Challenge 13: ACCOMPLISHED!

Posted by Adrian on August 24, 2010 under Challenges | 5 Comments to Read

Click here for a special zoomed-in map with each place we caught a new vehicle!

Challenge 13: Hitchhike between two cities for less than the cost of the bus fare.

Huangshan was not only one of the first places we’d been to without a train station, it was also off the main bus routes. This, coupled with the stunning rural setting, made it the perfect place to attempt our hitch-hiking challenge.

We’d both been looking forward to this challenge although to be honest we didn’t know if it was even possible. Neither of us had ever seen a hitchhiker in China, let alone a foreign one. One lady we spoke to told us, “You’ll never do it. You’re foreigners so no-one will stop because they’ll be afraid of you.”

Just to make things harder, our destination, Changsha, was over 500 miles away – that’s the same as Phoenix to Salt Lake City and more than the length of England!

We left armed with paper and marker pens for making signs for towns to aim for along the way. We also had a flattened cardboard box with the words “To Changsha” written on it by Mr. Xie, our calligraphy teacher. With no idea how long our journey would take us, we started out early from outside our hotel.

Amazingly, within 30 seconds, two newlyweds stopped their car. “We’ll take you to the next town for 80 yuan” they offered. It was an expensive start, despite bargaining them down a bit, but we were unsure if any other vehicles would stop so we hopped in. “Impossible! No way you’ll make it!” the young husband said when we told him our plan. But actually it was the start of an incredible 2-day adventure that took us all the way to Changsha.

In total we took 7 rides: 3 trucks, 2 cars, a minivan, and a 4×4. We met a fascinating and diverse bunch of people and from the second ride onwards no-one wanted any money at all. It was a very fun 2 days which gave us some great stories to tell, including one of the biggest surprises of our whole trip (and it wasn’t that we almost got struck by lightning!).

You’ll have to watch the videos on our website to find out what happened and also see the near miss with the lightning.

Challenge Progress

Photos (click on them to see the full image)

(To see captions for each picture, please visit the website)

Videos

(To see video, please visit the website)

5 Comments on “Challenge 13: ACCOMPLISHED!”

  • nathan moses said,

    Wow, you guys are living the dream! I’ve always wanted to take a journey like this through the heart of zhongguo, but alas, the middle kingdom will have to wait for the time being. I love following your experiences and these videos allow me to be right there, in the passenger seat with you all! Keep going!

    Aug 30, 2010

  • keith said,

    What an incredible journey. You will have so many stories to tell about such kind people you have met on the route

    Aug 30, 2010

  • helen said,

    very impressed with this one! I know I wouldnt have guts to do it, I am always told “do NOT get into a stranger’s car!” lol
    by the way, the “Qu Chang Cha” sign can be auctioned on eBay, its well written, all nature, 100% recyclable, its a piece of real art and worth $$$. lol

    Aug 31, 2010

  • Andy said,

    In fact, a lot of foreigners have tried hitch-hiking in China and even succedeed in their undertakings. For example, here are some phrases used by russian-speaking travelers: http://muhranoff.ru/411/ and here is a topic where people discuss how to communicate with a driver when your calligraphy teacher is not within reach: http://www.bpclub.ru/index.php?showtopic=8271&st=80 I’m not sure if you can read russian, but chinese should be a piece of cake for you 🙂

    Sep 25, 2010

  • Nick from ChineseTeachers.com said,

    I am so impressed by what you have done! Well done!

    And you clearly experienced 缘分 [yuánfèn] when you met the same truck a second time.

    Amazing!

    Sep 25, 2010

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