Saturday, January 11, 2014

Xinjie

As I didn't want to risk being late for my bus,and because I didn't have anything better to do in Duoyishu anyway, I took a minibus to Xinjie about four hours before my bus was scheduled to depart. I picked up my ticket at the bus depot, and still had more than two hours to kill.

The two major streets meet at the bus depot in a vee;  the buses came and went by the right-hand one, so I strolled down the one I hadn't been down yet. Stopping along the way to buy some drinks from a young man at a little shop with his toddler daughter peeking over his shoulder from the carrier on his back, I soon came out onto a large public square, much larger than usually found in small Chinese towns.  Small towns here are usually huddled close, not wasting an inch of space. 

This large sunny square made a pleasant place for old people to gather around a game of mahjong or Chinese chess, or to just sit and smoke together meditatively.  The far end of the plaza ended in a railing; from this terrace the deep valley and rolling mountains beyond formed a vast panorama. 


I sat in a shady spot and read for a while, until I was interrupted ny a gregarious old man and used all of my limited Chinese I could think of to try to satisfy his curiosity about this strange foreigner sitting in his town square.  He recommended a new direction out of the square as a good direction to sight-see; I wondered off that way as our conversation was getting frustrating as I had already used up all the Chinese I knew, but he was still asking questions anyhow.  I didn't want to wander too far down steps I knew I'd have to climb back up, but I did soon come across a reasonably large and well-stocked grocery store.  I took the opportunity to stock up on snacks, as I would be on the overnight bus by supper time, and I intended to get directly on a ten-hour bus to Lijiang once I got to Kunming, so I would need some meals for then, too.  I bought a spoon for the peanut butter I already had, plus side crackers, juice, chips ahoy cookies, and banana chips. 

I spent my last few minutes sitting in the bus station waiting room, reading and glaring at young men who lit up cigarettes upwind of me. And then we were off, on to the next stage of the adventure.

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