Another day, another couple of Chinese families adopting me

Seriously! Folks here are so over the top friendly. Like, to a fault, but really the fault is mine because I’m the weirdo here.

Went to Kanbula Forest Park, and it was totally great, and I’ll write another post just about it, because it was totally great. Arrived around noon, and at around 2, these guys were saying “hey, where are you sleeping? you should come stay at our house! we’re in Dehong Village, only ¥50.” They offered to drive me there right away. It was really hard to express “no, I want to go walk around first, then I’ll come to your place,” but somehow I did… and then actually found one of the guys! (Dehong has literally one street, so it wasn’t impossible, but still.) Now he’s running a guesthouse, really, but more like a bed and breakfast and dinner, and even more like “ok, you’re one of our family for the next 12 hours.” I sat with them and ate dinner, and then sat around more while everyone talked and I didn’t understand, and there was an amazing Tibetan drama on TV with super cheesy special effects (a bunch of princes and princesses and magic and warriors and a monkey guy? like a story of Hanuman or something? but Tibetan?) Eventually we went to sleep. The only one who didn’t make me feel right at home was their amazing yappy little guard dog, who was about the size of a bread loaf, but I was still glad he was chained up.

Wake-up call at 6am (which was fine b/c we went to bed around 10, because sunset and what else are you going to do?), scarfed down some bread and instant noodles, and off we all go, them to work, me to take pictures. There’s this great gesture/saying that I’ve gotten a couple times on this trip, like, “then you can go chk-chk chk-chk” (miming a camera), meaning “go take some pictures!” as if he’s saying “go refill your oxygen tank” to a scuba diver. Of _course_ you want to take pictures, so all we have to do is suggest it and you’ll get the idea.

Of course I did go take pictures, though, because sunrise over these amazing mountains and etc etc, and then it’s 7am and dude had told me the bus was at 10am. So I kept walking along the road, which was calm and peaceful and perfect temperature and forests and mountains, and not even many cars, though about 1/3 of them stopped to make sure I was ok. Yes, I just like walking!

One lady was super insistent and kind, though, and it was a big hill and I was tired, so I did accept her offer to the top of the hill, squashing into the backseat along with her mom and kid. (Grandpa was in the passenger seat.) Her name was Lisa, and between us we shared about 10% of a language. With Google Translate, though, we were up to about 50%, so we could communicate, albeit haltingly. She asked where I was going, I told her Xining, she said great, we’re going there too! Can we go together? Sure, I said.

This was great for about 15 minutes, we were all talking, until I realized they had just arrived last night and hadn’t been around the park at all. I’d spent all of yesterday walking around the park, and would really rather gargle vinegar than go to all the Touristic Viewpoints again, but had no way to communicate that. Outs I tried:
- “oh, don’t worry, I don’t want to slow you all down. thanks anyway.”
- “there’s a bus, I’ll just take the bus.”
- “if you really want to give me a ride, you can take me to the park entrance, where I’ll catch the bus back to Xining.”
and of course she was having none of it. Eventually she decided the thing to do was to leave right now for Xining. I mean, great, that’s what I wanted to do, but don’t cut your trip short! I only relented when she kept insisting and I also realized that stopping at the couple of viewpoints we’d been to and taking a couple of photos is really all they wanted to do anyway.

(on the bus to Kanbula, some guys were saying to me “why would you stay overnight in Kanbula? you can see all the sights here in like 2 or 3 hours.” Strange view on tourism - though I expect I’d get the same if I was traveling with a random family back in the US)

Like the last time I was temporarily adopted, everything was a discussion, and I never knew what was going on. Worse, it was a discussion between two cars - they were going caravan style with the other half of their family! Argh! I’m glad I had chosen to run with the following half-truth: “I have to leave Xining tomorrow, so I want to have time to see Xining first” so I was able to kindly leave them when we got to Xining.

(to drink coffee and sit at my phone and keyboard and type blog posts like a frickin' antisocial weirdo… eh, y’know)

Man, when your biggest complaint in a place is “the people are too nice here”… Like, it’s a legit issue, but also does leave me with a positive view of a place.

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