i slept through most of the trip, figuring whatever mountain landscape i was missing i'd already seen on bus trips from the past few weeks. i dreamed i was either still in daocheng (like some twilight zone episode) or back in the US. the princess eventually did get her way, switching seats with one of the korean guys sitting behind us. for final 2 hours, i watched the korean clutching a roll of toilet paper, desperately waiting for the bus to stop so he can go to the bathroom. the tension was so high, i could barely fall asleep(but i was tired, so i slept despite such close proximity to a traveling tragedy).
when we finally arrived in zhongdian around 7pm, i was luckily to find a place to stay the second hotel i visited: RMB$100/night (about US$12.50/night) with my own bathroom and western style toilet! not having to squat has become a real luxury.
the hotel asked if i wanted to visit a real tibetan home and have roasted mutton for dinner while watching a tibetan performance. what i thought would be an intimate affair ended up with me and 120 other chinese in a restaurant designed vaguely in the tibetan style. there was singing and dancing - nothing which i haven't already seen before in kangding, in litang, in daocheng. it was basically tibetan for the lowest common denominator. most of the chinese arrived already drunk, and were shouting and cheering. i sat in the back, eating my mutton with my bare hands, constantly looking at my watch to see when this travesty would be over.