English Version 12
I wake up hearing the landlord tapping on the next door saying something. A sleepy grunt is the answer, then he sounds more angry. Later I know what he was saying: If youíre not up before half an hour you wonít have any breakfast. Breakfast is included it shows. This I understand when he tells me to remove the bun Iím just about to swallow.
I walk behind him and we leave for the corner where breakfast is being sold. He asks me what I want (Iím sure) but because of languages difficulties he orders for me. And I shanít miss anything. First tofu soup. Itís not exactly what I need this time of the day if ever, but you have to eat what they eat where youíre travelling. Then a bowl of rice gruel. Both with a taste of soya. Thereís a jar with something greenish you can add as you like on the table. And a couple of other things, chili paste, I think. You just use your own spoon, so I donít do that. Iím not sure about the place. The floor is so filthy, but itís often like that, the more cheap places, where no one sweeps the floor every 5 minutes, which they do many places, cause the Chinese soil it. You canít help it when you donít have it all on your own plate, like we do, but have to take a little from one plate and a little from the other. Then comes a pancake, have I described them before? Sometimes theyíre coated with fat and a mixture of spices, but this is without. Besides a round flat oil fried bread thing with vegetables and 2 ďfrog-snappersĒ (Danish pastry). No, they are not, but theyíre a little alike just fried in oil.
I start from one end and I canít eat it all, but I eat as much as I can. Itís not until the evening, when I write I come to think about yogurt and A-38 and mŁsli and how good that tastes. But calories? I must have had enough!
Before I leave the town the same way I came the day before, I go up the main street to take a photo of their pagoda.
When I came yesterday I took a shower and washed my underwear and socks. It has become one of my rituals. In this way I only need 2 sets, and then there would be room for another pair of trousers. The one Iíve got has got a dusty look Ė but thatís fashion?
Then comes a horrible day. Even itís Sunday the drivers are on the road. Not only is the part from where I arrived yesterday bad but the continuation is one road town after the other, which means garages, eating places, small shops etc. The areas arenít plastered, itís plain earth. Lots of earth!
And the lorries goes in and out. Is it dusty?
In between thereís some open land until the next road town.
And the road is bad, and within long thereís a headwind blowing. The road follows the railway and Iím passed by infinite trains one way or the other. Itís a change from the lorries. At the passing of Yuan Ping there are enormous factories and coal areas. Some buildings looking like cooling towers are found out to be blast furnaces when a sign says: Xi Mei Steel.
The monotony and the ugliness is broken by some mountains emerging in the east Ė and the clouds come up from the west Ė rain again?
Thereís a puncture coming up or has the rear wheel just been loosing
air? I havnít pumped it the whole trip. Itís getting pumped and itís not
until the evening itís revealed that itís a puncture. The hole must be
Not until 8 km before Xin Zhou the miserable G108 is replaced by a wide boulevard suitable for a big city like this. Constructions everywhere. Itís the new China coming up. A big mere tasteless building on the other side is an international hotel. With presumerably international rates. I go on towards the centre. These Chinese cities are easy finding your way in. If you just enter by the main street, and you normally do, you easily find out when youíve reached the centre.
I ask for lŁguan as usual, and as usual I have to ask 8 times because I donít understand if it IS on the left side, or if I have to TURN to the left first to find it.
I am welcomed by the entire family and the middle daughter turns into the main character: she can speak English. Sheís actually studying at university and is good.
As there wonít be hot water in my room until after 8 p.m. I am offered a shower in some common shower room. With 6-8 Chinese. I never find out what it is exactly but there is hot water. Thereís a plate beneath the shower with a spring. When you step on it and push it downwards the water is turned on. Very clever, because when you move away again the plate goes up and the water is turned off.
After having washed away most of the dust at least from my body, I go on talking to Xu Jiayuan which is the name of the daughter. Another Chinese who like to practice English and a Danish tourist who wants someone to talk to and information Ė and this girl is not playing games.
We go for a long walk round the city for the next hours. Among other things at her university, where she stays in a room with 7 other girls. Unfortunately she remembers thereís to be some exam the next day so no strangers are allowed Ė so I never see it from the inside.
I ask, if I can take her out for dinner and we end up, after a big discussion including the whole family about where to go and what to eat, at what my budget regards as an expensive restaurant, but she has to have something in return for her kindness. We have 3 dishes and a bowl of rice.
The first is a speciality: fish tails. I donít find out what kind of fish it is, but probably trout or carp. It includes the bones and everything, thatís how they do it here.
You get it all at the same time and you mix it as you like.
The second dish is the most delicious and one should be able to get it everywhere. A little like Gong Bao Ji Ding, which is my favourite Chinese dish until now.
The third are fried pieces of chicken. Theyíre fried with bones and everything, sp you have to spit out the bones. A bit weird I think.
I enjoy her company so much after not having spoken to anybody since Beijing. I ask her about the cultural revolution, when she by herself speaks about chairman Mao, and she says that it all happened for him to preserve power (exactly my words) and that it was a waste of time (she doesnít say human lives though). Surprisingly clear and clever talk by a Chinese, I think.
I have got her mail address and am going to try sending her a mail. It should be possible inside of China, but maybe not outside.
I have to enter the search engine they use here, called baidu.cn.
With this one most browsers start here. Then I have to search for wang yi 163, which is a chat room, I think, and then she has an alias there.
Now itís 10.45 p.m. and a horrible day had a nice ending anyway. And tomorrow I have to mend a tube. Iím worrying about my tyres. She didnít think I could get a tyre for a MTB here in the city Ė and itís rather big.
She didnít think I could withdraw money with my visa card here Ė and THAT I think is right.
Tomorrow at 8 oíclock thereíll be a special breakfast for me downstairs, but itís not included in the 60 RMB my room including shower costs.