Traveling and visiting some beautiful sights can be both stressful and relaxing. The stressful part is obviously the journey itself when travelling in an old Volkswagen Santana and the relaxing part is when arriving and finally being able to stretch out the legs.
On one of our trips to China we went with nearly the whole crazy Chinese family to the mountain range near the Qinghua Mountain 清华山just south of Xi’an. At least I think it was near that mountain, you see the trouble when traveling with my Chinese family is that they have absolutely no clue at all what places are called, so it’s mostly “We go the mountains” or “We go to the lake” or even “We go to the tall building”. You see those information are not really useful so I have to do always my own research about it.
So where did I left of? Ah right, trip with nearly the whole crazy Chinese family. This means that beside us two and the in-laws also my wife’s aunt joined with her boyfriend and her daughter (Who is similar age as my wife) and the mom in law’s two dogs. Doesn’t sound so much but if you split this now into two cars of which is one an old Volkswagen Santana 2000 it is not so nice anymore. So I had the luck to sit in the back of that old VW Santana, with my wife and one jumpy dog. That little monster (the dog…) was so annoying that I had to hold it in something like a death grip until the animal got tired enough to fall asleep on my lap. However this wasn’t yet the stressful part of the journey.
Have you ever traveled in such an old car up a mountain? No? Don’t do it! Let’s just say the car struggled a lot and I have still video material of bicycle riders passing us by on those mountain slopes. Oh, before I forget, of course the cars AC was broken, I lost feeling in my legs because they were stuck so badly behind the front seat, there were no seatbelt, the roof of the car was so low that my head had to be tilted the whole time and there was no headrest in the backseat. Overall it was a cramped and physically very straining journey.
Nevertheless I survived that journey and we arrived “In the mountains” with a nice mountain river passing through a valley. We spent rather much time near that river and I still have a few words of advice in memory given my mom in law.
“Don’t go into the river, you can drown!”
Yes, the deepest point I could find the water went just a bit over my knees.
“The fishes will bite you!”
All I could find were baby fishes the size of my fingernails.
“Wash your hands we you come up again!”
The water we washed our hands with was straight from the river and we got no soap.
“Don’t go to the river after eating, it is bad for your health!”
I guess she mixed up walking in a river with doing actual sports.
I still wonder what the other people were thinking about mom in law when she shouted her knowledge about the dangers of rivers to us.
In the end it is a nice experience to travel around with your family (even if it’s a crazy Chinese family). It was a great day except the journey there and back again due to the issues described above. The best part about traveling with Chinese is that you do not have to worry about food yourself. As Chinese love their food they also take great pains to take a lot of it to a journey and look non-stop for places to eat. This again results that an average European person such as me will never get hungry.
Remember my journey to Hua Shan and my backpack full of food? Thanks to dad in law and aunties boyfriend I only had to carry a manageable amount of food, YES!