Everyone tells me they love my excerpts from Bob Gambols backpacking trip. Bob is in China walking and hitching, avoiding the ordinary, finding the extraordinary. He got a connection out of Lanzhou to Urumqi the Western terminus of the Chinese rail near Kazakstan on the Russian Border.
“This connection was a 3½ day trip, which took three engines to get it over the hill. It had a diesel engine, one coal fired engine and one steam engine, but the smoke in there from the coal was horrible. Plus everybody smoked cigarettes. The smoke was so heavy I had this artist I befriended make me a No Smoking sign. But, when I’d put up the sign they’d all vacate. Later I got friendly with a Chinese Fuller Brush man and he told me my no smoking sign was offensive because everyone thought I was contagious. What it actually said was, Stop Smoking. I Cannot Breathe. They thought I had a disease", Bob chuckles.
“On this trip, I befriended a conductor and I admired the pin on his hat and he gave it to me. That is a souvenir I really treasure, the insignia of the Chinese Rail System.
To be continued...