English Version 29
Iíve entered what the Americans called Ēthe more hilly areaĒ. It fits with what ever topography the map reveals too. Small steep climbs and quick descents. Itís a beautiful landscape. Small gorges and broader valleys with fields. The road and the railway meet from time to time Ė and depart. Itís hot again, 25-28 degrees Iíd think. In a village is the market Iíve been waiting for. My right arm needs protection. The Chinese sun cream factor 12 isnít enough for a whole day in the sun.
I enter the village street with my bike, thereís not much space, itís
a market after all. Iím looked at as usual, but thereís a nice feeling,
people are engaged in their own shopping too. Iím ďtalkingĒ with some
Chinese. I tell about my problem with the sun. Oh, then you have to go
there. Itís the local pharmacist. I show them my sun cream and that itís
ďno goodĒ. They take it inside, but no, such things they donít have.
I find a white t-shirt with long sleeves and pays much too much. He starts on 35 and without thinking I say 25, because thatís what Iím willing to give Ė and I need it NOW. Done Ė so that was too much. But now he gains a bit because this market was a nice experience.
Iíve started feeling accustomed the local conditions. Chinese tyres, Chinese t-shirts of different kinds and my wonderful Chinese fashion trousers which I fancy so much.
Thereís not much traffic, most people want to save a couple of hundreds of kilometres and all the extra hours it would be not to take the highway, so better pay what it costs?
For all reasons the distance to Chengdu are shown with such big
differences, that it canít just be because of their lack of knowledge in
counting and measuring.
In a beautiful gorge I stop and enjoy the murmur of the river. On the other side of the road, thereís a spot where my tent could stand. Itís too close to to road, but itís the first time Iíve seen a potential campsite.
Itís 14.30 oíclock and Iíve only done 60 km, but itís due to the terrain.
At the end of the gorge there seems to be a steeper climb Ė until I hear a roaring truck high above me. So, THATíS what ahead of me. When I first look at the altimeter it says 950 m. The sweat is dripping already. Itís hot and there is NO shadow.
I ďdanceĒ the last piece up Ė I think Ė because thereís a flat piece with some houses, but sounds from higher altitude tell that itís not over yet. 1100 m.
Iím as high as the surrounding mountaintops, not only the two I have to pass through. One last 6 on the scale and here I stand in 1195 mís altitude.
Then comes a fine descent, which ends in the target town Ningqiang.
I end up at Han Yuan Hotel on the other side of the river. Itís expensive but probably not so expensive as the glass palace I passed on the first side. And there should be a lŁguan 8 km ahead, but I want internet tonight.
Itís as if I attract more attention here on the other side of the river than ever before.
When I walk down a modern street I end up in whatís left of the old Ningqiang. The street continues, itís just the houses that change. New buildings with apartments close to both sides, but in the middle is this ďancient-citystreetĒ still there Ė until now. The houses seem made out of what was available at the time, but most are made of bricks with tile roofs and wooden facades. There are a lot of shops in between. The usual TVís are turned on inside rooms with newspaper covered walls. The ridge of the roofs is waving a bit and the walls are sometimes not perpendicular, but thereís a nice feeling here.
I wonder if anything is done to keep it.
On my way back I enter the supermarket. Again I feel like an exhibit. At one time 8-9 children have gathered and together they are brave enough to surround me and ask: How are you? and Whatís your name? And when I later reply: Ni jiao shenme mingzi? (whatís your name?) They cheer like at a football match. Ohhh, he speaks Chinese. Unbelievable. Luckily theyíre testing their English, so I keep the illusion, that I speak Chinese.
They donít think so here at the hotel. But I think that the girl in the reception should be able to speak just 5 English words, when you think of how much of the hotel material is actually in English too.
But hereís never been a foreigner before. Who should come here? Except a guy on bicycle.