On our fourth day we had to wake up even earlier than the days before. We had to catch a bus that would take us to Jiuzhaigou – a huge national park famous for its turquoise lakes and deep blue pools – in 10 hours. We were excited that we would finally be able to see this beautiful place but we didn’t feel like going on a 10-hour bus ride into the mountains.
Plus, when we entered the bus, we realized that 1. we were the only non-chinese tourists and 2. that Ana and me were sitting in the crammiest back row seats I have ever seen.
Anyway, the bus ride did really feel like 10 hours. It was driving through winding streets up to the mountains. We were snacking, sleeping and trying to read. Unfortunately, I have been having a huge reading slump with A Clash of Kings, the second installment of A Game of Thrones and the bus ride felt even longer than it already was. Once in a while I was able to take some snaps out of the back window.
When we finally arrived at the bus station, we first had to check out where to take the taxi to, because the valley consisted of different villages and our hostel was in a quite small one. They helped us at the bus station but there were just too many clueless people like us trying to find their way. When we finally made it to a taxi he took us to probably the tiniest village I have ever seen. The taxi driver was a little bit confused about the exact location of the hostel as well. He brought us to the end of a street and told us that our hostel was up the street. We paid and tried to find it, but it wasn’t there. We searched through the place and aske a chinese woman who couldn’t speak any word of english. She tried to help us, asked for a phone number which we didn’t have and then also asked another man passing by. They were really helpful, but it was all for nothing. We couldn’t find it. They left us and I was starting to panic. I suggested to take the taxi back to the city centre and look for a hotel there. Luckily, Ana managed to calm me down and suggested to look inside that one hostel in fron of us. We went in and the hallway was empty. There were rooms but it didn’t seem like anyone was in there. At the end of the hallway we saw a stairway leading up to a room from which we could hear voices and noises. Ana waited for me downstairs with our suitcases and I went up and knocked on the door.
When I opened a door I saw two young girls approximately my age, a young guy, two older women and one older man sitting and having dinner. I went inside and I tried to tell them in a mix of english and chinese if they knew where this hostel was. While the two young girls approached me immediately and spoke english to me, of the elder ladies who was standing in front of the stove pushed a bowl of rice into my hands and insisted to eat it. I was overwhelmed by such warmth and kindness that I felt my eyes burning. My voice was shivering now, too and as the girls told me that they knew where the hostel is, I felt so relieved. I told them that my friend was waiting downstairs and they told me to fetch her up so we could have dinner and warm up.
We were eating rice and some vegetables. Then she offered us the most delicious Baozi I have ever eaten. It had walnuts inside and although I don’t like walnuts, it was one of the best things I have eaten in China.
The lady was one of the nices people I have ever met in my life. She wasn’t able to speak our language. She probably didn’t know anything about our countries. We could have been robbers or killers, but she welcomed and accepted us without fearing or judging us. It was obvious that this family wasn’t wealthy. They were sitting in a little room, 6 people crammed together and were ready to share their food with strangers. In this moment I realized that kindness never has to do anything with money or education and this is the most important feat a human being can have.
After we finished with our meal, we asked if we could take a picture, so one of the girls took a picture with us and their aunts and uncle and it is one of my most favourite pictures I have taken in China.
The girls helped us and we finally found our hostel. Then, they invited us to a Karaoke evening with them and all of their cousins.
Our hostel’s owner was a very friendy young mother and she welcomed us in a friendly way. She also offered us dinner but we told them that we already ate.
After checking into our overly cold room we got ready and met the girls. They took us to the city centre and we picked up some more cousins. One of the cousins’ parents has a souvenir stand with a lot of beautiful things. I bought a bracelet for our family friend’s mum and a mirror for my mum.
The KTV we went to was probably the most beautiful KTV I have been to. One of the reasons was that the rooms had their own toilets, so you didn’t have to use the disgusting public toilets. The ones at KTVs are always so dirty and disgusting that sometimes, I refused to use them.
It was so much fun to sing with those girls. There were so many of them :’D
Unfortunately, the germs of that woman in Leshan that sneezed on Ana caused her to feel a bit tired and sick so we told the girls that we wanted to go back to our hostel. They had drunk beer though, so they told one of their cousins to drive us back. We didn’t know him, so we were a bit suspicious, but she said that we could trust him. So we did, and he brought us back to the hostel safely.
It was an unbelievable day with a fun and unexpected ending.
Have ever had such an experience with locals offering you food and shelter? Tell me in the comments, I would be so interested to know.
Thanks for travelling with me!
In the next post, you will finally see the wonderful colours of that place.