China in recall 5 - 11 August 2006 - How to make friends and influence people

Sometimes I wonder why I'm such a hit with the ladies and I think this one will probably explain a lot.

It was my penultimate day in China, I had just come back to Sim's from Songpan and JueZaiGo up in the north of the Sichuan Province and was looking to get in the quintessential day trip that everyone in Chengdu has to do. I had to go and see the pandas at the panda breeding research centre.

The flight to Shanghai took off at 2PM from Chengdu airport. The plan was to get up in the morning at 7am and go to see the pandas, as feeding time is early in the morning and they tend to sleep when it gets hotter and the place fills up with tourists after about 8:30, then get myself on the plane. So I put myself about the hostel and tried to find out if anyone was going my way.

I was told there was this American family of 10 heading there in the morning on 2 buses so I paid the fee and went to the bar to chat to Scott, Itay and the Aussie guy Brad late into the night. It was Sim's daughters birthday, so beer was free and I had been gone a long time so we chatted til the early morning, knocking back the beverages until I finally fell into a drunken stupor at about 5:30am. This was a disaster in the making...

In the morning I woke up still drunk, the bar spinning around me, my stomach feeling a little distended with liquid. I felt like a panda with a sore head.

Then the Americans came out.

A whole family of overweight, VERY loud, whining American tourists with a camera and 3 screaming children. It wasn't the usual chilled backpacker crowd I had thought. In the gift shop of the panda reserve they spent $200 on souvenirs. I took an instant dislike to them.

I realised that this was no longer a trip to the zoo; this was about survival. It was the vastly outnumbered Viet against the Americans. Heck it was 'Nam all over again. How I was going to keep these people away from me was a matter of life or death.

It didn't take much effort for the first half of the bus trip. I disguised myself as a local, sticking my head out of the window of the van and falling asleep. The second half was somewhat more difficult though. With a stomach full of beer I was really having a lot of trouble.

As soon as the bus stopped the solution to both of my problems became obvious!

I ripped the door open, jumped off the bus and promptly puked all over my shoes.

Suddenly I felt as right as rain and the Yanks didn't bother to come anywhere near me for the rest of the day. It's not quite what Ho Chi Minh would have envisioned but I'm sure he'll be there (pickled in his temple in Hanoi) smiling down at me. Chalk one up for the Viet boy!
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