7 April 2011
The smell, alcohol and feet. The surroundings, steel and glass. This is the Chinese sleeper bus. Three columns of double-deck steel frame single cots, joined at the back by a couple of five-wides. The suites, if you like.
I've named the bus Beibi. From my cot, I can see the characters bei 贝 and bi 比. Except that they aren't. We're travelling from Kunming 昆明 to Fugong 福贡, and my perspective has chopped the characters up into bitesize pieces. Someone else can have the bright sun and the lucky work.
We pulled out of Kunming at dusk, the setting sun behind the Western hills giving the impression we're bound for a glowing metropolis. Not so. We're going off the map, to the Nujiang valley, in the far west of Yunnan, against the Burmese border.
We're deeper in the night now. The bus's jets are roaring as we blast along a tarmac flightpath. The waxing moon is lit from below, and as the bus yaws, I see a giant white feather floating to the ground.
Newer: Cut off from what?