|photo courtesy SamHakes morguefile.com|
I won't be able to meet you in Tientsin. Mr. Lu will bring you to YangchengI looked at the other side of the paper hoping to find more instructions, but it was blank.
Mr. Lu came through the back door. He bowed. "Miss Aylward, so nice to meet you. I will take you to Yangcheng. Are you ready?"
Actually, I felt exhausted and wanted a bath, some fresh clothes, maybe a few hours sleep. "Um, yes. I'm ready."
We boarded a crowded train. I knew I shouldn't be picky, but the compartment had lumpy seats and the train bounced up, down the whole trip. I felt more seasick on the train than on the ship I just left.
When the train stopped in Peking, Mr. Lu arranged for rooms at an inn for the night. I grew exicted to take a bath and change my clothes. I stepped into my room and found no bath, or sink to clean myself. The room smelled aweful. I barely slept that night.
The next morning Mr. Lu rushed me to our bus. We traveled on paths too narrow and bumpy for the bus. Huge rocks poked through the ground which threw the bus around. I grabbed onto the seat in front of me to keep my balance.At times I could look straight down the mountainside. I didn't know if we'd tumble over the edge or not.
The bus spashed through rivers and creeks. I think he thought the road went underwater!
Once we arrived in Teschchow, Mr. Lu took me to a mission station to rest. The next morning he helped me climb on a mule. "This mule litter will take us to Yangchen, Miss Aylward." I smiled on the outside and trembled on the inside. I'd never ridden a mule before. I didn't know if I could stay on one.
I can't believe I thought the bus rocked too much. My mule wobbled much more. My back hurt, my legs hurt, my everything hurt. I felt bruises on top of bruises. I rode that mule for two days through mountain ranges and many rivers. My clothes held the cold river water freezing my bones. I asked poor Mr. Lu, "How much longer?" at least a hundred times. He always smiled and answered, "Not much further, Miss Aylward."
Late on the second mule day, Mr. Lu stopped in front of a gate. "This is Yangcheng."
The next minute, an older woman came to the gate. She had to be Mrs. Lawson!
Next week, I'll tell you what we did.