English Version 31
Today Iíve got many new friends.
The day didnít turn out as planned, but thatís often the charm of it.
It was a hot and damp night, but I slept from 24 till 4 and later till past 7.
The road out of town is worse than ever. It takes me two and a half hours to go the 25 km to Baolun, then the road cross the river and gets OK. Itís still very damp and gets more and more hot, but itís lovely here along the river, where thereís quite a current.
I come to place where the road divides and there are two policemen, their motorbike, a parasol and a big bowl of water. To Chengdu? No, youíre totally wrong. I have to go back to Baolun. Damned, how could it go wrong? But I havnít seen the markers of G108 for a while, itís not the first time, but this time it matters.
The policemen speak the local dialect, but also a few English words, so we get along all right. I have to sit for a while in the shadow and drink some of their water? Yes why not, now everythingís gone wrong.
We also do a photo session, which is just about over when a younger
couple arrives on bikes on their way to Baolun. She speaks English and
he does too. I can accompany them? Yes, thank you. Iím not used to
English speaking company, so instead of a bad necessary piece of road,
it becomes a nice trip, which quickly (10 km) is over. And can they
offer me a cup of tea, where they live, in a fine lŁguan. They are
lovers and she lives in Chengdu and he some place in a power plant up
the river, and now when they have 3 days off because of the first of may,
sheís up here.
One hour has soon passed, where we talk about all that, we didnít have time to while cycling: Danish social conditions, politics and government, the cultural revolution and my classic questions about that and a lot more.
I shall call her when Iíve arrived at Chengdu, so we can meet again, and we exchange e-mail addresses. A couple of pictures are taken and THEN itís time to move on.
Iíve already revised the plan of reaching Liugou, but I donít get far before thereís a BANG from the rear wheel tells me that also this old tyre is finished. This I find out after a short investigation of the tyre. Luckily itís in a village, so I have my hands washed after having repaired the tube and changed the tyre.
Itís always interesting to watch me take off the wheel and repair it, I can tell.
The plan is revised once more. Itís 17.30 so how far can I get?
I met some more Chinese cyclists and talked to one of them, and Jianmen Pass, which is on the map as a scenic spot must be the goal.
But how high I have to go, and how steep it will get, I donít know. Only that I still have 15 km left at 18.15. If I have to go with 7 km/h it will take me 2 hours!
Itís a wonderful gorge I go up through. Steep parts change with small descents until I get to a plateau, through which the road entwines dressed in woods. In front vertical multicoloured 500 mís high cliffs are seen with woods underneath. A house and a radio tower are seen.
Then comes the final climb. The steepest I experienced until now. I draw myself up in the smallest gear with 5 km/h.
Up the pass thereís a temple and restaurants and the road has been fine all the way up. This is a new Chinese tourist spot. Then comes a flat piece and Iím waved in. Iíve turned others down on the way up, but now? Stay for the night? Itís 19 oíclock. Itís a restaurant but a little back there is a lŁguan.
They want 100 RMB for a double room. Itís got all, but is looks awful. I decide that 80 is the limit Ė and get it.
A quick shower, the water cannot, havnít got time to get hot.
Before coming this far I was addressed in German, by a Chinese that has worked seven years in Cologne. Lives in Chengdu now. I speak German! As good as he does I think, but it takes a little to get the rhythm. Itís good to know other languages!
Back in the restaurant where I had promised to be at 20, for once I get it as I want it. They canít do chicken but fried rice with vegetables and beef is fine. There are two girl from secondary school, who speaks a bit English. They are very shy and one of them brings a schoolbook to ask: do you mind waiting another 30 minís?
I have to look in the book to understand. They are nice people all of them. The father reminds me of the Danish actor Thomas Bo Larsen. I donít think a foreigner ever has stopped here before. Itís as if I fill the whole restaurant, everything else seems less important.
The food is brought just after, so the question was more an English exercise I think.
The landlord brings a guitar. Do I want to play? When the first guitar canít be tuned, he brings another one, where only the d-string has lost the screw. I tune in after the d-string and sing and play Donovans Donna, Donna with plim, plim before the chorus and all. When Iím half through the first verse the applaude breaks through. Iíve saved the day. This they wonít forget for a long time. At once comes free tofu dishes and cucumber and eggplant dishes on the table.
I shall eat breakfast there at 8.30.
The girls have got my e-mail address and shall write me, when they are back in school.