Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Bee on Bus!

It turns out that Sichuan Province is bee country. On the bus ride to Songpan I saw a number of spots where people had boxes of bees that could be rented and taken to pollinate fields or crops. On the side of the road there would be boxes of bees (I would assume that a hive lived in each one) and beekeepers walking around in the neat little beekeeper suits.

On the bus ride back from Songpan I first noticed that this truck had a bunch of boxes of bees and were probably off to do some bee work. I felt a little sad because you could see a few bees flying around the truck and I wondered what happened to them? Did they lose their way and just die? Or could they fly off and find a new hive and be accepted in? I didn’t know and wondered if there were some old and wise bees in the boxes that told any bee that would listen to Never Get Out of the Boat. I also wondered if there were some super cool Queen bees who had the goal to ‘leave no bee behind’?

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So we are driving along further and I am thinking about how little I know about bees–mainly from Jerry Maguire that bees are one of the two creatures that sense fear. This probably isn’t even true but they seem to sense my fear when they are around.

Then the bus gets to this major roadblock and the bee truck sits in front of us. More and more bees start buzzing around until I think we can, officially, call it a swarm. I wonder if the bees are all from different boxes (hives) and are attacking each other? People on the road don’t want to walk by the truck. Passengers inside our bus start to freak out a little as the bees are attracted to the yellow curtains in the bus. A bee gets in the bus and a little girl starts crying. Look closely and you can see the bees here:

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Of course, all vehicles in China that are over 15 feet in height are required to have people riding on top of them. In this case, it happens to be the beekeepers who seem to be getting a little alarmed themselves as they start putting on their gear. See them with their hats on?

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Finally, the roadblock is cleared up and the vehicles start to move on. Only twenty people were killed by bee stings. Just kidding, only lead paint here…no death by bees today.

It just feels like there should be some crazy calamity ending to this story. You know, like Alfred Hitchcock does The Bees.

Oh wait–ha, ha, ha. Bee on bus! Bee on Bus!

You may, or may not, know that Hitchcock–the master of suspense–talked about the importance of letting the public know something bad was going to happen for it to be suspense-full and not just surprising–like there is a bomb on the bus…if only they discover it in time! They often called this Bomb Theory or Bomb on Bus. But you see, I have a bee on the bus!

I think it is very funny, no? Maybe I need a little dinner.

So, the rest of the way Francie and I notice that there are actually a lot of active bees and it must be bee season. Can someone please find the most academically difficult to read journal article on Bee Season in Sichuan Province and send it to me? Jojo, I know you can do that, can’t you?

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August 20, 2007 - Posted by | China, Sichuan, Travel, Wildlife

6 Comments »

  1. I also forgot to add this little story that happened when I was about 10 years old.

    One day in our backyard this whole swarm showed up and built a hive on our little tree in the backyard. I mean, one day there was nothing, and then the next day there was this 2 foot by 1 foot bee hive hanging from the tree.

    Luckily, a dear old neighbor, Mrs. Brown, knew a guy who was a bee keeper and he showed up in his bee suit, cut the branch off, put it in one of those boxes, waved to us watching from the house, put the box in the back of his truck and drove away.

    Strange.

    Comment by Greg Martinez | August 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. This all is seems very Pynconian to me. Reminds me of Gavity’s Rainbow…another suspensful (*ehem*) story. (As in when will it end?!?) I just listened to the Smiths’ album Louder Than Bombs yesterday and was reminded that when I was reading Gravity’s Rainbow I was convinced that song that goes “Maybe it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, that will bring us together” is all about Pynchon’s book. Maybe it’s really about bees!

    Comment by jolifanta | August 20, 2007 | Reply

  3. Wow, I got as far as “The importance of pollinator management and managed pollinati…”, and had to go play Halo instead.

    http://www.life.uiuc.edu/scameron/research/fieldwork/fieldwork2.html is nice and easy, and poster-like. And informative! Good work, fellow English-fellow Williams.

    Comment by SimonPo | August 20, 2007 | Reply

  4. Perhaps if you ate some local honey you would no longer have a fearful scent and be protected from local allergies plus how good it would taste with or without biscuit!!!!

    Comment by Cynthia | August 21, 2007 | Reply

  5. Wow–your trip sounds fantastic! My Significant Other and I returned to Seattle from a 4-month trip through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Yunnan province not too long ago (we have a few photos up at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2148). It’s great to see new perspectives on a lot of the same places–makes me want to go back soon!

    Good luck on the rest of your journey.

    Comment by Cara | August 21, 2007 | Reply


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