Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Xiahe to Jiayuguan

We went to see the Bing Ling Si buddha caves yesterday and it was
amazing. I have to share a secret and admit I haven't the slightest
interest in looking at buddhas. You've seen one statue with a wise look
on his face/earlobes, you've seen them all.
The thing that captured me about Bing Ling is what's around the
buddhas. It is the first time this trip that the scenery has left me
breathless. Though, to be fair, that could have as much to do with the
We even had an adventure on the way to the caves. The mists and rain
were so dense that the boat driver couldn't see a thing, but he didn't
let that affect his speed. So when we hit the sand bar we were stuck
fast. The boys had to strip down, get in and help. The water was icy
and what we'd hit was more red-brown clay than sand.
The hotel we stayed in was a blessed relief after the hostel in Xiahe.
The dorm room thing was fine, though sharing with three men smells
quite different to sharing with two girls. The main difficlty was the
bathroom situation. The seven of us in dorm rooms were sharing a
toilet in a bed room upstairs. It was alovely and clean to start, but
several things made it a less than joyful experience.
First, employees at the hostel started using it. They had different
expectations about when you should flush and whether the pee should go
mainly in the bowl or mainly on the seat and floor. The toilet paper
ran out, so you had to remember to take some with you. No one cleaned
the bathroom the two nights we were there and someone alwas seemed to
be sleeping or watcing television in the attatched room. Then someone
pooed on the seat. Then I stopped drinking water. Hello dehydration.
Last night in the hotel in Jiayuguan I discovered you can get seven
cups of tea out of one rooibos tea bag and then I took the longest,
hottest shower you can imagine. I can't tell you how it felt after
four days of cold showers. Clean finger nails. Clean hair.
I got to share with our guide, Coco, again [and should be able to all
the way to Kashgar]. After we went for dinner with the drivers, Al and
Juan, we had the most marvellously girly evening, putting on
moisturising face masks and doing cross stitch together.


Jayne said...

I would have stopped drinking as well and perhaps would have been investigating an escape route by that stage... ick. I don't cope with bad facilities.

brent said...

you had me at 'less than joyful' but thanks for sharing :-D