English Version 9
Have to make a quick visit to the toilet this morning. The most questionable Iíve eaten is breakfast yesterday. Of which I eat the last yesterday evening. Stupid to go around with fried things all day.
Iím sitting realizing how the stomach is? OK I think. Eat some of my ďlembas-breadĒ ( some of you might know Lord of the Rings?) They resemble flakes of lasagne only thinner and smaller. Lots of them. Crunchy. And sweet. Made of corn flour. I bought half a kilo in Beijing and theyíve survived until now.
Drink a little boiled water. Better buy some tea leaves. Iím almost out of food. Have to be on my way early today, but I wait a little, just now thereís a toilet nearby.
I quickly arrive at a crossing and itís only 40 km to Hunyuan and not 60 as I had feared. I pass a shop. They speak some dialect here. Donít understand when I ask for tea. I try green tea? I give up and get my water and some yellow, caky things which are wrapped in plastic. They turn out to taste a little like a Danish kind of pastry. Just after thereís a traffic jam. Thereís a narrow part in the town and there itís all blocked up in a inextricable knot. Even I have to wait a bit before I slip through. From the opposite direction the queue is several kilometres. I guess a man with the help from a helicopter could solve it in half an hour. Now itís gonna take all morning. Iím climbing. Deep rain ravines to both sides. At one spot the road will soon be collapsing. Yesterday I saw an entire mountainside covered with dotted lines. To both sides actually. It was concrete blocks. Their purpose is to prevent that the earth is washed away. Thatís the biggest problem here: land-and mudslides. Thatís why holes in the ground are dug everywhere. Often 10-15 workers are digging at the same time. Each digging a hole of half a meter. Itís poplar there planting. Sometimes also pines are seen. I pass a grey village with a few red roofs. One day it might have disappeared in mud?
Theyíre ploughing with oxes here. And oxes carry carts. I see a single tractor on the road.
Have to cross some kind of pass. A climb gets the chain down to the smallest blade. The road in front is disappearing in mist. I manage to keep it on the middle blade. A slow cadence. Itís no good for the knees, but I donít get so sweaty as when I pedal like crazy. Look at the altimeter: 1530 m. Itís no wonder itís climbing. I hope to be up when Iím half the way, ca. 20 km? Unfortunately I pass the 20 km without any changes. 1605 m. I happen to cast a glance at the opposite mountain side. Oh no. Thereís a horse high up, but whatís more, something thatís obviously support for a road. Thatís where I have to go. 1660 m. Two abandoned houses is it there? 1725 m, no unfortunately not. Hereís only brown earth and roaring trucks. And then Ė without warning Ė Iím up. 1760 m after 22.39 km. NOW Iím going down. Itís cold, but the road is suddenly nice, sometimes youíre lucky.
I ask for the monastery several times so I donít pass it. Maybe I have to turn left to get there?
Then thereís suddenly a scenic spot to the right. Some pictures make me doubt where I am. It resembles the picture Iíve seen of Xuan Kong Si. I ask, but itís not. Mt. Hangshan it says, which is a holy mountain, which I believed was far away and therefore had skipped from the plan.
A quick decision. I havnít been reading about Hangshan, so I donít know exactly, what Iím in for. This is just the road going up there. Thereís an entrance fee. It should be 5 km to go, and then Iím on my way. Itís a hard climb from the beginning, so I almost regret the decision, but the road is perfect, Iím alone and donít have to hurry.
At last after 5 km Iím in 1640 m and the mountain should be 2012 m. Go around a hillock and understand: This is the parking lot and thereís a cable car from here. Or you choose to walk. Another quick decision, which isnít difficult. The cable car. My legs are finished for today. At the entrance is a sign: ďCherish every tree and every blade of grassĒ, Iíll remember that.
Sitting in a cable car, it moves quietly forward. When I float cross a dizzy abyss itís like all gets even more quiet. Am I already in the power of the gods? Iím writing hectically not to look down, I often donít feel too good in places like this. Then comes the steep part. Does it last 10 min? A quarter of an hour? Itís as if time stands still here in the middle of everywhere. Have to pay again to get into the temple area. Tourism has arrived in China. Itís out of the season, so there arenít that many people, but obviously most Chinese. They too have to pay. There are two paths to take. I choose Temple of Gods. When I reach it, there are nobody. A big bird like a magpie I donít know is grousing when Iím to take a picture of the god, an angry looking wooden figure dressed in red robes. Itís so quiet. No wind at all. The gods are holding their breath today. The view disappears in the mist, a totally flat plateau can just be distinguished far down.
