It is an ugly place. A now defunct school. A few low buildings. Garbage and mud. An unfinished bridge – our car had to stay at the other side. At the edge of this dilapidated settlement that sign: seven kilometers to the Yellow River source.
I have been waiting for four hours. Marco and Eric have left on the back of the two available motorcycles. The drivers said it was a 45 minute transfer. They would come back to pick me up.
I wait on the bridge. I wait in the courtyard. I wait in the car. It rains and I wait in the one heated kitchen.
Five hours. There are those who can wait calmly, take a nap, concentrate on something else, read a book. I am not among them. I wait and do nothing.
Seven hours. Almost dark. They show up, exhausted, cold and wet. A bit of a hellish story of ankle deep mud and knee deep water.
They have made it to the source. In mountaineering: expedition succeeded when at least one member reaches the top. No need for an expedition organizer to get there himself. Or is it? Everybody knows Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. But who remembers James Hunt?
They offer to wait for me tomorrow while I go to the Yellow River source with one of the motorbike drivers. I consider. But my heart is much more with the Mekong source that we will aim for next. I am afraid we may need the extra day spent here for that attempt. I decide we move on.