Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our Epic Trip: Highlights - The longest train trip in the world, and the Buddhist monastery in Xiahe

I've posted photos of some cute cats and, most importantly, posted about the glorious food, but I suppose I should describe a bit of what we actually did on Epic Trip.

The trip itself was action-packed with nary a lull in sight - with the exception of train and bus trips. For example, the 44-hour train ride from Shenzhen. The only seats left were the top bunks in a car stuffed with about 70 other people. We were about 20 inches from the ceiling.

Children screaming. No air conditioning. Near death. Please note my shirt soaked with sweat -

We were saved only by the beer trolley wheeled up and down the train by a woman who I grew to love dearly. And by a pretty good restaurant car. Eggs with chilies, greens with fungus -

Tofu with chilies, sour and spicy potatoes, eggs with tomatoes -

And other passengers trying to escape the screaming mayhem of our car -

We got off for five-minute periods at various stops to stretch our, well, everythings. (Note the bandana tied Axl Rose-style. I found that a bandana soaked in cold water is actually very poor protection from mid-August, mid-China heat.)

Luckily I've blocked out most of that journey by now.

So let's begin with the first highlight of the trip.

We took a bus to visit a Buddhist monastery on the Tibetan Plateau in the town of Xiahe. What should’ve been a 4-hour bus ride turned into an 8-hour clusterf*ck for many reasons – not least of which was that for much of the journey the bus driver let his wife drive while he walked alongside to try to solicit passengers.

Also, I found out that Tibetans are terribly prone to motion sickness. I was surrounded by vomiting. But no worries – they were kind enough to vomit neatly in plastic bags. And then throw them out the bus window.

But the town and the monastery were beautiful, especially after a brief afternoon thunderstorm.

Up next - the Great Wall, and wandering in an industrial wasteland.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Our Epic Trip: Mainland cats

Yeah, so I took some photos of some mountains and stuff, but most of the time I was too lazy to dig my camera out of my bag. But cats? Always photo-worthy. Here are some of the kitties.

We tried to give this kitten some chicken, but he only wanted bones and cigarette butts:

Tied up outside a shop:

Chillin' on a scooter:

Neighborhood watch:

A shady spot:

Headed home:

Waiting for customers:

This guy did not want his photo taken - biting the camera strap:

So I placated him with rubs: