We woke early to take the 9 hour bullet train to Fujian where we were greeted by a red alert for the largest Typhoon to hit China this year. We felt disappointed that some of the activities we had been looking forward to had been cancelled but largely very concerned for our safety and confused as to why we had been sent into such danger despite the fact that the warning had been issued the night before.
We separated into two mini buses to take us to our guest house, us and Connie and Jen in one bus and the others in the one behind. We arrived at the guest house with our non English speaking driver and collected our baggage from the bus. As I leaned on the bus to put on my backpack the bus started to roll rather quickly towards the river- the driver was no where to be seen but thanks to Jen’s quick thinking we rescued the bus from its rather wet fate by securing the trusty handbrake. We took a seat and played with the adorable little dogs but there was no sign of the other bus…..
The road had been significantly winding with some really steep drops into fierce looking rivers, so after 30 minutes had last with no sign of the others we really started to worry. I tried to remain optimistic and suggest they’d just felt sick because of the journey and stopped for air, but in honesty I was really feeling rather sick with concern for them. After 45 long minutes the second bus finally arrived, the others flooded out ashen and visibly shaken. It took a little while to figure out why they were so upset but it turned out that tourists were not being allowed into the area due to the safety concerns with the typhoon. Our bus had blacked out windows so we hadn’t been stopped by the local authorities but the second bus had been stopped and people had barricaded the way so that they couldn’t go into the area. As we had no other place to stay and the typhoon was looming, Mr Liu (our host) had no choice but to take them another, very dangerous route into the area. The other described 100 foot drops and parts of the road crumbling away. One of the girls was actually in tears as she had been so frightened. I was so relieved that they were okay but equally concerned that we had been taken into such a dangerous area and presumably the worst was yet to com- the typhoon’s path was right through the village in which we were staying.
The host and adventure leader encouraged us that the house had withstood many typhoons and we would certainly be safe, but the house didn’t really meet our expectations of sturdy, particularly when we saw the pictures on the Internet of the devastation the same typhoon had caused in Taipei the day before.
In a crisis I only have two responses, one is pray and the other is Disney, so we went for both. Mulan certainly calmed the mood and it was really nice to recognise some of the aspects of Chinese culture that I had learned about whilst we had been travelling. We locked our windows and doors and waited for what could be a very bumpy night with emergency bags packed by the door.