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.