Sunday, January 12, 2014

Overnight Bus

Well, technically it took four buses-two long-distance buses and two city buses-to get from Yuanyang to Lijiang. 

I took a sleeper bus out of Xinjie at 6:30; if you've never been on a sleeper bus, it's a bus with bunks inside instead of seats.  Although the bunks are necessarily quite narrow, they are usually quite comfortable.  Usually the bunks are not totally flat, but reclining.  The raised part under the pillow provides a cubby-hole for the person behind to stretch their feet into.  Low rails help keep everyone from rolling out into the aisle in the case if a sharp turn.  Each bunk is provided with a rather flat and abused-looking pillow and a thick warm comforter.  To keep the bunks clean, everyone takes off their shoes up ny the driver's seat and carries them in a plastic bag, which the conductor is handing out.  I took a picture, but on my camera and not my phone.  I may attach it to this post later on when I get around to loading my pictures onto the computer. 

The journey from Kunming to Yuanyang typically only takes six or seven hours, which would put us arriving in Kunming in the middle of the night.  I wasn't sure if this overnight was a good idea in that case, as I didn't want to be ejected into the south bus station hours before the city buses would start running, but Jacky explained that the bus would take its time, arriving in Kunming at three or four in the morning, but then it would park outside in the bus terminal parking lot, and we could stay on it and sleep until morning. 

While there was still light, I put up with the wind in my face and kept my little window open, taking pictures of the terraced hills as we wound through them. As I got on at 6:30, I figured I'd read and listen to music for several hours before I would feel sleepy, but nearly as soon as it got dark I couldn't concentrate on what I was reading.  It wasn't much after eight when I stowed anything valuable down under my feet and curled up with my comforter.  I fell asleep quite quickly. 

I woke up when the lights came on when we stopped at rest areas a couple of times during the night, but I was too warm and comfortable to bother getting out of my bunk.  It may seem strange, but I slept better object the bus than I had at the guest house the night before. 

I woke up around five and realized we were parking Kunming, but had no desire to get out in the cold just yet, as buses wouldn't be running yet.  I stayed comfortably dozing in my bunk until I made myself get moving about seven thirty. 

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