As old fashioned as my jacket looked stood my faith.
23.12.2011 - 02.01.2012
Jiuzhaigou, December 26th 2011
Remembering how cold the wind became yesterday as soon as the day started to get dark, I decided to search for dinner right away. No instant noodle, I promised myself.
The big and rather crowded restaurant I passed by yesterday was closed. It was by contrary in complete silence. The chairs were turned over on the tables. Was it on business yesterday because it was Sunday?
I passed by an icy path which I already passed by yesterday. I had thought that snow had fallen the night before. However, I wondered how come the ice was only on a small part of the road? Now, under the day's light that was still bright, I could see that that trace of ice leaded to under the wheels of a car. There were 2 traces of ice from the left and right side of the car. Obviously someone had washed the car and the waste water turned into ice. Wow!
I determined myself to walk farther then I had yesterday. Who knows there are restaurants there. To my surprise, I saw the guest houses I read about in the internet. They were the frequently mentioned guest houses by backpackers going to Jiuzhai Valley National Park. Those guest houses that claimed to be at the entrance of the park or to be a 15-minutes-walk to the park, turned out to be rather further away than my hostel: 九寨沟自游国际青年旅舍 or Jiuzhaigou Self Tour Youth Hostel to the park. As a matter of fact, I took a taxi to the park and if I had walked, I don't think my little feet would make it within 15 minutes. I already tried to find out during my morning walk. But after 5 minutes of walking and seeing nothing close to an entrance, I retrieved.
Ignore my advice if you come from places of high altitude. Pay double attention if you aren't a regular exerciser. You'd better take a taxi which only cost 5 to 10 yuan to get to the park and save your energy for exploring this enormous breathtaking park instead of walking and arriving at the park out of breath. Spare enough breath for the hilly park to take. If you are determined to please your eyes, not to mention your camera, energy and vitality are the requirements. I rather be dispelled from the backpackers community, but stay wise. Take a taxi.
The area of those guest houses mentioned here and there in the internet seemed livelier than the area near my hostel. I saw a hostel that had air conditioning. I took a picture of the hostel and I'm thinking of staying there when I return in autumn. Several guest houses (or hostels) had cafes (or restaurants) on the first floor. However, at this time, they were meaningless to me. They were all closed!
I crossed the street and walked back towards the direction of my hostel. I stopped by at a mini market to buy another bottle of mineral water and milk. Just several steps away from the store, I was startled by a loud sound. Wooshh! A big long truck passed by in full speed. I pressed my hand on my chest.
Hahaha! An old man was standing in front of me. He laughed, said something while pointing at the truck. He was the owner of the restaurant I had breakfast this morning. As if completely aware that his restaurant was the only one opened for business, he pushed his door aside and welcomed me in.
I had no other choice but to go in. It wasn't a bad choice anyway. As I mentioned in previous post, the meal this morning was in fact my best ever breakfast in China. I didn't go back straight to this restaurant just now, because I thought I would try something different since it would be my last evening in Jiuzhaigou. The last one in this trip, I mean.
I picked up a different menu. It wasn't as yummy as the noodle this morning. Too much veggie. Eeewww... But it was good. 10 yuan. This time the old man didn't give me a spoon. Maybe he saw already this morning that I could use chopsticks. Thus, I drank the gravy directly from the bowl. In my home country, that would be considered impolite, especially for a lady.
In this restaurant I had a warm conversation with a young couple from Shanghai. They were fluent in English. I recognized the girl was at the park this afternoon because of her bright yellow coat.
"You have just returned from the park, haven't you?"
The man looked at me surprised. "Yes, we've been there."
"I remember you because of your jacket," I said to the girl.
She laughed child-likely. She stood up and turned round left and right like a child showing off her new dress to her mom. "Look!" She stretched her T-Shirt and pointed at the picture of stacks of golden coins on it. "I like this shirt. I have a lot of money."
"Hahaha. Yeah, you are rich!" I replied.
The man admired me for 2 things. First, needless to mention, for traveling solo all the way from Indonesia. Second, for taking a bus from Chengdu instead of a flight. I ensured them that the road was smooth already and the scenery was worth the effort. He told me that his wife (or girlfriend?) had once drove alone from Chengdu up to Jiuzhaigou. But that was before the earthquake. Her wife was originally from Chengdu.
Meanwhile I was done with my meal and stood next the couple's table. I heard the old man said something behind me. I turned my head. I assumed he was asking whether I was through.
"Wǒ bù xǐhuan cài," I managed to say.
The next thing I also guessed. He seemed to be telling me that vegetable is good for my health.
"So by the way, you bought winter clothes just for coming to Jiuzhaigou?" The young man said again.
I just nodded and laughed. That would be a long story. The only thing I wore that was newly-bought was actually just my shawl. The rest of it were silent proofs of faith from more than 10 years ago. As old fashioned as my jacket looked stood my faith.
On the way back to my hostel, I met a bigger surprise than traces of ice from under a car. Just now on my way before the early dinner, I had seen a house pipe leaking at the joint. Water sprayed out strongly from between the joint. Guess what I saw now? That spray of water had frozen around the pipe joint! I paused there and my mouth must surely have been opened. Within only an hour, that spray of water is now a sculpture of ice like the frozen fall in the park this morning? Plumbers in Jiuzhaigou must be jobless during winter.
I hurriedly walked back to my hostel. Ice seemed to be filling my ears.