Back to Jiuxiang

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Mar 03, 2011

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Earlier this week a student was taken to hospital. Apparently he had forgotten his key to get back into his room in the evening and so proceeded to climb up the balconies of the apartments only to fall off on the 3rd floor as it was wet! 

However, today has been pretty good. 

Once again it was spent mostly in Jiuxiang.  After the usual early start I met up with a couple of students and a student from No.2 Middle school.  The first bus was extremely full and the driver couldn't even close the doors so about 4 people had to get off before he could go.  After waiting 30minutes for the next bus, we managed to squeeze on – and then we we’re off on that ridiculous 'road’ to Jiuxiang.  The journey there was longer than normal as it had rained heavily over night and so some parts of the road were flooded – meaning you couldn’t see if you were
about to drive in a drain, hole or whatever.

Eventually we got there, only to find that Sofa’s house was in a small village about a 30minute walk away.  The weather was cold and cloudy, but at least it wasn’t raining.  The track/road to the village was small, dirty and extremely muddy and flooded in places.  The track/road wound through the many rice and corn fields before the village was visible on the shallow slopes of a hill – his house underneath a large tree with red leaves.  By the time we reached his house, we were pretty much covered in mud from the waist down – particularly as there was nowhere you could go when lorries drove past you splashing the mud up you!!

Upon arriving at his house, I was greeted by Sofa’s family and some other people from the village and was told that I was the first foreigner to come to their village.  The house was quite small, with only a few rooms – made of mud bricks and concrete.  I had lunch with his family with so much food to choose from as seems to be the case with many places that I go to.  After lunch we spent around an hour trying to talk with his family – they were quite impressed with my Chinese – or the lack of it!  His father then went back outside to finish repairing his wooden boat and his mother brought us a big bag of fruits and nuts to eat.  At about 13:30 Zhang came round and 2 other girls from No.2 Middle School – so we then went out for a walk around the area – taking the 2 dogs with us that Sofa had.  The scenery around us was pretty nice – although muddy.  I particularly enjoyed seeing all the terraces on the side of the mountains.  We walked through the fields, along the side of the mountain and beside a small lake which was used for irrigation.  By the lake Sofa’s family owned a small hut which consisted of just 1 room with a small bunk-bed.  Around the hut were around 15 chickens which Sofa also owned.  We carried on walking, this time through bushes and alongside a small stream, and we eventually ended up at a small waterfall, which was quite nice – however not a lot of water flowing over it.

So after a good few hours of walking we headed back to  Sofa’s house where I said my ‘goodbyes’ before leaving.  It took around 15minutes to say goodbye as his family were insisting that I stay the night.  However, the beds looked far too uncomfortable for me and the house was freezing – I wouldn’t have been able to stay over anyway as I had to be at another students house the next morning.  So after finally managing to leave the house we walked back along the muddy path to where I’d catch the last bus back to Yiliang – the last bus was at 5pm! So early!  Thankfully, the bus wasn’t too full and we began to make our way back to Yiliang.  Around 45minutes into the journey we came across a large traffic jam – no surprise there!  After about 40minutes moving slowly we came across what was causing the problem – a small van had
managed to drive into one of the large holes in the middle of the road.  However, just the front 2 wheels had managed to go in leaving the van tilting upwards in the middle of the road whilst the other vehicles had to drive around it extremely close to the edge of the mountain.

Once I arrived at the bus station in Yiliang, I met up with 2 of my students – Ma Jiaxun (15) & Yang Yunkai (16).  We headed to a Muslim restaurant that Ma Jiaxun’s parents owned and had a nice dinner consisting of cold salted beef, corn, beef soup, rice and some sort of chicken stew thing with tofu and cabbage.  We then went for a walk around town before heading to the supermarket and buying a yoghurt each.  Here, people eat/drink yoghurts with a straw eating/drinking them on the streets rather than in their homes.  When we had finished, Yang Yunkai took me on his moped back to the school – saving me some taxi money (not that it’d have been expensive anyway!).
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