Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Desert

Our family moved from Bakersfield, CA about five years ago, so I don't rememeber really well how hot it was. But in Turpan, China, I think Bakersfield was beat. A native said that it was 44 degrees Celsius the day I was there, and if anyone wants to work out what that is in Fahrenheit, it would make my claim more impressive.

I prefer to give the more personal explanation of how hot it was. After a day of seeing the sights there (including ruins to a city which, when destroyed in the 14th century, was already over 1,000 years old), I took a sleeper bus to Dunhuang, where I am now.

The idea behind a sleeper bus, since I don't think we have them in America, is that there are three long rows of bunk beds. Each bed slopes downward so you don't slide back when the bus is in motion. In theory, you have enough room to lie down and sleep, so when they aren't playing Uighur music videos from the TVs hanging at the front, you can let the bouncing of the crappy Chinese roads lull you to bed.

In America, I'm short. In China, I'm too tall. (I can only imagine how difficult it would be for me here if I actually were tall.) I needed another six inches of space. I mentioned that the beds aren't flat; that makes it so that my feet have some pressure against the back of the bed in front of me.

Oh, and there was no air conditioning. Or it broke, or something. I only caught the gist of it in Chinese: things were not the way all the Chinese expected them to be.

I would lay on one side for an hour or two, half sleeping, then roll over and feel much cooler because the side of my body now exposed had been sweating. I think my neck was sweating the entire night.

Sleeping on my side worked the best since then I could bend my legs a little. If I laid on my back, my knees splayed out to the side and it looked like I was trying to do yoga without sitting up.

I'm still in a desert-y area, about to go see the best Buddhist cave art ever and then tonight slide down sand dunes or something before getting on a sleeper train (which are much better, but more expensive) to Lanzhou.

For those paying attention, my sleeper bus experience did mean that I sweated all night, am sweating today, and will board a train tonight. My plans after that are tentative but likely won't include much sitting around; I will definitely take a shower when I get back to Chengdu in a few days, though.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so you can appreciate how miserable you were without air conditioning, 44°C=111°F. Which is warmer than Bakersfield where it is supposed to be 102°F on Friday.
Mrs. Bfld