In the temple complex (theyíre scattered all over the mountainside) I look into one. A man has bought some long incense sticks, which he tries to lit over a big candle. The temple guards are guiding him. First he has to bow with the sticks in front of him three times. Then theyíre put into some sand. Next he has to kneel on the couch in front with the face against the earth. Is it whatís called kowtow for the ancestors?
Iím offered the same, but refuse. I havnít done penance by walking up the mountain path, just been taking the cable car, but Iíve been cycling up to the parking lot. That has to be enough. While this takes place Chinese music sounds all the way down from the parking lot. Is the moaning sound an erhu? Or is that Japanese? Itís a string instrument anyway. Then horns and voices strike up. It underlines where I am. If not it could have been any tourist attraction anywhere.
A strike on a gong finishes the scene with the young man. And I walk on just when one of the guards mobile phone breaks the silence. Welcome to the present.
I move cross the abyss once more. Only paid 1 RMB for insurance (RMB means peoples money), so what will you get for me?
Itís a pity that the view disappears in the mist.
Then itís about lunch. I look for something eatable in a booth and am
at once shanghaied by a man, who thinks I should eat over there. Yes,
why not. There are already Chinese around two round tables, 5-6 around
each. I look if some of their food looks delicious. It doesnít. Two hens
heads are staring at me from both tables, itís apparently a popular dish,
Iíve already tried. As a sudden impulse I drag out one of the
phrasebooks and like a miracle I find the name of a dish: Gong Bao Ji
Ding. And I recognize the description. Chicken cut in small pieces with
peanuts and chilli, from Sichuan. Itís the best Iíve got until now. It
was in Shidu. They have it, shall I live from that forever?
Itís a cold trip down the mountain. I have almost decided itís too late to visit the monastery also, and before I notice it IS too late. A tunnel comes up and shows to be longer than before and it turns so the light from the other end is not to be seen. Even I have my sparkling magnet lights I canít see by them, and to go in a long dark tunnel is NOT funny. I have tried. Luckily there is half a meters footpath, which I use. The trucks are coming roaring in a low gear behind me and others are coming roaring up in front of me. Itís a violent experience. I stand on one pedal, but only move, when cars light up the footpath. Most of the 3-wheelers go through without light. Maybe it doesnít work. In the end the footpath is broken, but there only lasts 50 m and I roll gently out.
In this way I arrive at Hunyuan, which is a big city as expected. Want to find a lŁguan and try to find my way to the monastery when I continue towards Ying Xian, where Chinaís oldest wooden pagoda is to be found.
I find a cop and makes him write down the name of the lŁguan. I go up the street looking for the characters. Iím addressed by a Chinese who speaks a little English. Where do I come from aso. Suddenly he says: Are you gay? No Iím not. You know gay? Yes, I know what it means.
Until now no homosexual has ever molested me, so I donít try to scare him off Ė not yet. In the mean time weíve reached the hotel, which looks big and expensive. I say, I think it looks expensive. Yes, itís probably 130 RMB, but thereís one down the street for 20 RMB. Between these two alternatives and what they will mean, I decide to find out what the first one actually costs. And from now on I could easily have managed by my own. But he accompanies me, and itís nice to have a translator nearby. The cheapest is 108 RMB, almost like yesterday Ė and itís almost Danish standard. A small table and two chairs, desk aso. All in mahogany I think. I take it. Then he just wants to help me with my bags and all effort to wave him away is useless. Well, he hasnít bothered me until now. But in the end he has to borrow my pencil and writes, maybe to be sure I understand Ė his pronaunciation isnít too good Ė and he writes a moving story that heís not a bad guy aso. It all ends with: I just want to see your cocks, and hereís my limit crossed and heís out of the room in less than five seconds. He knocks on the door several times and pulls then handle, but Iíve locked it. Well, well, there are fags in China too, and it maybe isnít easy for them, but itís not my problem.
Now Iíve written a lot and are going to find a ďwang baĒ.
Have found out the name of the internet cafť and know about where it is. Far down the street after the traffic light and to the right. Bought some things for the next days. I felt like a Danish negro in China. I attract as much attention as a negro did in Copenhagen, when I was a child. But it goes no longer than scattered helloís. I come across a lighter. For when Iím to cook by myself. I have some matches in a photo container but they can soon be finished. When I wan to know what the button Ė which I think is for adjusting the flame Ė is for, he shows me that a naked lady appears on the wall, when you press it. Iíll have to have such one. But the model isnít my type, but there are more to choose between. I giggle inside when I pass on. China is full of surprises.
Once more I have to exclaim: ďWhat a day!Ē. Thank you for that.