English Version 41
I follow the new road. Except one tunnel where I put my headlight on (no light and 1,5 km) there are no problems till I reach Wenchuan. Here the road divides and I find the right one. Luckily the map shows on which side of the river I have to be.
The continuation I couldn`t have wished better - until now. I`m already at 1400 m. The mountains have lost their trees and have become more brown.
But later it gets harder.
At 14.30 it happens. First I think it`s a big explosion nearby, but the shakings continues. My next thought is: Oh my God this is an earthquake and I`m quite excited about it. Who would have thought that I should experience an earthquake in China. Rocks come falling down on the road in front of me and besides the mumbling from the earth there is the sound of falling rocks as if the whole mountain comes down on me and in a fraction of a second I fear for my life - how am I going to deal with this. Next second I react. Turns the bike around get off and puts it against a tree. I don`t know why I do not just throw it, but I don`t. Then hurries down a slope with growing trees to the field below. It`s very muddy so I wait for some seconds to see what happens. Rocks are falling on the road I can hear, but nothing is coming my way. It`s like the whole world is shaking. As if the mountains are trying to get rid of some irritating bugs. And the sound is tremendous. Parts of the mountain side is coming down the other side of the valley and dust rises all over. It`s as if it goes on for hours but probably only a minute or two.
When it comes to ease the whole valley is covered in dust.
I climb back to the road to find my bike where I left it unharmed. In
both directions are rocks on the road which could have hurt me badly.
Slowly I start riding thinking: that was an earthquake I`m glad it`s
over now I have to move on.
I only have to go for a few hundred meters then there is a gas station where people are waving me in.
There is a group of some 10-15 people. Staff from the station, drivers with cars and their passengers and a couple of motorcyclists. There`s also an old man who later is shouting across the valley to someone in or outside a house.
The building hasn`t been damaged but the concrete surface outside has got a big crack. A low wall around the tanks has also got some cracks.
Now half an hour later the dust clouds have almost gone but there are still regularly quakes.
Just now there was another aftershock and minor dust clouds rise.
After one hour there are still quakes. Locals come walking in the road in both directions and a few motorcyclists are seen. Two cars from north have to turn around here.
After having waited till four o`clock I go on with the motorcyclists. In the village there are damages. All houses made of bricks are still standing, but a lot the buildings made up from more casual stones are more or less destroyed. The bridge is still standing but on the other side of the river the road is completely blocked. I go back to a hotel I saw in the village but it is closed so I go on to the bridge again. In the meantime one of those big machines has found a driver and he is clearing the road across the river so I can pass. Just when I`m passing there`s another aftershock and rocks come down so I have to turn to the right away from the road and into a kind of parking lot where many trucks and private cars are parked and a lot of people are standing.
When the quiverings are over the interest is about me. In a short time I have a seat, a bottle of water and hot water I just have to get my tealeaves.
Even now after 17 there are weak quakes from time to time.
I prepare for putting up my tent. A family living across the road in a house build up the mountain side have found some big plastic and are constructing some kind of tent to sleep in for the night.
All wants to help me putting up my tent and though I prefer doing it myself because I know how to do it, I let them.
Then there`s supper. In some kind of kitchen belonging to some
institution a meal is beeing prepared. You mingle things from different
pots and bowls yourself to make a sauce and the noodles are already
boiling. How all this is done I don`t know, but people seems to know
what to do in a situation like this.
The next 4 hours are critical...From 18 till 22 they say. I hope this is not mentioned back home, because there`s no signal on the cellphone, so I cannot even tell them I`m OK. But it wasn`t big though I for a short moment felt it was the end of the earth.