Rooftops of Xiahe
It's freezing, but we got blankets!

Kevin and I had enough of Xiahe. Been there done that.. Way
too many tourists. The first thing to ruin our day was that
there was a stupid Gansu foreigner insurance fee that we were
supposed to pay. Of course that was too silly. I mean, like
the drivers in China are going to drive anymore safely when
there is a stupid insurance fee. And besides it was 40 RMB
and we were trying to get out of Gansu. So we did what we
always did in transportation conflicts – start walkin'. And
5 minutes later along the main path one of the drivers picked
us up. He asked for our Gansu travel insurance and we played
dumb and got around it. We paid him money to take us all the
way to Lanzhou and off we went. Now the real fun all started
in a town called LinXia. The bus pulls into a bus station
and everyone gets off.

We just sit there and finally the bus driver realizes we
need help. He takes us over to another bus and tells us (or
so I deciphered) that we were transferring to another bus. We
jumped on the bus and everything is cool. We are on our way
again. 5 minutes later the new bus money collector comes back
and asks us for money. NOOOOO!! we tried to explain in our
broken chinese that we gave money to the last bus driver and
he told us to transfer. The new guy obviously didn't care
and told us we were on his bus and we had to pay again or
get off. We argued for about 20 minutes and he went right
next to my face and yelled at me. Then he backed off for 10
minutes before coming at us with another round of shouting
and pointing to his wallet. More arguing. Then he asks us
for our Gansu travel insurance. More playing dumb. Then he
left us alone. Then he came back demanding money. As this
went on Kevin and I winked at each other ("Hey, lets drag
this on for as long as possible"). The best part was
that the bus was driving the whole time!! Anyway, it wasn't
too long before the bus broke down. It was probably good timing
too because the bus money collector guy was about to start
a fist fight. I guess we could have given him the piddly money
but looking back, I regret nothing!

Anyway, while the bus driver was repairing his bus, we felt
it was an opportune time to leave. We grabbed our stuff and
started walking. The money collector shouted at us a bit more
but finally gave up and left in a huff. We laughed and waved
down another bus. Luckily we were more than half the way to
Lanzhou – we slipped the driver some cash and we were on our
way. Then the newest bus driver asked us for our Gansu travel
insurance… AAHAHHHH! Give us a break man. More playing dumb..
And finally we arrive in the dirtiest city imaginable (wow
even worse than Guangzhou!)

-steve

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