Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

The Bus

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Lingyin Peak is a temple park and hiking trail on the south side of the lake. Throughout the park are huge stone carvings of various idols. Many purchased incense and burned it or waved it while bowing and kneeling. After more than 1000 years these stone carvings are still venerated by the Chinese hoping to insure good fortune and fend off evil forces.

We enjoyed the courtyards, waterways, trees, stone paths, and interesting tree roots growing among the rocks. The spring blossoms and cool breezes gave peace to this traveler's soul.

Lunch was fantastic. We ate at a restaurant near a pond and weeping willow trees. The willow blossoms fell like snow flurries around us and the gentle breeze cooled us from the hike through the park. But...

Whose idea was it to take the bus back to Starbucks?

We had just enjoyed this stroll all around a park of rocks, water falls, and peaceful pathways when someone decided to take the bus back instead of the taxi. It was cheaper and their reasoning was: For just 5 yuan (70 cents) we could save enough for a Starbucks double shot. The bus was nothing more than a vacuum packed sardine can.

It was a two door affair. We got on through the front door and then had to exit from the door in the middle. When I first got on I couldn't get past the first row and had to stand next to the driver. That was cool. I pulled out the camera and squeezed off a few frames while he drove. But in the back of my mind I was thinking: How am I supposed to exit from the back door? Hey, I'll just exit from the front. (I was thinking this because the bus driver yelled at someone trying to come forward and exit at the front while we were getting on. I figured I'd risk his displeasure.)

However, as people got on at the next stop they propelled me toward the rear of the bus. As we made progressive stops I was pushed into the dark, black hole of writhing people. Three stops later I was between the two doors. I glanced up toward the front at stop four to see one man get knocked in the head by the door arm as it closed. He was standing on the last stair in front of the first seats.

I could at least see the street, kind of. I was looking for any familiar landmarks so that I could signal the others to exit. It was a long, hot, interminable ride. The bus rocked and lunged and we standing sardines swayed together like kelp in the ocean tides. Ruth didn't have to hold on to anything, she just leaned against all the people around her. I felt something against my thighs and looked down to see a little boy making his way to the back with his mother in tow. Where did he come from? The bus must smell different to little people.

Finally our stop was coming up. We pushed as much as we could to get near the door. When the door opened people from the rear and people from the front prevented us from making any progress. Finally, I grabbed Ruth like a football and muscled against the defensive line backers and blasted through the doors. We squirted out right in front of a passing moped and nearly got run over. It would have been a shame to be run over by a tiny moped after surviving the bus.

The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see. - G.K. Chesterton

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