Globe Trotting and New Beginnings

The Bitch Seat – A “Refugee Camp Disco” Experience

Posted on: November 7, 2009

“Camp”

In order to get from Yangshuo to Hong Kong, we decided to take a “Luxury Sleeper” bus from Yangshuo to Schenzen and then walk the border to Hong Kong. After 10,000 Kilometres of overland travel, how hard could a 10 hour overnight “Luxury Sleeper” bus be? The bus had three columns of double story sleepers (one along the right windows, one in the middle (the bitch sleeper) and one along the left windows). Each column was divided into about 10 beds. I was lucky enough to get the lower middle sleeper right in front of the bus, the Bitch Seat.  Even though each “bed” was sized comfortably for your average 5’2″ human being, a very thick and comfortable blanket was provided, which would have been ideal if we were in Siberia, not South China. Once we were all tucked into our undersized beds while reading books, eating snacks and generally hanging out, it felt like I was at a Camp.

IMG_2842

Ready for the Ride

IMG_2841Camp Bus

“Refugee Camp”

The bus had 4 conductors. Not sure why. Once the bus had left Yangshuo, we were all ready to sleep. However, two of the conductors also sleep half the night, while the other two talk loudly to the driver, possibly to ensure that he stays awake. Now, on a full bus, where would these two conductors sleep, you might ask yourself. Well, they have extra blankets, which they lay on the aisle and use as a bed. The conductors decided to make their beds on the available aisle space on either side of me! So in addition to being squeezed vertically (remember the 5’2″ bed), I was horizontally challenged by two chinese men lying down next to me. It was a conductor sandwich, with chinese bread and Indian (halal) meat. It felt like a Refugee Camp.

IMG_2851

Left Side Conductor

“Refugee Camp Disco”

An hour into our journey, the bus started traversing unpaved and bumpy roads. In addition, the bus driver, finding loud conversations of the conductors not enough to stay awake, decided to smoke a cigarette every 10 minutes for the rest of the ride. This was especially noticeable in the bitch seat! Moreover, the ambitious driver took every opportunity to maneuver around slower trucks and buses by overtaking them from the oncoming traffic lane. Having the luxury of being in the middle and right up front, it was quite “interesting” having glaring headlights of oncoming traffic in my face every few minutes. The cramped quarters, smell of smoke, head-bobbing bumpy ride, loud conversation and flashing lights reminded me of a Disco. Ah, a nice Refugee Camp Disco.

IMG_2857Sleeping well in a non-bitch seat

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