A week ago my internet stopped working and I needed to go to the closest town Deqin to top up my card. There’s a public bus from Xidan to Deqin every morning at 8 and it comes back at 3 pm. But now dad has bought a truck and he had some business in town also so I could get a lift with him. “Great! So easy” I thought. No need to hike to the village early in the morning and then wait all day in Deqin for the bus to go back as there’s absolutely nothing to do in Deqin besides shopping for food. And besides the internet I could do some shopping. So off we went, slowly but surely until thee bridge crossing the Mekong River. Last year the road from Xidang hot springs was paved all the way down to Youngzhu village but the bit between the bridge and the villages is still under construction. And just before the bridge the traffic was stopped for maybe a half an hour.
But then we continued. Just before Deqin dad had to make a stop to fix something in the truck. I sat there waiting maybe for an hour until dad told me just to go ahead as the mechanics wanted to have lunch before fixing the truck. He’d call when all his business was done. So ok. I went to the road and one truck gave me a lift to Deqin. I had my lunch, fixed the internet problem and did some shopping and was done before 3 pm so I could have taken the bus back to Xidang but dad assured me that he’d be going home soon. So I sat on some steps and read my book waiting. And sat. And sat. Took a little walk every now and then when my legs started getting numb. Finally at 6.30 i called dad. He said he’s not finished so he’d be going home tomorrow. Which meant that i had to stay in a hotel for a night. I had 120 yuan left and the hotel room would be 80 + key deposit so I had to get more money. There used to be one ATM that gave money with foreign cards but that was now demolished. Instead there were 2 new banks. And I tried them all and none would give me money! So I had enough for the hotel and some instant noodles for dinner but then all was gone. And on top of it all I could have spend the whole day in a hotel room instead of sitting on some steps!
The next day mom called that dad had come home after all, although very late, but was back in Deqin now. But he wouldn’t be going home before late in the evening. I could take the public bus but that would use all the money I had and I’d have to wait 3 hours for it to leave. Sat on the steps again thinking when one mini-van driver came to ask if I was going to Shangri-la. Well, I might as well if it was ok with him that he drives me to a bank when we get there as I didn’t have any money at the moment. So off to Shangri-la, 4-hours drive just to get more money. And I’d have to stay at least one night as no cars would be driving back that day. … In the end it turned out to be 4 nights. The weather turned really bad, raining every day so I decided to stay in the guesthouse by the fire and interview some tourists and guides and see friends. As things here never seem to work as planned I was prepared enough so that I had my computer and toothbrush with me but not a change of clothes and such.
The mini-vans driving tourists up from Shangri-la bring their passengers straight to Feilaisi as no one wants to stay in Deqin unless they are catching early morning bus. So on the way back I got to Feilaisi around 1 pm and waited there for the bus back to the village. Bus to Foshan drove by, and one to Adong, but no Xidang bus. It was already almost 4 pm when a blue truck drove by. I didn’t pay much attention to it before I heard “Ou, Soniya!” behind me. It was dad! He had been buying cement from Deqin and was now on his way back home. So i got a ride back in dad’s truck after all. Sitting on top of the bags of cement! And the views were great from up there over the top of the truck cabin. Unfortunately this was the moment when my camera battery decided to die. So instead of great views, here is a selfie of me in dad’s truck when we were going up to Deqin.
And next time, if I go to town with dad, I’ll be better prepared. And I want to ride at the back!