Tuesday, July 22, 2008

i was tempted to reference harry potter in this title, and then, i decided not to.

at the start of the summer, young, wide-eyed, impressionable maeve loved travelling on the red-eye wonder that is the sleeper bus. the cozy cocoon-esque doubledecker beds seemed mystical and glorious. even as the yunnan mountainous terrain sent the bus winding around corners, i believed in these vehicles, i lived for them. well, this past week i have opened a new chapter in my life entitled 'die sleeper bus, die!'

our journey across the southern silk road, where we picked up a travelling breakdancing spaniard along the way, began with a sleeper bus. it had been the first one in awhile and after a night on the hard seaters, we were giddy for it. turns out lonely planet hasn't kept up with the chinese times--surprise, surprise--and what was supposed to be a 16-hour ride was actually cut down to 6-hours. so, we never actually slept in that guy. bummer.

flash forward a week. after an incredible experience in kashgar and karakul lake where we rode on motorcycles with locals, had a funny birthday celebration with some brits and aussies--if you see me ask me about the thailand prison and shanghai kindergarten stories--we boarded the 25-hour bus from kashgar to urumqi--trivia for ya'll: urumqi is the furthest city from the sea...in the world. neat! once again, after a few terrible normal bus experiences, we were looking forward to laying down...fuck that. not a fun way to spend a whole day.

a day later, without any other mode of transportation, we had to ride another overnighter. this time, we got to choose our beds, and since the back of the bus had beds that were completely flat, we jumped all over them. so, i know that the back of the bus is the cool place to be. you know, the hot spot for truth-or-dare, roll-calls, or if you were a member of the 2000 8th grade parker boys soccer team...wait, no, shouldn't bring that up. anyways, that rule does not apply here. the word 'bumpy' doesn't even give those 17 hours justice.

finally, last night, as i stepped onto my final sleeper bus, i had a good feeling about it. the beds were the best that we had seen. completely flat and longer, too... i could almost completely stretch out. it would be a good night. well, of course, about two hours in, the damn machine broke down. we waited for another two hours for a second bus to come, but when it came, it turned into a free-for-all of who could get a seat. luckily we scored the first two top bunks--learning from our last mistake. dear sleeper buses, you've served your purpose and for that i thank you. now, peace brah.

so yeah, tomorrow i head to the beijinger where some friends will try to convince me that it isn't the filthy, disgusting place that it really is. don't worry, they won't succeed. on friday, i will be departing chiner. to be honest, i am fucking terrified to return to the states... how do i socialize with people, again? but, then i think about a hot dougs hot dog, and i almost pee myself.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

lip my stocking

hola amigos. what's the deal? i know it's been a long time since i've rapped at ya, but the health fairy ain't been dropping dolla bills under my pillow these days. i caught some sort of bug last week, which left me coughin, sweatin, and not sleepin. but, now, the clouds are starting to part and the suns a shinin. so, anyways, now that all your burgers have been grilled, hot dogs charred, potato salads picked at, ya'll might be wondering, how the hell do you celebrate fourth of july in china. well, children, here's one way:

ok, first, i gotta give a brief introduction. i don't know if i have mentioned this already or not, but i seriously believe that the movie 'lost in translation' played a major role in my decision to study chinese. i'm not a fool, i know the movie takes place in tokyo, but chinese is just so hip these days, i caught the sino-fever. i remember watching it for the first time, though, and there was something about those neon lights and how out of place bill and scarlet looked/felt that pulled me in. and, the karaoke scene, of course. i mean, who wouldn't want to wear a pink wig, sing epic ballads off tune with local asian friends. so yeah, that has been a major fantasy of mine for some time.

flash forward: july 4, 2008. chynna and i check out the terracotta soldiers in the morning. i feel awful. no appetite, my head is pounding and my bowels are just being cruel to me. fourth of july is looking grimm for maeve. by the afternoon, after some advil and rest, i'm feeling much better. we start playing some pool--we have one rule this summer: whenever we see a pool table, we have to play. it's been awesome--when all of a sudden a group of chinese girls walk in and chynna gets really excited. you see, these ladies are not just any chinese broads, but in fact, the chicks that chynna met the night before when i had gone to be wicked early. chynna had been reading in the hostel bar/cafe area when the aforementioned group started talking to her. eventually, they asked her if she 'liked girls'. apparently they assumed that we were a lesbian couple travelling around together. after chynna laughed-- we are fully aware that we do indeed look like a gay couple. in fact, we have decided that the title of my memoir will be: 'my summer in china; or how i became a lesbian'... we're still working on the spelling...--she returned the question to which she received a positive response. our first real chinese friends=a group of lesbians... yes! so, they came back on the 4th and, wait for it, took us out to KTV (karaoke in private rooms)! really, no words to describe the euphoria. no offense america, but i don't think your silly little barbeques, parades and sparklers will ever rival pouring my heart out to whitney and celine, wearing a pink wig (!) and bonding with a group of dope chinese lesbians. bob harris would have been proud.

whew. long. ok. so tonight we begin our journey west... starting with a 16-hour train ride in hard seaters. glory god help me!