The rains came

It rained. And then it rained some more.

We hunkered down in Lijiang for a couple of days – everything damp. Cold.

We had heard about the flooding across the south of China, and were appalled by the TV news. Much of the country, including Yunnan province, had suffered from a severe drought for the last two years, so when the torrential rains came, they wrought havoc – the parched land couldn’t absorb the water, and I’m sure many other environmental factors contributed.

As some of my previous entries report, I have encountered numerous landslides – many of the roads in these mountainous areas are simply cut into the hillside without a great deal of stabilisation. In some very rural areas, it seems that landslides are so common that they don’t expect the road to be open for several months, and rely on their own resources – walking and animals – to get by.

The main transport between cities is by bus, although in many areas there are trains, or you can fly between more major cities. Most travellers rely on buses, of which there are various types – Express Bus (has a hold-your-nose loo, although this is frequently out of order; ironically they distribute bottles of water as you board…). Then there’s Big Bus which is about the same seating capacity, and usually takes the same time, but you don’t get the water. Or the loo. Mini-buses go more frequently and are a lot cheaper. We have been warned off travelling by minibus after hearing about numerous accidents. The drivers are reckless, and there’s far too much overtaking on the inside of blind bends.

I am now not doing any unnecessary travel, and will no longer travel in a mini-bus. When I was staying in Dali I met a beautiful and creative young Israeli girl. Not long after she left with her best friend for a further great adventure into Burma, the mini-bus they were travelling in hit a landslide and went off the road. She was crushed to death.

I remember our conversations about the Kibbutz she was brought up in, and my interest in such a different way of community living. And then she is gone.

And the thoughts come back to me about my sister, who is also gone. Which I also cannot comprehend. My throat is constricted, now, thinking about this.

My eyes are dry. They burn.

It is an arid landscape. And I wonder when my rains will come.

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