English Version 6
This morning I succeeded taking a shower. The heater didnít seem to come alive, but a closer examination of the thing revealed a lump on the cord and a red thing looking like a switch. After a press it started and there was nothing to do but to wait. There was a meter, but only with marks. Yesterday when I was shown to my room she gave me something which ought to be a towel. It was the same size as two face flannels and so thin that it seemed like a joke. Iíve brought my own, which isnít much bigger, but much thicker. It was a bit wet, but you can do with little if necessary.
The village showed to have a name: Loucun, and it was on my ďrealĒ map and was busy this morning. Traffic jam. As salesmen was sitting with their goods cars, bicycles, three wheelers tried to pass each other and with the usual Chinese wish to be first it ended up wrong time after time. But when all has come to a halt, people are clever solving the situation. But it takes timeÖ
Back on the road and back up the pass. On my way up rocks have been placed in my lane. I guess itís a ďwarningĒ and that yesterdays truck is still up there. Struggle ahead. The climb is 9 on my scale. That means I can go a speed of 9 km/h. Some time later I lower to 8. The smaller the figure the steeper the climb. Then more rocks appear on the road. Does that mean Iím up? The answer is yes, but the truck is gone. They probably forgot the rocks?
The mountains in Shidu valley almost disappears in the mist
I find the right road and within long I realize the meaning of Guilin
of Beijing as Shidu sometimes is called. The mountains looking a little
like those in Guilin (sugarloaf mountains Ė which Iíve only seen in
pictures) arise first at one side then at the other. It remind me of
Gorges de Ardeche in South of France. But the peaks are sharp and rugged.
Most of it disappears in the mist, which, even itís less than in the
village, is lying all over the valley. On the other hand it all comes
out a little more ghostly.
I decide to have a meal at a restaurant for lunch. Itís like jumping to the unknown. Yesterday there were even pictures on the menu, even they gave me something else. Now thereís nothing to recognize except the prizes. I choose something for 18 RMB. It happens to be exquisit. Small lumps of pork and onion tops and chilli in a delicate sauce and two bowls of rice. Besides green tea.
The area tells about development in China. For a start a big holiday centre has been made in the valley, with lots of apartments. If theyíre for sale or rent isnít to say, but if I have to guess, Iíd say sale. And then it goes on with restaurant after restaurantÖ.
Once more Iíve found a place to stay for the night. It was a hard job. After Shidu the valley continued forever and that was good cause the road was fine and the landscape as beautiful as you could wish. Father up the river it was less tourist like. At last after having passed some villages I never saw a name on the challenge came: a t-road and a sign with only Chinese characters and some distances. None of them seemed to fit my map.
After having studied the map I decide that whether I am at one spot or the other I have to go right, so that I do. If Iím at the first spot G108 is due to come quickly, so I ask. If thereís anything I know in Chinese itís the numbers. Yes that should be right Ė and it is. Hurra! I donít think I should leave numbered main roads from now on.
The joy is changed to hard work. Itís not a surprise, the road on the map makes some small turns and that usually means: pass ahead.
I struggle up. At the top thereís a tunnel, which fortunately goes straight, so the end can be seen. There are no lights inside, but itís only 4-500 m so no problem. I rush down the other side to a village where I buy some water. The girl speaks a little English. I try to ask for staying the night. She points upwards Ė on the roof? In the next village? She doesnít know but it should be 15 km.
I decide to continue, Would be nice if I could reach 100 km today.
A new pass. A new struggle. Another tunnel of the same kind, but this time Iím not led all the way to the village at the other side. The railway divides the village, it has just left its tunnel. You canít get to the village on road from this side. And it looks small.
So once more. Up again. Iím roasted. Nearly dead. I have to have something to drink and some bisquits, I bought during the day. A last fight and up I go. Have to rest just before the top. Then I rush down again. The village looks good. There must be a place for the night. I ask with the universal gesture. Yes, lŁguan, itís right there. If only they said something about right or left, but they donít. A lot of words and I can just look at the sign!! But Iím only a silly fool who doesnít understand a clue, so I pass it. They come and lead me there. Thank you. Just in time.
The place looks humble. And it certainly is. I can have a bed upstairs in a 3-bed-room for 20 RMB. Thatís reasonable, isnít it? There are no one in the other rooms - until now?
A toilet, is there a toilet? Yes, there is. I decline to see it. Iím sure how it is. And unfortunately the need for using it is increasing.
I have something to eat first. I point at something and get Ė dogs food. I donít know from which animal, but it canít be intended for human beings. The dish looks delicious: Meat and tops of onions in some sauce with rice. But the meat is all gristle and fat. Itís disgusting, but Iíve done more than 100 km, so I eat the best of it. When I want to pay itís 40 for a room for 20 a dish for 13 and a bottle of water for 2 at the most. Maybe the rice costs too, but 3? At the nice restaurant earlier it was only 2.
She gets her 40 RMB, I just want to go upstairs to write all this.
Thereís TV with all the Chinese channels as usual.
The toilet conditions are non existing. A hole in the ground, two concrete blocks to put your feet on. The toilet paper you fasten in cracks in the wall. But I have to use it. There are no washing facilities. They only have water in the kitchen.