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Chapters 12, 13, 14, & 15
The pilots and their wives had hardly stayed a week Nanking, when they are compelled to leave. Weili and Hulan have just settled there and now their husbands ask them to pack their bags. The fear of impending danger grips all of them. Weili cleverly sends her sister-in-law a telegram asking for four hundred dollars of her dowry. But she does not get the money. Wen Fu reaches the telegraph office before her, and lavishly spends Weili’s much-awaited dowry money to buy a badly maintained Fiat sports car whose owner has been killed in the war. He is thrilled with his purchase and compels Weili to ride with him in the car. Wen Fu is a reckless driver and meets with an accident when he once goes out driving with Jiaguo. They are safe but the car catches fire and with it burns Weili’s precious dowry money.
Weili now has to send a telegram asking for another four hundred dollars. But this time she asks her own cousin Peanut to send money in her name, as she couldn’t risk losing her money. Both the times she sends a telegram she uses the word ‘taonan,’ which comes as a surprise to the operator - a girl named of Betty. Weili uses the Chinese word ‘taonan,’ just to ensure a speedy delivery of the money. ‘Taonan’ is an untranslatable Chinese word. When a person faces a ‘taonan’ during the war, he is totally without direction. The desire then is to escape without exactly knowing where to go. Little does Weili know when she uses the term in the telegram that, such a crisis is around the corner.
The truck journey goes on for quite some days under various adverse weather conditions. Altogether there are eleven people travelling in the bus, which includes two pilots, Jiaguo and Hulan and Wen Fu and Weili. Apart from the air force people there is an old civilian, who has paid heavily for letting him board in the truck. The most important person in the journey is old Mr. Ma who is the driver of the bus. The journey is very hectic for all the travelers, especially Weili, as she is in her advanced stage of pregnancy. In the 1930’s there was no major form of transportation and even the rail and road transport had come to a stand still due to the war.
They halt at Kweiyang where they wait for quite some days. In Kweiyang they are provided with food. The living conditions are pitiable and the mattresses that they are provided are infested with stinkbugs. The toilets that they have to use are not enclosed. Weili finds it all very disgusting. Their next stop is a place near to a village called Heaven’s Breath. True to its name, the place is picturesque and the climate is healthy. The air is refreshing and even alters Wen Fu’s mind for a while and he expresses his joy by singing a song. At Heaven’s Breadth they notice that some soldiers who had driven from the other side. One of the soldiers informs them about the current happenings at Nanking. The Japanese army had brutally assaulted the Chinese. The number of people massacred is countless.
All the travelers, especially Weili, are totally exhausted by the time they reach Kunming. After several weeks, Weili is relieved when she hears that they will now have a house of their own. The hygienic condition of this place is not good either. But at least their never-ending journey had come to an end. Apart from Weili, Hulan, and their husbands, there is also another couple who stays in the same house. The inspector and his wife are however there on a temporary basis and their room is much better than the ones occupied by the rest. Weili and Wen Fu have to bear with their arguing every night. The inspector suddenly dies of malaria, which he contacts during one of his inspections. This enables Weili and Wen Fu to shift into their rooms.