Roads Are For Sissies

Well, there’s no doubt about it – the weather is finally hot. Aside from a new sheen of sweat and a bit of desperation to find some sandles, the heat has brought with it copious amounts of construction.

Along with the numerous buildings coming down and going up in Jinzhou, work on a light rail (sky train) between Kaifaqu (the Development Zone) and Jinzhou has begun. This is going to be awesome once it is completed, and I only wish that I hadn’t been a year off in witnessing it. However, as it stands, Kaifaqu has been officially cut off from Jinzhou for this project.

First the main road between the two cities was blocked for construction of this thing, and then – ever so slowly – all subaltern roads have also been shut down. I’m not entirely sure from what high level the wisdom of this decision came from but it has led (and no doubt will continue to lead) to some problematic trips.

As previously mentioned, I’m doing some work for Shide Group, which is located in a place called Dalian Wan, half-way between Kaifaqu and Dalian. Recently they switched teachers for one of the classes there from Emma to a guy named Chris that works out of Kaifaqu, so now the car that picks me up has to head to the Development Zone to get him. So, as we were heading there the driver of the car found that the road was closed, and we went a different route. Finding that way shut off too, we again went a different way, until we found ourselves in the middle of this impromptu market made up of pick-up trucks instead of proper stalls. A bit of a dead end, the driver did the only thing he could… he pushed forward.

Soon we were pushing the VW’s suspension (and my stomach) to the limit crashing and smashing through big puddles along what can only be called a semi-level bit of dirt. Eventually we got through, but on the way home we took a nearly just as convoluted route that involved going halfway to Dalian before getting to Jinzhou.

Then today Matthew told me that coming back from Kaifaqu he opted for a bus and ended up driving first through a garbage dump, and then through the small town-like settlement in the centre of it. This was after the bus driver completely killed the vehicle’s shocks while off-roading it. He too ended up going most the way to Dalian before eventually getting back to Jinzhou. What is normally a 20 minute bus ride became a two hour tour of some of the lesser known areas that lie between Jinzhou and Kaifaqu.

Anyway, it’s put a bit of a kink in my plans to head to the beach every free minute this summer, but I’m sure I’ll work something out. Mandy’s coming over tomorrow, so I should likely get some sleep. Initially Karen was supposed to be in Jinzhou too, but she had to stay in Dalian to do some dance thing at school. I managed to convince Mandy to come alone – with false promises I wouldn’t sell her into the country-side. Anyone that doesn’t know what I mean by this – you should read this.

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