Subject: Death-defying car trips
Happy New Year everyone. One of our not to be forgotten car trips took place in Chengdu China when we booked a car and driver through a local agent George of the Jungle to go out to the Panda Breeding Research Centre. This is an extract from my journal: 'The ride to the pandas is right out of the Keystone Cops. Our driver is manic, changing lanes and facing down everyone else on the road. He sings and laughs uproariously when he manages to force someone to give way. Screaming and gesticulating, if he is the one being cut off. My right arm is black and blue from Barbara grabbing it. The more nervous we become the more our driver enjoys our discomfort and eventually we are laughing hysterically with him. We're bombing along the highway when a tollgate comes into view, he dives down an off ramp and we end up under the raised section of highway on a very very bad road (?) surface. Eventually we reach the Research Station and our driver gives us a broad grin. He's just earned back some of George's commission by avoiding the toll fee. As I recall the drive back wasn't nearly as amusing, very hot with windows wound down on to the worst air pollution of the whole trip. Not an experience to be repeated but fun when viewed in retrospect from the safety of our hotel room. Regards sue Toronto