Saturday, 4 October 2008
The Day Bob Left
Bob left the day of the Yixing trip which was quite ironic. Li Chau was in charge of the whole thing and did an excellent job. An hour after we left our bus broke down and we could not get a new one because it was a holiday and they were all being used. We broke down at around 11:30 and we all took bets on when we thought we would be up and running again. Most of us thought it would be a few hours or so, but we were very wrong. we did not start rolling again until eight that night. We sat on the side of the road at this restaurant in the middle of nowhere all day. John, Dave, and myself went on a hiking adventure where a mountain was conquered. I got some good pics of that. I could not believe the chinese mechanics though. They literally rebuilt the engine right there on the spot. That is why it took all day I guess. At one point they left the bus (with parts of the engine all over the ground), and the group for around two hours to get parts. We all wondered if they just ditched us there because the problem was impossible to fix. After getting back on the road everyone was really tired, but we were shooting the make the whole rest of the trip on this bus (supposed to be an eight hour journey). At around eleven o clock we broke down again. We were told to take all of our stuff out of the bus and we sat there for three hours or so before we took some taxi's to a local hotel to stay the night. The hotel was nice and the rest was needed. The town worshipped us. We were being photographed and interviewed any time we were outside the room. It was really strange, but the people love us. Li Chau found out the bus was supposedly fixed, but he just booked us a different bus for the rest of the trip which got us there safely at around four. Therefore what was supposed to be an eight hour trip took a grand total of thirty hours. I am sure we will never use that bus company again. I do not regret that happening at all though. The group grew much closer through that experience, not a soul complained the whole time, and I got to go on a sweet hike. But do not worry the story does not end there. I will write about Yixing in another section, but on the way back we ended up taking the same bus. It was supposed to have been fixed, but our fearless leader thought it would be a good idea. It really was a fun trip though. While we were driving down a large interstate like road a car cut us off and made us stop because the engine was smoking. When we stopped someone went around back to check out what was happening. Before you know it you could hear the chinese voice of Li Chau shouting "get off the bus, get off the bus now!" Of course I was off the bus as quickly as possible with my backpack. I knew something was pretty wrong so as soon as I exited I quickly walked about fifty yards down the road. For some odd reason nobody followed me. Most just stood there next to the bus asking questions. It may have been unnecessary for me to do that, but it was done none the less. It turns out that the engine caught on fire to the point where flames were shooting out of the back of the bus. That is why the car cut us off to stop us. The feelings among the group were to not set foot back on the bus, but we all crammed back in the front to coast down the road ten miles where someone could help us. We were all expecting some kind of garage or something, but it was pretty much a dirt pull off where some mechanic had an umbrella set up next to a well and his army green SUV. While there John (a guy in our group that knows how to work on cars) looked under the engine and told us all what he thought. He ended up being right pretty much every time he made some statement about the engine. He knew it would not get us far every time we set out on the road. While we were there our driver, who is really in a bad situation at this point, got into a screaming argument with the mechanic. I am talking very brutal too, I was expecting a fist fight at the rate they were going. Li Chau had to calm the two of them down, but I do believe I saw him giggle to himself a few times so it must have been pretty ridiculous. He told us that the driver was telling the mechanic that he was going to have the Chinese mafia after him for charging too much for the repair. Yes, the third repair was the last repair. We ended up arriving safely back at home after that. Overall I would say this was the most eventful bus ride I have ever taken in my life. I did enjoy it, and it made for a good story.