An epic trek there and back
Every year, people travel thousands of miles to visit relatives and celebrate Qing Ming in southern China. With so many people travelling, road traffic accidents occurred throughout the country, causing mass congestion and hold-ups.
It is estimated that over 500 million people took the roads of Southern China on April 3 in an attempt to visit family members.
Official police reports have confirmed that numbers this year were higher than ever. Li Yiying, a university student in Guanzhou travels home every year for Qing Ming. “ It’s never been this bad ever in my life”.
The trip started out in what felt like a normal fashion, and after a long journey through congested traffic to Maoming, we spent the day with the family of a fellow student and enjoyed the festival of Qing Ming; a seasonal symbol of history and celebration where the families burn offerings to send signals to their ancestors and absent relatives.
On the way home, the motorways were crowded with thousands of vehicles and people walking along the “hard shoulder”, despite the risks. Shocked by such antics, we laughed from the bus at the courage of those risking their lives on the chaotic highways of China. This became a harsh twist of irony when we were forced onto the road ourselves following the breakdown of the bus.
After waiting with the bus for three hours, the entire group of passengers took to the pitch-black road, illuminated only when huge vehicles overtook us from behind. Fellow passengers were seen carrying heavy amounts of luggage and crying babies were heard, in the intervals between the roar of passing cars. “My baby needs feeding”, one passenger announced.
Our 3km trek was cut short when an emergency vehicle finally rescued us from an ever-narrowing lane that we were walking on and a much-welcome new bus back to the city.
“We felt like we were going to die; it seemed so ironic that we were walking on what felt like the M1 after laughing at those previously seen on the journey”, we laughed whilst walking directly next to oncoming vehicles. Just don’t tell our mothers back home that we were walking home along a Chinese motorway at 9pm.
By Faye Grima and Sarah Gregory
There are no comments yet, add one below.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.