Monday, 9 June 2008

Down the Mountain

When it finally came time to leave the rainbow, we packed our things and started the hike down the mountain. For some reason, walking back down was much harder than the way up; Littletree needed a lot more motivation to keep walking.

By then my sprained ankle was pretty much healed, though it still feels weak, Purple had injured his knee somehow and 106 truckfound walking difficult. Luckily a few other people started walking down and helped us with the bags so I could carry Littletree in the sling, but it still took a long time to get to the bottom where we could hitch hike.

After waiting quite a whiles, we got a ride on this crazy little truck, which seems to be the vehicle of choice in that mountainous area.

Back in the village of Mao Gan, we hung out for all of ten minutes, just enough to have a look around, feed Littletree an ice cream and see the market, before the local minibus came to take us to a bigger town with buses back to Sanya. 108 mao ganMao Gan is quite the "one horse town"; here's the main drag:

There was one old woman who came up to gawk at us, she seemed so frail and skinny, but somehow radiating a confident power. She had this awesome hand woven cloth on her head, probably antique, which reminded me of my best friend, who collects and deals in such things. I showed the woman my camera and made a kind of questioning gesture to which she nodded. After I snapped the shot, I showed her the photo (ahh the joy of modern digital technology!), she jumped up 109 womanlaughing and shouted excitedly like a small child at Christmas. It was very cool.

So after a long bus-ride back to Sanya, quite exhausted, we got the local bus back to the rainbow house, only the conductor didn't want to let us on the bus. We knew it was the bus we want, and standing with all our backpacks, I kind of pushed our way on. They refused to take the bus fare from us and kept trying to convince us that we should get off. Eventually, the bus driver showed me the list of the bus route, and got me to understand that the bus wasn't going there. confused, we got off and took the next bus. no problem.

Arriving at the Rainbow house, the rainbow sign was gone, and there was a big padlocked gate keeping us out. we climbed around to the back of the house, to find everything dark and locked up. We thought we could, in the worst case, at least put up our tent and sleep on the beach, but even the water wasn't running! Seemed like something had happened, but we didn't want to leave, mostly from being too exhausted, but also because a friend of ours had helped us by carrying one of our bags down the mountain, with the plan to meet at rainbow house. So we waited.

Thankfully, it was all just a co-incidence. After about half an hour, someone arrived to open up the Rainbow house - the main caretaker of the place had gone back to his home in Sichuan, where his family had been sadly devastated by the earthquake, and everyone else had been at work. The rainbow sign was still there, it had just blown around in the wind so we couldn't see it. The water came back on shortly after - just a freak outage. All was well.

We stayed 2 days in Sanya, made an adventure out to the train station to buy train tickets to Shenzhen for our flight (we found out that flying to Shenzhen was cheaper than taking a sleeper on the train, but since Littletree didn't have to pay for the train, it would be less than plane tickets).

The train was a great adventure. I'm so glad we decided to splurge on first class tickets - we had a cabin to ourselves with four beds (though we'd only bought tickets for 2 beds, luckily no one else was booked in our cabin), and it was a very comfortable 16 hours.

We played Fish, we ate a lot of noodles; in China there is everywhere (even on the trains) little taps dispensing boiling water for tea or instant noodles. everyone just drinks green tea all the time, and eats a lot of instant noodles. The train even went onto a ferry to get off Hainan Island to the mainland. The crossing took about an hour, it seemed, though there was a lot of shunting back and forth to get all the train carriages onto the boat. Definitely riding a train on a boat is something I've never done before!115 train sequoia

We arrived to Guangzhou city at 9am to wait for a local train to take us to Shenzhen at 5pm. Guangzhou is the kind of place you go to if you want to buy 100,000 pairs of shoes or half a million DVD players. We browsed around shops, and bought Littletree a new personal DVD player, which was incredibly cheap, and predictable, already stopped working.

All the connections back to Bangkok were pretty easy, though we got to the airport a little early and had to hang out doing nothing for a while. Then we arrived to Bangkok after midnight, dreading our chances of finding a room that late.

Amazingly, our arrival was as if angels were leading the way! Usually one arrives to Bangkok, you walk off the plane and down about 2 miles of corridors to get out. Luckily, we got to disembark from the plane onto a bus, which deposited us directly in front of the immigration office, where we breezed through to find ourselves immediately in front of our baggage carousel, with our bags being some of the first to come out. we sailed right by customs and into a taxi, maybe 20 minutes from getting off the plane! A new record :D

Being so late at night, there was little traffic, and with the driver doing 120kph all the way into town, we arrived to our neighbourhood really quickly. Purple stayed with his bags and injured knee while I took Littletree to find a room. Against all hope, I tried first at our favourite place, which is always full up by noon every day.

Incredibly, they had a room free, and not just any room - one even better than our usual favourite room - on the quiet side of the house, a large airy wooden room, with a balcony and a double and a single bed!!!! For 200 Baht - about $6! I almost cried with joy and kissed the night man. Unable to believe our luck, we fell asleep, exhausted, and glad to be home.


  1. I have really been enjoying following your Rainbow Journey since leaving OZ. This last place was amazingly beautiful, not something you expect when told China. Blessings and save travels to you all and thanks for sharing.

    I am still pondering how all these rainbow folk can afford to travel the world for gatherings LOL

  2. What happiness! So relieved to hear you're home, safe and sound, and that you had an awesome Rainbow!!!

  3. Yes, good and restful at the end.

    What a fun adventure!


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