“The journey not the arrival matters.” - T. S. Eliot
23.12.2011 - 02.01.2012
Jiuzhaigou, December 27th 2011
Not to mention that this bus is supposed to be a bus for tourists, I couldn't cease to wonder how could one have such a manufacturing idea? With my hand gloves on, I rubbed the glass and it felt like coarse. The glass window must have been coated with what in my home country we call "kaca es" which means "ice glass". All my life, I have never ever known a vehicle manufactured with windows coated with "ice glass". Worse, all the way in this 10 hours journey, all I am going to see is white.
Suddenly our driver pushed the brake. The whole bus chorused "Ouwww!"
Since next to me was complete white and in front of me was complete brown (the bus seat), the only way to find out what was going on was by standing up. Ouwww!
A herd of sheep were crossing the road. Ah... this is the first time in my life witnessing sheep from other country in real life. The sheep here are plumper and cuter than the ones in my home country. For sure! There were 2 baby sheep trailing along at the back of the herd. Poor sheepy. Did Mom wake you up early in the morning? Are you cold?
As our bus ascended the mountain, the temperature seemed to drop lower and lower. I really wished I had brought along a thermometer besides a flashlight. When I walked out from my hostel and searched for a taxi, my super double clothing seemed to work well. I didn't feel like shivering. But now in the bus, where I am suppose to feel warmer, on the contrary I feel cold. I closed my knees tight, zippered up my jacket, kept my hat and hand gloves on.
At our first stop, a young guy put his hand over the bus' air condition's exhaust window. Ah, apparently he had had the same thought as mine. I was wondering also whether the air conditioning in this bus actually worked. When I was in Japan, during winter, buses and trains had been kind of a refuge to me because of the warmth inside. Well, the air conditioning in this bus also worked -- but not well enough to fight the severe cold.
When our bus started to move again, I noticed scratches on my neighbor's window. Hey!? Had someone been that frustrated with the cold that he or she scratched off the window's coating? Warm light pierced through the line scratches.
Errr... ?? I took off my hand gloves. I rubbed my fingers on my glass window. It's cold!
This is not "kaca es" or "ice glass" coating. This is real ice on glass!! Literally, glass coated with ice. Did the idea of "kaca es" come from events like this?
Using the bus' curtain, I tried harder to rub the ice off. Instead, part of the ice cracked! It looks like the bus window glass is cracked, but it's actually the ice on the window glass that cracked. Did the bus have a heater? I told you, it had. And yet, amidst (or because?) of the heater, the fog on the window glass frozed into ice. Do your physics and calculate how cold it must have been outside!
And you know what, just within a few minutes, the window glass I had deliberately rubbed off, started to blur out with frost again!
Let me show you how white was perfect white, and how the difference with the scrubbed window was, through this video clip.
This was when the day got brighter, meaning the sun was higher and warmer if not hotter. The ice frost on my window glass started to melt down.
As the ice frost melted down, I gasped. It was like wonderland being revealed in front of my eyes.
Some part of the river was frozen, some wasn't.
Please note that this is a shot made from behind a blurry window glass of a bus that was moving. It would have been more breathtaking if viewed through bare eyes.
China to me, seems to keep a specific unique landscape to itself.
We stopped by here for lunch. The food was rather expensive, I have to say, 25 CNY. But, the place, the table set, everything were clean. If you have traveled China in remote areas like this, you'll count 25 CNY worthwhile for the cleanness. Plus, needless to mention, the food itself was super tasty. When I say tasty, put in mind Sichuan spice.
That's my bus on far left.
Here's a close up of the bus. The bus that made me feel like riding in a refrigerator along a huge mega-ice-cube. If you are old enough (or were poor enough) to experience having a refrigerator with a freezer that's not frost-free, you can imagine what's in my mine.
This the road in front of the restaurant just now. I would like to ensure you all that the road from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou has already recovered from the earthquake damage. The remains of the ruins are still obviously scattered along the way (I will show it to you in my next post.), but the road is smooth already. It looked and felt, just like in this picture. All the way back and forth Chengdu - Jiuzhaigou, I just had to believe that my ancestors did build Great Wall. Building, with no doubt, just runs through the Chinese blood from generation to generation, from century to century. Take the bus from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, at least once, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Remnants of the earthquake? These stones were placed -- seemingly by purposed -- on the wall in front of our restaurant. Well, they are really worth to be displayed. I can't cease to imagine how much process these stones had gone through to develop such motives, layer by layer.
Back on the bus again. Looks like a painting, doesn't it?