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China, humour

China 18: Bad day by the side of the road

Copyright Elaine Canham, 2015

Copyright Elaine Canham, 2015

Continuing my 1985 diary of a trip to China

Today we are going to hitch to Golmud. Since it is a forbidden city, in a banned state, and hitch-hiking is banned, I’m slightly apprehensive. But apparently it’s been done before. The Chinese, being thoroughly practical, apparently don’t do anything terrible if they discover you, they just want to get you out of the area ASAP, and since we’ve got our passes to Lhasa, hopefully they’ll send us on in that direction.

We start out really early. It is dark and very cold. We walk right out of the town so as not to excite suspicion and when a truck comes along, we stick our thumbs out. No luck. Some trucks stop, and the drivers are very helpful, but none is going as far as Golmud. This is not going so well.

The day wears on and we decide to keep going until 3pm. No luck. Most of the trucks that go past are full to busting anyway, with people standing up in the back.

Decide to open a tin of corned beef, and even that is against us. The tab for the key has been soldered firmly to the can. We open it with a penknife and a rock. No more lorries stop. We sit about in the dust by the side of the road and dig out lumps of corned beef and bicker about what we should do. The girls are much braver than me. They’d take a truck half way to Golmud and chance it. They’ve been in China long enough to know what is possible. But I’m seriously concerned about only getting part of the way and ending up somewhere even more out in the boondocks than here. Especially as it’s in a state where the Chinese apparently do their nuclear testing and foreigners are not officially allowed in. There’s nothing to say, that if the Chinese police do decide to scoop us up, that they’ll be nice.

Also, none of us is very enthusiastic about standing for several days in the back of a truck. We talk some more. Cheryl gets her guide book and her railway timetable out. There is a bus from Cheng Du. We could get that. Or we could possibly fly. Although that might be expensive. We finish off the corned beef and agree to go to Cheng Du. It will mean our schedule is a bit buggered, but I’m quite relieved we’re keeping everything legal.

Back to the hotel.

About elainecanham

I started blogging because I'm a writer, and I thought I ought to. Now I realise that I blog because I like to; even when I can't think of much to say.


16 thoughts on “China 18: Bad day by the side of the road

  1. You were hitchhiking in China in the 80’s? Good God. You’re lucky you weren’t made into a people’s republic creepy lampshade.

    Posted by naptimethoughts | March 7, 2015, 1:30 am
    • Actually, much later, we met up with some guy who had been arrested in Golmud, and they made him sit down and write an essay about all his bad points, and then they let him go. I’d quite like to have done that…

      Posted by elainecanham | March 7, 2015, 8:22 am
  2. My goodness! Until now, I never knew that “Waiting for Godot” portrayed real life!

    Posted by Bruce Goodman | March 3, 2015, 7:47 pm
  3. Talk about guts, thumbing for rides outside of town, in the dark (for a while), hoping for rides with strangers. Oh my,
    I could n.e.v.e.r. have done that. 😀 😀 😀

    Posted by Let's CUT the Crap! | March 3, 2015, 6:22 pm
  4. You were braver than I would h ave been! What an adventure. I wonder if you would do it again (if you were that age now, I mean.) Things are so different, situations probably worse than they were then.

    Posted by Vivra Beene | March 3, 2015, 3:19 pm
    • I don’t know, Vivra. Once you get out there, every thing you do just seems perfectly normal. I’m not sure if you’d be able to do it now, either. Too expensive, for a kick off.

      Posted by elainecanham | March 3, 2015, 3:28 pm
  5. What a journey this is turning out to be. Still, one never to be forgotten.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    Posted by davidprosser | March 3, 2015, 11:52 am
  6. Yes. I can imagine that might have been more than a little scary. Glad you came out of it without too much drama

    Posted by Peter Wells aka Countingducks | March 3, 2015, 11:32 am
  7. You young ladies took quite a few risks in this adventure. So glad that it didn’t end bad.

    Posted by lbwoodgate | March 3, 2015, 11:10 am

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