Monday, 25 October 2010

Horgas, China.

A great nights sleep but unfortunately its still raining...…A pain in the Alpha hole, because I was hoping to do some much needed maintenance to the car this morning. On the job card - Front wheel bearing adjustment, valve clearances and a brakes check.

Never mind.. we head into town to find some breakfast. In an effort to escape the freezing rain we dive into a local café and proceed to kick off the days first game of charades with a request for fried eggs and coffee. Nobody in this city speaks English, but my impression of cracking an egg and flipping it with a spatula does wonders, 5 minutes later out come 4 fried eggs on a plate, almost too easy!
Bolstered by my success with the eggs order I decide to try again - We really need some bread to go with the eggs. I make another impression which I thought was pretty good - Me, cutting a loaf of bread and putting the slices into a toaster, its obviously bread that I’m after. What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing! I’m in luck - The waitress nods her head frantically, gives me the thumbs up and jogs out into the street, only to return 2 minutes later with a huge bowl of egg fried rice topped with what looks like chopped up frog. Good effort but no cigar..

After breakfast we meet up with Serena to get the latest from customs - They need more time, the police chief needs to sign the form, but he’s not around until tonight. The rain is starting to ease off, so I crack on with the work to the car - As soon as I break out the tools, a gang of very drunk locals appear in the car park. They love the car and want to know everything about it, fortunately Serena is there to act as translator.

There’s usually a reason why 7 people are drunk before lunchtime, Serena explains that today marks 100 days since the birth of one of their sons. Sounds like a good enough excuse to me. It turns out that the guys all work at our hotel, they’re all bosses and they’re really REALLY keen for us to join them for more drinks. The whole time I’m working on the car they’re right there pestering Serena to ask us to join them for beers.

I finish off the work to the car and Serena calls Customs for the latest update - Still no sign of the head honcho that needs to sign us off before we can leave. Our first scheduled drive is several hours long and its already 4pm, our decision is swayed by the party invitation & we deem it to be too late in the day to leave now. Our best bet is clearly to join in with the party, help the guys drink the 3 cases of ’Wusu’ beer they’ve just unloaded and re-assess the situation in the morning.

Into the hotel Karaoke bar and its beer carnage. Our hosts make it clear that today is a big celebration and that we‘re now guests of honour. On offer- All the beer, local wine (Whiskey) and whiskey you can drink, and its all on the house - Hearing this, I consider it only right and proper to test all three drinks to help perpetuate the celebratory atmosphere.

Thirty minutes later we’re on stage and going for gold with our best rendition of “You’ve lost that loving feeling”… The locals hit back with their favourite song, a jazzy little number entitled “Japan, you will never take China”…..(!) Later we’re told that there’s a huge amount of anti-Japanese sentiment in the air at the moment - Something to do with Japan claiming a Chinese island as their own the week before. People have even been smashing up Japanese cars in the street, so long as Germany doesnt invade any Chinese territory in the next 2 weeks Jerry should make it out OK.

Before we know it we’re mates with one of the hotels owners, he breaks out the best Chinese wine available and a bottle of Johnny Walker. This is followed up by a box of gifts for Becky and one for Serena. The same guy is also a high ranking official in the local Police force - More than a little worse for wear he convinces himself that we must have the Chinese press there to cover our trip, and that they should come immediately. Well, this guy must have had some sway, ten minutes later there’s a TV film crew knocking at the door of the bar!

We head outside, pose for still pictures and they run a small feature in Chinese for the local TV station. (See pic) We retire to the bar for a few more beers and the rest, as they say, is history…...

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