water.  Walk.  Not too far and I round a bend, a wooden viewing platform I’d espied from Lige last night sits to one side.  Beautiful expansive views of Lu Gu Hu blue… and two girls.  Two girls in shades sat with bags in the sun.  Waiting?  Why?  What for?  Heck I need a break anyways.  Take a break.  Ma-a-an I’m hung-over.  “Hi guys!”.

My cliff top companions are Joy and May from Guangzhou and Taiwan respectively.  Pretty both.  Very good English both.

Joy & Lu Gu Hu.
  I’m in luck!  “So where you heading?”.  “Xicheng and then Chengdu”.  “Cool, me too, gotta get to Lu Gu Hu Town right?”.  “Well, hopefully we should have a coach pick us up anytime now to take us to Xicheng”.  Coach?  Right here?!  Soon?  Direct to Xicheng?!  Am I dreaming?  No I’m not.  Winding its way along the far shore as we speak a coach is fast approaching.  “Do you have a ticket?”.  “Nah way man, I haven’t got a clue what I’m doin’”.
Bus Boredom.
  But I do now people.  I’m getting on that coach, paying whatever they want and getting to Xicheng come hell or high water.  Wild horses won’t prevent me.  They can strap me to the mud-flaps if they want, whatever, as long they save me from this personal Hell I’ve inflicted upon myself today!  And so it is.  Joy flashes her leg jokingly, May waves about.  The coach slides to a halt.  They’re in a rush for some reason and as we dash towards it the guy just takes my bag, throws it in the storage and ushers me right onboard.  No questions asked.  No ticket demanded.  Which is lucky ‘cos the coach is chock full.  I have been well and truly saved!

And then barely 1 kilometre later everything grinds to a halt.  A big halt.  The only road around Lu Gu Lake is undergoing extensive resurfacing and we are stuck, first in line, behind a police barrier until 17.

Waiting to roll 1
00pm whilst the tarmac’s laid and sets in the baking sun.  4 and a half hours of idle sweating but frankly, reminiscing about how my day was panning out previously, I couldn’t give a flyin’ monkey’s butt as one way or t’other I’m on my way and no longer walking.  Perfectly happy to sit and mooch and stroll around getting to know May and Joy.  Seriously cool gals!  The view of Lu Gu Lake’s blue, zephyr tussled perfection never ceases to sooth soul and eyes. 

The gang are begging me to try and concoct some hokey story to try to communicate to the cops guarding the barrier here : “They’ll listen to you.  We’re Chinese.  They couldn’t give a sh*t about us… but you, you’re a foreigner.  A visitor.  They don’t wanna make a bad impression.

Waiting to roll 2
  If you say something like “I’ve got a flight from Chengdu tonight and I’m gonna miss it if this bus don’t get through NOW!” they might listen to you and let us through!!”.  So let me get this right.  I’m on a bus for which I don’t have a ticket and you want me to lie to the Chinese authorities about a flight that I also don’t have a ticket for… um?… because of the fact it doesn’t exist?  Not gonna happen ladies!  I don’t care how cute y’all are.  Besides, a short walk by Joy and I reveals that the road is physically impassable anyway.

17.00 eventually rolls around and we roll on although falteringly.  This frickin’ bus seems to stop for often indiscernible reasons every frickin’ 15 minutes or so.

May & Joy, my travel companions from Lu Gu Hu through 2 days to Chengdu.
  It’s okay!  I’m allowed to adopt a tone of impatient moral indignation now having handed over my 95RMB for my ticket to Xicheng.  A place we will now be arriving extremely late to!  There are several moments of commotion and collective frustration on the much delayed bus ride.  I’m on the back row… a kafuffle up front… raised voices.  Anger.  My name cried out by Joy from the melee up front “STEVE!”.  Sh*t they want me off the bus?!?  “WHAT?!”.  “Oh, nothing.”.  Blimey.  Didn’t sound like ‘nothing’.  Either way “Phewf!”.  Still on board and on route to Xicheng.
May & Joy and shonky boat :)

It’s after dark now.  Still a long way to go.  Headlights on full beam.  A long and winding road through the magnificent, but now slightly intimidating mountain, hill, valley and river scenery.  Pretty manic driving from the driver of this very late coach.  Screeching.  Swerving.  On one or two occasions too many dangerous sudden break-smoking halts for cows, goats, pedestrians and cars.  It would not take much for to see us through the tiny, roadside concrete blocks and over into a ravine.  Road-traffic safety placebos.  Nothing more.  This is turning into one of my least favourite coach rides of all time.  I constantly recall the humorous roadside warning signs I had witnessed a number of times yesterday as the bus had descended the snaking road to Lu Gu Hu shore which warned trekkers in a bright yellow triangle ‘Anxious Torturous Path!’.

Bus Boredom Portrait
  This journey is an ’Anxious Torturous Path’.  Still, my hangover’s finally gone.  Frightened into sobriety!

Mostly I am grateful for a cloudless night and the light of a bright full moon.  In some foolish way I think this lessens our chance of accident by virtue of greater illumination of the way ahead.  The way below.  It sheds eerie light on the mountain scenery mentioned.  Hills roll by and besides and above us.  Gigantic black masses.  Sky clawing dark silhouettes made firmer, more imposing in the moonlight.  This light, playing softly down their flanks, gives these geologic monsters of the night vague forms for the imagination to play with.  The appearance of slumbering giants with bed sheets drawn tightly over their horizontal bodies.

Xicheng garden (abstract)
  If they were to roll over in their sleep they would crush us surely.

We get to Xicheng finally at just gone 2.00am.  It’s been a long day… even though mine only started at 11.30.  Just glad to have made it here in one piece.  And curiously enough I’m now slightly ahead of my anticipated schedule at this time.  The girls and I check into the first hotel that presents itself… rather, that is presented to us I should say.  I struggle to sleep with the heat, strange bathroom tiles of beautiful naked Chinese women and mosquitoes for company.  Chengdu finally tomorrow!

sylviandavid says:
I love this entry.... glad you landed on your unsteady and surprised feet.... Sylvia
Posted on: Jun 30, 2009
Stevie_Wes says:
Thanks boys. As ever your kind attentions to my struggles and adventures are much appreciated... yeah, yeah, yeah Chris I hear ya! LOL I'll lay off the booze - for at leat a day or two ;)
Posted on: May 29, 2009
reikunboy says:
And what did you tell me about drinking the other day.....hahaha
Posted on: May 29, 2009
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Lu Gu Hu and the extremity of Lige…
Lu Gu Hu and the extremity of Lig…
Joy gets China-bong-tastic to kill…
Joy gets China-bong-tastic to kil…
Bus on hold.
Bus on hold.
Joy & Lu Gu Hu.
Joy & Lu Gu Hu.
Bus Boredom.
Bus Boredom.
Waiting to roll 1
Waiting to roll 1
Waiting to roll 2
Waiting to roll 2
May & Joy, my travel companions fr…
May & Joy, my travel companions f…
May & Joy and shonky boat :)
May & Joy and shonky boat :)
Bus Boredom Portrait
Bus Boredom Portrait
Xicheng garden (abstract)
Xicheng garden (abstract)
Waiting to roll 3
Waiting to roll 3
Besides Qionhai Lake, Xicheng
Besides Qionhai Lake, Xicheng
Girl in the water, Xicheng
Girl in the water, Xicheng
Dragon boat team practising on Qio…
Dragon boat team practising on Qi…
Snap of my first time aboard a Chi…
Snap of my first time aboard a Ch…
Cards... endless games of cards on…
Cards... endless games of cards o…
Chengdu
photo by: spocklogic