English Version 19
Just before I went to sleep I heard a knock and Iím fully awake. The police?
But itís just upstairs theyíre knocking the floor. Am I snoring that loud?
Chinese beds are HARD. This oneís a special class. But I sleep until 3.00. Then I have to find out something. The quilt is so wide I can lie on one part and drag the other over me. This way the rest of the night passes by. But itís difficult to turn around.
Iím off before 9. Shakes hand with the landlord. No hard feelings. It has stopped raining, but the roads are wet and muddy. Either dust or mud, you canít have them both at the same time, but which is the worst? Both. Soon Iím on a concrete road, which is divided into tiny little pieces in a puzzle, pushed a little to the side. Unbearable. But one thing is sure: it will change. For better or worse. For once itís for better.
Today I have to cross the Yellow River: Huang He. One of Chinas two nerves, with out spring in the highland of Qinghai far to the other side of Lanzhou for then in big turns to move north to the Gobi Dessert, then east and then south, where Iíll meet with it, before it at last moves east and enters the Chinese Sea.
It starts to rain. Itís always only a light rain, but itís enough so all gets muddy and I end up bringing out the yellow raincoat around the front bag with all the electronics.
When I get to Huang he thereís first a toll gate, where I pass right through. Oh, itís because the old bridge is only for vehicles under 2.20 m The trucks go on north along the river to a bridge, which I never see.
The great view of the river passing through the gorge in the mountains, running into the flat land disappears in mist and rain. Itís all the same a great moment, where I seem to feel some of Chinas soul, here where the rivers muddy water floats by to feed 1 billion people.
Iím standing writing (by hand) in a gas station. There are NO places
to sit in China, except indoors. It has at least stopped raining. The
bike doesnít look good, I canít find words to describe it. Iíve been to
one gas station to clean it once, but now as the road has begun drying
it desperately needs a new cleaning. And I too.
On this gas station a taxi driver is cleaning his taxi. I interfere. First I manage by myself with a wash basin, later I take over the hose. When the bike is MUCH cleaner the manager sends one of the girls to get some hot water so I can get my face cleaned. And then I must have a cup of tea! And when Iím inside, I canít leave without a bowl of dumplings. And when the first are not hot, I have to have another.
The girls here are more shy than those Iíve met with earlier. They politely says no thank you, when I offer them my expensive nut bars, but the manager tells them to accept, so I wonít loose face.
The interior consists of a desk and two chairs with backs, which are kept together with mounting and wire. Besides there are 4 stools. The staff consists of the manager, two women and six girls. Maybe they have 6 pumps, but I only see them use the 2 of them. The manager sees the costumers even before they themselves have decided to come, and sends out a girl.
They have a map of China on the wall, so I can show them where Iíve been and an English textbook is found. Itís not much they can say. Almost nothing. In spite of all the sentences in the book all they manage to put together in the half hour I stay there is: How old are you? And something which I think should mean: Where were you born?
Although I say Copenhagen in the proper Chinese way, it doesnít tell them anything. But all are happy and think the day has turned out to be a little better, including me.
They donít want to be photographed and there are no camera phones here, things change from one day to another, or maybe from town to land.
I cross Xiyu Expressway which isnít even suggested on my map. Things go fast here in China.
Little by little the sun comes through and the mud dries. Weíre not good looking the bike and I.
I arrive at Hancheng, where the new part is up at the plateau and the old part down in one of those ravines that cut through the plateau. After having ascended again from the ravine the road continues to climb. It goes straight but is growing till 7 on the scale. And is goes on like this one km after the other. Here are yellow rape fields which break all the green. The trumpet flower trees are blooming and send out their scent all over the road. I think itís the first time thereís a nice smell at the road.
At last Iím up and immediately the road descents in big and smaller turns down a new ravine and then I have to go up again!
Here at the climb are beekeepers, who live in a kind of tents. Somewhere there must be a generator cause thereís a parabole antenna. It must be season work.
The last 20 km is a struggle against the coming rain Ė so it looks at least, but it never comes. The weather is pretty unpredictable in China.
I go searching around the city until I by my own find a hotel.
If you want cheap accommodation you have to stay close to the main road and ask for lŁguan, if you want something bigger, which often will be called binguan or maybe even hotel you mostly have to go for the main streets.
This one is both called binguan and hotel.
I have the bike and the luggage cleaned scantily and later myself.
I enter their restaurant and eat Ė my favourite dish. Weíre approaching Sichuan, it gets more and more spicy. This one is SPICY and thereís Sichuan pepper in it, like there should be. Thatís the first time.
I sit alone at a big table with room for ten. The staff is sitting eating in the other end of the room Ė except that Ė nobody. Itís rather nice.