Stranded on the other side of the world

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Flag of China  , Chongqing,
Monday, August 3, 2009

This story comes from my trip through the province of Sichuan china. we we traveling around the middle of the mountains while my aunt was learning about minority's in china. we we basically in the middle of nowhere, but we saw some amazing sites. some places we went we were sure we were the first foreigner to go there. here is a story from the trip.

  I felt sweat trickling down my face as the liquids in my body left
me. It was stupid of me to drink almost all my water when we were
sitting in the van. Well I was learning fast never to do that again.
The water of the yang ze river flowed in front of me tauntingly. The
worst part of it all was I was literally in the middle of no where.
If we choose to go back it would mean 3 hours of driving on the edge
of a cliff winding back and forth and if we choose to keep going
forward it would mean a half hour of walking with 3 backpacks and a
suit case up and down the sides of the mountain along the river. And
the longer we stayed where we were worse our situation got.

My grandma, my aunt, her friend and I were travel ling through
southern Szechuan province, china. Meeting and learning about
different minority groups in the area. We were on our way back home
and decided to take a short cut through the mountains rather than
around them. This involved catching a boat going up the river from a
little village. That’s all I knew. It didn’t sound too difficult
to me.

The problem was when we finally got to this village they started
panicking all the boats left the shore. They evacuated there children
and stayed as far away from us as possible. Somebody threw a rock at
my aunt when she tried to communicate with them. This is how I ended
up in this crazy situation.

So here were stuck on the beach. The van that dropped us off had
already left. 2 hours trickled by. We sat down discussing what to do,
actually more along the lines of what could we do. Just as we were
about to pay for a way over priced ride back to where we came from. A
man on a donkey came along. He was a short farmer from somewhere out
in the mountains. That’s about all I could understand seeing as
there was an obvious language barrier between me and just about
anything in this country. Him and my aunt talked for awhile.

He explained of the swine flu scare that was going on in the area
and that we were probably the first foreigners these people had ever
seen, so obviously we had swine flu to them. He told us that there
was a little police station about a half hour up the path. That would
help us out. So we decided to go for it.

I carried a lot of the weight seeing as my 74 year old grandma and my
not so healthy aunt were with me. Up and down we went, 15 minutes of
walking. then 30 minutes, then 45. when we hit an hour we had to
regroup. What was going on, obviously this Chinese farmer had a bad
sense of time or something. We sent my aunts friend ahead to figure
out if there was anything up there, seeing as he was the fastest. And
we kept on walking. I had been dehydrated now for about 3 hours. It
was one of the worst feeling I had had in my life, and what was I
going to do. I had to just keep walking there were no other options.

An hour later we met back up with my aunts friend. There was a boat
on itsway to pick us up. All I could do was sit there and thank every
higher power I could think of at the time. We got picked up and the
boat took us another 10 minutes up the river. I was so tired and
thirsty, I couldn’t even think straight. We got to the police
station if you could call it that. It was a couple rooms in a small
building that had a lot of beer and ramen noodles. Obviously they
were living the life. When they realized thirsty we all were, me in
particular they brought out a 5 gallon jug of water and I drank about
half of it myself before nearly puking. They gave us a small room
and a cot for each of us. I like to point out that there is some big
spiders in china especially in little rooms in the mountains that
don’t get used very often. The next day we all set out with high
hopes, we had a boat to take us to where we planned on going. It
would be a nice easy day.

We got in the boat and it took us scenically up the river for about
a half hour. Then we got out. He said couldn't take us any farther
because the water level was to low for the boat to make it through,
and the trail we were needed to take had been partially wiped out by
land slides. What great luck we had. We decided to try it anyway. We
couldn’t turn back after all we had been through, especially now
that we were so close. So we attempted to make it. We walked on a 2
foot wide narrow path on the edge of the mountain with our luggage in
hand. We were about ten minutes in when we hit a small section that
was partly wiped out. I was able to get over it, but for 74 year old
grandma who had taken a tole on her body already yesterday. It wasn’t
going to happen. She started slipping down the hill. I grabbed her
but she couldn’t get back up on the path. She couldn’t get back
up on the path so there was only only one option. We had to slide
down the hill grabbing a hold of things to control our speed. When we
got to the bottom all hope was really gone.

The boat driver knew that we were not going to make it so he stayed
there waiting to get a second pay day for the ride back. The only
thing we could do now was turn around. After all that work, it had to
end like that. It was a horrible feeling but it was what was going
to happen. The boat driver gave us a ride back to the beach we paid
him and then found the over priced van driver who was our only option
to get to the mining town 2 hours away. And from there we would have
to back track another 5 hours through the mountains.

I came out of this experience as a changed man. I will remember it
the rest of my life, for good or for bad it. In the end though we all
made it out unharmed and lucky to be alive in some ways and I am
happy for that.
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Aunt Doreen on

Wow! Great writing!
You forgot the 8 stitches in Grandma's mouth.
You didn't mention that I had to kowtow with my face to the ground and with tears before the truck diver's wife before he would take us back to the main road, since they were still fearing the swine flu.
Yes, this changed all of us and gave us a good story.
I wonder how it changed the folks there. I wonder what stories they tell of us!Ha!

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