The Never Ending Journey

To continue our journey we had get from Jiuzhaigou to Xi'an. Everyone that we spoke to told us that we would have to go back to Chengdu, retracing the 12 hour bus journey we had just made, then catch a train on to Xi'an. Our guidebook indicated that it should be possible to take a shortcut 8 hour bus ride to the town of Guangyuan which is on the Chengdu-Xi'an train line.

We went for the risky option and soon after leaving Jiuzhaigou we regretted it. The road was only sealed for the first hour and soon climbed up into mountains. The road weaved and curved around an absurd number of mountains and the potholes never stopped. There were many obvious landslide spots including one place where half of the road had recently fallen away. In other places boulders the size of prime movers sat on the road. At one point we had to wait whilst a van was pushed out of a muddy patch and then we crossed our fingers and prayed that our bus could get through.

The ride ended up being 12 hours, although it felt like more due to the extreme bumpiness. Also, the terrain and road conditions meant the bus went so slowly it felt like we weren't getting any closer to our destination. The obligatory stops for food and toilet were more rustic than we were used to, including one building which was a combined toilet and pig sty.

After arriving in Guangyuan, we managed to get a sleeper ticket to Xi'an (leaving at 3 in the morning) and we arrived just before noon the next day, 30 hours after we left Jiuzhaigou.

No comments: