QESOSA Ontario
伊利沙伯中學舊生會安省分會
                 絲綢之路的另類體驗----公路見聞                              梁潔詩

在加拿大生活近四十年,駛車子已是正常不過的事,不論是市區中東西南北,還是在高速公路上穿城過省
的行走,都要按照交通規例,依法做就成;但今次我們十多天的旅程中,卻遇到好些又奇又趣的經歷。

改路自由行:
那些長途車子的司機,真的必要有高度的智慧,去應付許多意想不到的事件。有好幾次,在康莊大路上走
着,眼看遠遠前面的路還是好好的,卻突然發覺車前不遠横放着一列大小不一的石頭,阻着車子不能前
進。車子是過不了,可是卻又沒有任何指示,只知道前路不通,就不知為何缘因,甚至該改行那個方向的
路才能繞道而過也只有天曉得!有次在城中,遠看數十層高的酒店就快到了,但石頭攔路通不過,還好有
聰明的導遊小姐使法寶,召來一部該市的計程車,東彎西轉,小小費用就帶我們到達目的地。

事故封路之刮風沙:
我們都知道中國北方地区風沙刮起來,生活上的諸多不便,想不到我們也遇上風沙帶來的烦惱。那是好好
的一天,清早自酒店出市區趕往下一個景點城市,剛上高速公路就遇上車龍阻滯不前,還以為是交通意
外,卻原来是前面的收費站不准通過,而這情況已是在午夜開始。前面公路刮大風沙,車行不安全故要封
路,這本不奇,怪的是没有預早發出通告,車路上沒有指標告示,電台或任何傳播媒介也毫無警示;還好
這天我們只在公路上停留了三數小時吧!

公路上繳費之特別買路錢:
橫過戈壁灘(導遊說,我們普稱戈壁大沙漠是錯的,這片土地不能叫沙漠,沙漠應全是幼细的沙粒,有風吹
刮過而成大小高低不平的沙丘,戈壁是有沙有石平坦的沙石灘,故該叫戈壁灘)是無際的,在十多年前,還
沒有正式的公路,坐車橫過,非要帶備特別椅墊才能稳坐;現今康莊的瀝青公路已大部份建成了,可是在
我們短短的兩天路程中,也碰上一些奇怪的經歷。那次在碰上如常的一行攔路石頭之後,司機大哥只有駛
離公路,在土坡路上跌破的行駛,把我們的好夢都喚走了,沿途張望,無際的灰石,絕無看頭,突然轉頭
一望,怎料發現

該是仍在趕工建築的新公路上,竟有其他客貨車子行走!司機大哥一個大轉彎,正準備重新駛上新公路,
但其中一個站在路旁的公安立即踏前阻止;司機和他一輪交涉之後,我們仍得駛回舊路前進。幸好司機大
哥並不氣縷,過了不久,找着另一處斜坡可直上公路,還只有三兩人工作,司機速遞上一張紙幣,車子在
各人歡呼聲中駛上了"尚在建做”的公路上,繼續行程。

公路上繳費站之討價還價
对持有駕驶執照的人來說,在公路繳費站按已行的路程依標收費是當然不過的,收費表清楚列出路程費
用,不付就過不了去;當然你可在預先指示有繳費站之前,改走別的路。我們的司機大哥是在這一帶長
大,大概是慣性吧,每次繳費時,都會交涉一番,要求便宜一點,少收三元五塊,討價不成,就嚕嚕囌囌
說:哟,若是我女朋友在,就绝無問題哩!

另一天在趕路途中,我們的車子在中途收費站排隊繳費時,停在一輛滿載貨物的大型貨車後,等到貨車繳
費時,竞停頓了十多分鐘,後面的車子都不耐煩了,又響按又大叫,貨車仍不動;最後,我們這一行車子
全都要倒車到另一個收費亭排隊繳費。不久幾個公安拿着鐵鍊,把那車子鎖起來,原來是那貨運車司機認
為他早一天已繳了費,故今次不願再付錢。

必賺的生意:
新建的公路,尤其沿海的進步省份,沿途已建有現代化的停車處,有小型超市,買即食麵亦提超熱水做
麵;更有比較現代化的公共洗手間,但在落後的地方,任何一座公厠,不論大小新舊,只要有一個人站門
前,手上拿着紙幣碎銀,旅遊車一到,每個下車的人,就會自動乖乖的拿出錢來遞上,才進入用洗手間,
厠紙、抹手紙等還要自備哩!曾想過若不付又如何,但看着別人為數個錢幣謀生,我們付得起的又怎能阻
礙同胞的生計!

後結:
這幾年來都回祖國旅行多次了,那些大自然的湖光山色,充滿歷史性的亭臺樓閣,都會令我們目不暇給,
但同時亦畧領會到衆多同胞的艱苦生涯,縱使身處世外桃源的山光水色,唯途中那破落的村莊,蕭條的環
境,惘然的面孔,總有點耿耿于懷,不能盡興,奈何!
Click on thumbnails to see the original picture.
西北風光之五彩山色
月牙泉出現在沙漠中,奇景也!
重溫西遊記之夢
天池風光醉人
霧中泛舟天池留影
蒙古包內,非一般的享受
西安古城牆留影
古時的戰爭工具
千年古城,如今黃沙遍地
Encounter of a special kind – our highway experience through the Silk Road trip
                                                                    By Nancy Kit-Sze Tang (65)

In recent years we have made several trips to China. Last fall, we went for a 12-day excursion on the “silk
road”. The trip only covers a small portion of this famous journey made by the merchants, missionaries, and
explorers hundreds of years ago, however, the area we visited has become a very popular tourist route. I have
not kept a travel journal, but interesting and intriguing things did happen on our trip….

A New Age “STOP” Sign
Driving in North America (and many parts of the world) means observing the road signs which are mostly
pictorial for easy understanding. We came to many “STOP” sign along this route when rubbles and rocks of
various sizes were neatly lined across the highway. As the driver, you are forced to stop at these spots; you
have to use your wit as to where to go next because there is no ‘detour’ sign to guide you. No reasons were
ever posted for the detour but you have to get off the highway. You drive down to the unpaved gravel road that
goes alongside the highway. You travel on but you do not know when you can get back on the ‘built’ highway!
To solve this problem requires delicate skills, once when it happened, our driver only succeeded at the second
attempt to get back up on the highway after he stuffed some notes inside the guard’s hand.

Another time we were stopped by a row of rubbles when arriving at a new city. The high-rise hotel was already
in sight, but we just did not know how to get there as there were, as usual, not a single sign on detour route.
Our smart tour guide got on the phone and called a local taxi, for a few dollars, we were at our destination in
no time!

All Weather Highway Closure
We all have experienced highway closure one time or another; usually there are ample of advance warning
unless an accident happened and we cannot get off the highway in time. That was exactly what we thought
happened one fine early morning when we were rushing to another city and came to a complete halt as soon
as we got on the highway. We then learnt the toll booths were closed at mid-night because of the potential
danger of sand storm over the highway ahead.  Apparently this happens quite often as in this part of China or
across the Gobi Dessert, sandstorms can be very severe and damaging. Unlucky for us, with no highway or
weather alert, we were stuck.

Fair (fare) Negotiation
We passed quite a number of toll booths and our driver was born and raised in this region. We were naturally
surprised each time when we came to one, our driver would negotiate the fare. He often grumbled and
expressed that they would get their way if his girlfriend was with him! Definitely we were wrong to think that
drivers from these areas have already gotten used to this system of ‘pay as you go’.

Another time at a pay booth we were right behind a transport truck full of produce. This ‘fare negotiation’ went
on for a very long time. Drivers in the line yelled and honked. Finally we were told to back up and go to another
booth. Then we saw a few of the guards chained the truck. Apparently the truck driver insisted that since he
paid the day before, he should not have to pay again that day!

A Guaranteed Successful Business
An interesting phenomenon: It usually happens when a tour bus comes to a public facility. There is someone
standing right by the door with some money, small changes, in his/her hand. With no questions asked, the
patrons would dutifully and religiously hand over the changes from their pocket before going in. It does not
matter even if the facility is filthy and dingy, with no running water and no toilet paper!

This trip has been a fascinating experience for me. I hope if you have a chance to go this way some time in the
future, you will share your experience with me too!