Heading back to Chengdu in dubious style: a car with the driver and me in front, three adults and one baby in the back seat. A sign for Huanglong – I wonder if I will ever make it there.
Random glimpses: Prayer cloths, prayer flags, snow, Moslems, Tibetans, yurts and sad, roadside makeshift tents. Massive elevated road or train track construction, the engineering feats in China are astounding. Goats clinging to hillsides, sad yaks waiting to give tourists rides, and happy yaks grazing in fields. Horses with riders, pulling carts, grazing. Islamic places of worship with the classical ball spires topped with crescent moon, (in China that is what they all seem to have regardless what the actual buildings look like) one pagoda, mountainside dwellings.
Racks and racks of dried yak meat in Songpan outside nearly every shop, and in the hole in the wall place we stopped at to eat, rampant tourism gimmickry, Chinese flags prevalent again, ancient lookout towers -or so I assume. We were halted to. Bare crawl in a 4000+ metre tunnel, sirens blaring and flashing, along with impatient drivers who seem to think honking horns will make things go faster – it does not. I never did figure out why we were down to one lane.
The whole trip back was relatively quiet, I was not feeling too friendly due to the headache and having to make the decision to leave early.
Final assault on my nerves was being informed the the driver could not take me to my hostel because his license did not allow him to enter city limits. A bit of an argument ensued, a taxi was flagged down, my original driver thrust 100RMB to the taxi driver out of what I had paid to take me to the hostel. I my sweater behind in one of the vehicles. Good thing I was heading south. My headache was gone. Amazing.