"Time to Saayyy Goodbyeeee"

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Opera, Flew, Settled In

Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Monday, August 22, 2011

Night before we leave Chengdu - Sechuan Opera - a big fat lady singing things you'll never understand? Not a chance. Somewhere between Britains Got Talent (but with talent) and the Royal Variety, me and Kate attended a show lasting just over an hour which included classical dance, a wierd comedy routine with a man dressed in a baby suit wearing a tea light on his head, shadow puppet theatre (awesome), a face changing dance (very traditional), and a superb guy on a lute playing first a slow chinese plinky tune which dramatically stepped up to a dance anthem which would be enjoyed by the crowd at the ministry of sound. Very enjoyable, very surreal and a grand way to say goodbye to the very friendly and comfortable city of Chengdu.

Anal and nervy as ever I insist with the 'becoming far too comfortable with all this travelling thing' Kate on an early start giving us 3 hours to get to the airport (10 miles from the hostel - but I am feeling especially nervy today) for our 10.30am flight.
We get to the bus stop in plenty of time but just miss the first bus, a matter of seconds - "what shame, if only we hadn't got stuck chatting to that ridiculously annoying oaf in reception boasting about his travelling and how it's his birthday soon and what a party he'll have in Beijing... boring..boring...boring - ah well we'll only eat slightly into our massive contingency of 3 hours. We only have to check in 30 minutes before the flight."
Next bus turns up, good stuff - I give the lady the exact fare after understanding her mandarin for 20. Very proud of myself, I grin broadly as I step onto the bus. Progress.
And then onto the magical mystery tour where the Airport shuttle bus driver (Only one stop- airport) decides to double back on himself to avoid the traffic apparently caused by US Vice President whoever - not important, and neither is he. But what a clever driver, I like his independant thinking.
Damnit, the police have blocked this alternative route, but Mr flexible bus driver just re-routes again. After half an hour leaving the hostel we pass the road the hostel is on - "ok, it's slow, but it's progress and we're moving".... and then we're not.
We stop..we go nowhere for 45 minutes as US vice president decides that america isn't the only country that should be in ruins at the moment, China needs to be disrupted too. The first time in 17 days of several cities, the traffic does not move...at all - people try to turn around, and are barely able to as the traffic has stopped. full stop.
Time ticks by and I frown at Kate in that way that sai\ys " I told you we needed 4 hours at least" and she looks ahead angry in the "what a smug git" kind of way. My mind starts thinking of what the hell we're going to do if we miss the plane. It isn't worth thinking of... but then we have to start thinking of it..45 minutes to take of and 10 miles to the airport.
We're off... everything free's up. US VP decides to go for a coffee or something but we're moving. There maybe a chance. We pull up to the airport, get pushy with the chinese, grab our bags and run up to departures, I find our desk as we scale the escalator. We get redirected to queue at the 'desperately late but you still stand the slightest chance' queue , and find ourselves giving the lady our ticket at 10.00am. The clock ticks over to 10.01 as our bags slide down the luggage shute. Could not be closer. We comfortably walk through security to gate B4 (as close as a gate could be to security) and straight onto the plane. I wasn't worried for a second...honest.
The plane then stands dormant for an hour before leaving. Typical.

As we cruise along at 18000 feet or whatever it is and I look out of my window seat listening to Bruno Mars with a satisfied somewhat relieved smile on my face, I reflect on the 3D map unfolding beneath me through the clouds, What a wonderful place, what lucky people we are.

Lijiang.....Wow.
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