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A Memoir from a Bus Ride

How I ought be grateful for what I have.

View Beauty and the Freeze on automidori's travel map.

Somewhere between Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu,
December 27th 2011

Other than the stunning landscape paraded in front of my eyes, 1 thing caught my attention, and another 1 became an unforgettable.

On my very first day in China more than a year ago, I was fascinated by this kind of public transportation. I took a picture of it from my bus on the way to Kunming. Now, I'm taking a picture from a bus again. But now it's not because of the vehicle, but because of the hand gloves wore by the driver. I noticed other drivers wearing these boxing hand gloves. However, it won't look this fascinating on a male driver. Yeah, I know how uncomfortable one's fingers can be when hit by the freezing wind while driving. When I rode a bicycle in winter without hand gloves, while I was in Japan, my fingers got bruises as if being slashed by a razor. But this hand gloves this woman is wearing is actually bigger than a boxer's hand gloves, I suppose. Look at her wrist! I'm sure she would have to take her hand gloves off whenever she accepts her passenger's money or when she needs to give change. Can she press the horn? Can she feel the light's switch? LOL. This is hilarious.

This one is opposite to hilarious. They were my seatmate in the bus. They didn't get on from the terminal. They got on not so long after we left the bus station in Jiuzhaigou. But we were already out of town... and still very very dark. If you have read my previous post about how dark it had been, maybe you can imagine how it couldn't have been any worse than darkness by the side of a road surrounded by walls of mountain side, left and right. No houses. Nothing. In other words, if a residential area could be that dark, how would a mountain area out of town be? That's where this daddy and daughter got on the bus.

But what I'm most concern is the cold, not the dark. I told you, even inside the bus I felt like trembling. How was it outside by the side of the road? How long had they been waiting for the bus to come? It would have been different if they had waited inside a bus station. Why should such a tiny little girl endure such a journey? You know, a 10-hours ride is still to be added to her agony of waiting by the side of the street in a total freezing dark. Her Dad clearly loved and cared for her. So why did a father have to put his daughter in such a condition?

Finance must have been the biggest reason. As far as I know, there are only 2 ways to get to Chengdu from Jiuzhaigou. It is by bus or by plane. Without any disrespect, judging by this little cute girl's clothes, they didn't seem like to be among those who can afford a plane ticket. Her clothes weren't like a beggar's clothe filled with patches. No, there weren't. They just looked like needing more thorough washing. But... who would do so while water from a broken pipe could turn into ice within just an hour? A washing machine or a water heater would be out of question. I don't think they had the luxury I had in my hostel. It was just a hostel, but it would be a luxury for people like them.

What broke my heart more was that all the way during the 10-hours bus ride up to Chengdu, this girl only cried twice and not for a long time. A young man behind us gave her a piece of cracker. She munched a quarter of it and fell asleep. As she munched the cracker, I noticed how her nails had grew long and rather black. Is her Mom still with her? Ah....

Later in the afternoon when she cried again, a lady behind us gave her a tangerine and a chocolate bar. This little girl looked at it, played with the tangerine, munched a little of the chocolate bar, and was quiet again through the rest of the journey. What a sweet girl! As if she understood not to weigh her Dad's heart much more.

This picture I took from my seat window while our bus stopped for gasoline. We were already in the city nearing Chengdu by then. I couldn't hold back my tears as I saw them. How I ought be grateful for what I have.

When we arrived at our final destination in Chengdu, I got off the bus and went to the travel agent's office who had been so kind to me helping me booking train tickets and showing my where to buy the bus ticket to Jiuzhaigou. Now that I've completed my journey to Jiuzhaigou, I wanted to thank her. We had a short conversation for awhile. Then when I stepped out of the office, I saw this farther and daughter sitting on the stairs of a neighboring shop. What are they waiting for? I wondered. If they had wanted to go somewhere, there are plenty of public buses here. Ah... if only I were a man, I could have offered them a ride by taxi, in case it's still somewhere inside Chengdu. I hurriedly walk pass them. It hurts seeing them, because I can't do a thing. But the memory of them, would never pass through my mind.

Posted by automidori 07:02 Archived in China Tagged bus china chengdu jiuzhaigou

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