The part where we witness a crash and nearly slide off the mountain.
It started innocently enough: we were on top of a mountain that was on top of a mountain and needed to get down. There was no other option, no other “safe” mode of transport that could manage the 4,000 meter descent. Â It seems that a gazillion ton bus has better traction on icy mountains than the home-made tractors, motorcycles or SUVs.
Our bus slid past abandoned cars and chugged behind snow-chainless SUVs that refused to let us pass, and I learned an important lesson. Â Don’t stop. Â Don’t ever stop. Â If the bus stops, it loses traction and can’t continue up the hill.
I learned this lesson the hard way, when an SUV skidded out of control, ripped into our bus and crash landed into the guardrail. Â Our bus hit the brakes, lost control and then we slid in the opposite direction, crashing into boulders. The impact wasn’t so bad, (everything is relative – imagine if we only had prayer flags to stop our descent), but we were stuck between a rock and a broken car.
On the positive side, it a fairly short drop had we toppled over the guardrail, and there was nothing terribly wrong with the bus. Â After some fits and starts, we continued down the mountain slipping and sliding trying to regain momentum. Â During this process, my soothing chant sounded something like this: “Close your eyes, there is nothing to see, you can’t control this situation. Â You are not in control of this situation. Â CLOSE YOUR EYES.”
And that was our crash. Â Frightening but survivable. We have now earned our Chinese Bus Survival badge.
Here are some pics from the ride: