Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Day 145 - Cycling from Dali to Diannan

Start: Dali, Yunnan, China
End: Diannan, China (Yunnan, still)
Distance: 107 km
Time: 6'11"
Avg: 17.3 k/h
Max: 45 k/h
Total: 8755 km
Total riding days: 96
Riding hours: 1225 - 1850

Well my excuse for lurking 'n' posing in Dali for so long was this: I was waiting for delivery of a parcel. The good people of GoreTex offered to send me a nice warm windstoppery jacket to keep me warm in the mountains.

Monday. Dali Post Office, poste restante section.

Me (in best pidgin-Chinese): Hallo has my parcel arrived yet?
She (behind the counter): Nyet.

(She isn't Russian, but I could have sworn she said nyet. At least her body language said nyet. You know, the not-looking-up, not-interrupting-the-important-bit-of-nail-picking, sort of thing.

Tuesday. Dali Post Office, poste restante section.
Me (in better Chinese, I spent the night before practising with a dictionary): Hallo has my parcel arrived yet?
She (behind the counter): No, we will call your hotel when it arrives.
Me (silently): Yeah right.

Wednesday. Dali Post Office, poste restante section.
Me (cheerily, getting quite fluent at this now): Hallo, has my parcel arrived yet?
She (back in Soviet mode): Nyet.
Me (unfazed): Are you sure?
She (sure): Yes.
Me (still strong): How odd. It was sent over a week ago. Could you perhaps just check for me please, if you're not too busy?

She goes to a desk at the back of the room, and pulls open a drawer the size of a matchbox, inside which, to no great surprise, my jacket, being rather larger than a matchbox, is not.

She (pleased): I've looked, and still nyet.
Me (falling back on the old use-made-up-official-terminology ploy): I wonder if perchance my parcel might inadvertantly have been stored in the Parcels Slightly Larger Than A Matchbox Department?
She (worried): Unlikely.
Me (charming): Unlikely, I agree. But do you think, if you could spare a moment at some point, you could have a quick look?

She fusses through a door, to what I suspect must be the Parcels Slightly Larger Than A Matchbox Department. Moments later, she reappears.

She (shameless): We have a parcel here, we have been waiting several days for it to be collected. Is it yours?
Me (sarcastic, but I doubt she notices): Good gracious me yes I think it might be.
She (more shameless still): That will be 3 yuan storage fee.
Me: Unprintable.

So I am now the proud owner of a GoreTex Windstopper jacket. It is, incidentally, several times pinker than the pinkest thing I have ever previously laid eyes on. That, and very warm. I will wear it in solidarity with the Liberal Democrats.

1 comment:

  1. Great Hilarious and ever so amusing story you got there. Respect your journey and commitment. God bless your journey and may you feel the highest rewards along the way.
    Marty, Student, England