Day 104: Bus (巴士) – September 29th

This day was not a good day.

The bus terminal was closed by the time we arrived the previous day, and we had NO clue what time the bus would leave Linzhi to our next destination of Mangkang. Some people said 8am, some people said 7am. So just to be safe, the bus terminal opens at 7am and we got there right when it opened. Once we asked about the bus to Mangkang, we found out it leaves at 11am! So we idled around until the bus was ready.

The bus was a sleeper-bus headed to Chongqing for a 4-day journey, and we were expected to arrive tomorrow afternoon. Being a sleeper, there were no seats but just many ‘beds’, we’ve sat in these before but in Vietnam, and we have to say the one in Vietnam was much cleaner and better… Each ‘bed/seat’ was provided a blanket and a pillow, but the cotton that covered the brownish looking blanket looked tattered and musty. We looked to the sides and couldn’t help but notice the newer, cleaner and comfier looking buses that dotted the parking lot and figured how we managed to be lucky enough to get on the shittiest one…

We thought we prepared properly and brought with us a single novel (again, we have no smartphones to waste our time with) several sandwiches and two apples, thinking it wouldn’t be too long of a ride and the bus driver confirmed they’d stop for lunch and dinner. The roads were quite bad as we crossed the mountains, but lying down in a cramped space with two metal rods (so you wouldn’t fall off the side!) made sure we felt every little bump in your ribcage.

By 4pm, we stopped for ‘lunch’. Not sure when dinner would be, we still sat down and had some, yup, Sichuan food, before heading back onto the road. Jiajia already finished the novel before sunset, as Alan doze in and out of consciousness, frequently being woken up as the bus drove over pits on the road and throwing us into the air before landing head first onto our ‘bed’. Without any alternatives, we just slept.

By 12:30am, we were waken up by the loud yells of the driver. Unsure where we were as it was pitch dark outside, the bus stopped in a small courtyard in the middle of nowhere (but on the safe side, a small police stand was right next to the courtyard!) and declared it was time for ‘dinner’.

There were two dishes and a soup to choose from and after a long bumpy bus ride while lying down, really cramps down on your appetite so we didn’t eat much. After everyone had a bite to eat, the driver declared that we’ll be resting here until 5am. Apparently it is illegal for chartered buses to drive between 2am-5am to avoid any accidents (because there were too many before….).

Without much, we climbed back up into our cramped quarters and slept at about 1:30am.

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