Before I get to the final part of my story, I believe it is key to create the setting for you so that you can truly understand the final blog.
So, last thing I mentioned was that we decided to purchase sleeper bus tickets. And like I said, I thought a sleeper bus was an awesome idea... I stand corrected.
Side note: 2007 was a unusual year of weather for China. They had a blizzard and cold front that made it as far south as northern Vietnam. The temperatures dropped very low and caused problems all over China. Power outages, train crashes, and loss of lives all happened from this front. We were about to get on the bus the day the front started to make its way into our area of China.
When we purchased out tickets we asked about the time it would take to get to Chongqing. The time they gave us was about 17 hours. We left at around 5pm. That would put us in Chongqing around 11-12am the next morning. Keep this in mind!
Now to the setting of the bus. I will start off saying that the sleeper bus setup is nothing like I thought it would be. I expected this nice area for you to stretch out. That there would be plenty of room to sit-up and move around. I pictured a step up from a regular bus. Less people, and more room. Well, it was the complete opposite!! Instead there were 3 lines of beds. One down each side, and one up the middle. So, you might think, “hey, you still have plenty of room to sit-up.” Wrong!!! It was bunk beds! I was amazed that so many beds could fit in one bus.
Everyone knows that I am a rather large person. Both big and tall. So, I have learned over time that I never get the opportunity to travel comfortably. I have learned to just deal with it. What you may not know about me is that my feet are extremely claustrophobic. I cannot stand to have my feet pinned down or restricted in any way. Sleeping bags are not an option, and I cannot stand when people tuck sheets under mattresses at the foot of the bed. Well, the setup on this bus was my worst nightmare. Not only were the beds small but you tucked your feet under the bed in front of you. So, where my upper body laid was angled up, this allows for the feet of the person behind me to stretch under your upper body part of the bed. I had two problems with this. One, I was not putting my feet into that small area for 17 hours. Two, I was to long to do it even if I wanted too. Instead, I had to stratal the bed. One foot in one aisle, and the other foot in the other aisle. It was not comfortable at all.
Here are a few photos for you
You may have noticed that I still have all my winter stuff on in these pictures. One normally takes things off and gets comfortable on long rides. Well, one normally is not sitting on a bus in 5 degree weather, with no heat on the bus. That’s right, NO HEAT!!! It was COLD!!! And, if you look at the picture again you will see a blanket on me. Yeah, it only is big enough to cover just a small portion of my body. It really did no good.
Three more things real quick. In addition to the uncomfortable bed and no heat, we had to deal with smoking. People still do it here with no consideration for other people. So, we had about half the people on the bus smoking all the time. It left a constant haze in the air. Every time Emily opened the window to let some smoke out people would fuss at her for letting cold air in. I vote cold air over lung cancer any day, but that is just me. Then we had two Chinese movies playing on the TV over and over again. They came across as an early 80’s movie in America. A lot of smoking, gun fights, regular fights and half naked women. Kind of like any Steven Segal movie. Just bad acting all around. Then the third thing. A little kid was in the bed next to me with his grandmother, and this kid was scared to death of me. So, anytime I turned that way the kid would just start screaming in terror, even if I was just looking out the window he would start. So, I had to look forward or the opposite way.
For the final part of this adventure it will be important for you to remember all of this stuff. Especially the kid, the time to get there (17 hours) and the weather (cold and starting to snow).