Monday 12.04.10 Chengdu
It's been a very messy first day. I've put some more one the mailing list, so I'll just sum up: As you can read at my website www.steenscykelside.dk I was in China in 2008 by bike. A biketrip that was cut short by the Sichuan Earthquake. Now I'm back to revisit the area and to look for some of those that took care of me, when I was captured for a week in the town Maoxian.
It was very misty when we landed this morning and it's stayed that way all day. During the afternoon it also rained, even just a little. The city has grown upwards since my last visit. One nearly finished skyscraper stands next to the other. I'm fighting with the two computers here for a part of the afternoon. They're no doubt filled with all kind of filthy stuff, that hopefully will not affect you? But I cannot update my website from here, like I'd planned. There is just one reliable way, that's to bring a minicomputer and log on the local wi-fi network.
|New buildings have grown up...||... and the chairman has had new traffic lights|
I go to the store next to buy a chinese simcard. It's 85 RMB, but I'm not sure how much is for talking. Laura has given me a number to call to get information on how much is left, but first my mobile writes squares in stead of the chinese characters, second none of the numbers that are shown fit with what she showed me, but it's maybe because I havn't used it yet?
The chinese RMB ("ren min bi", peoples money) is nearly as swedish crowns, around 0,80 kr = 1 RMB.
After having shopped tea, cookies, washing powder and clothes-pegs and had my first cup of green tea, I lay down on the bed. And slept for a moment to wake up confused not knowing where I was.
I don't go out to eat even it's more expensive here. 16 d.kr. for a meal with half a liter beer quickly makes you lazy.
I'm just to enter my sleeping bag when I get my first phonecall to my new chinese number. It's not surprisingly my brother who I've send it. His voice is clear just as if I was in Denmark. And then I sleep. I'm up at 1 a.m. when there are high voices outside, but then I sleep on. At some moment there's again improper loud speaking. I end up switching on the light to look at my watch. I can't believe my own eyes. It's 9 a.m. I've been sleeping for 11 hours! I don't know if it happened to me before - EVER!
|Some are working concentrated...||...and some less concentrated|
I rent a bicycle for 20 RMB. The deposit is 500! Very nice bike for going around town. I lend some tools to have the saddle adjusted for human beings. Go out to look for the busstation - it's far. I'm not sure where I am on the map and go back a little before I start asking, or to be exact: show the map with the name in chinese characters. Everybody seems to know it.
In the end I've gone too far - I expected to be too - and he shows I have to turn right down there.
There is a noisy activity. A lot of counters and a big board behind with an overview of where the busses go and what it costs. It's 191 km to Maoxian and it's 46 RMB - but "ming tian" - tomorrow, that's not possible. There turns up to be a information counter, and I ask if she speaks a little english? A little... She confirms that it's only every second day you can go to Maoxian. The departure hours are 6.30 and 15.00. I decide to wait until thursday to leave, and go back.
It's just another grey and cold day.
I'm fighting one of the local computers again. It's not THAT bad, but confusing with this Windows chinese. Imagine not being able to read! I can only relie on where words are placed in the menus. Which number is "copy"?
The cardreader I've brought, and which should make life easier, it doesn't like, but I do managed to do a backup of my photos in the normal way. I also do an attempt to log on to my website, but I'm not allowed. To up-and download files to foreign computers is apparently not allowed here. So my website won't be updated until I return back home. You'll have to do with the letters without any pictures.
Later I go along the river to revisit the area around Shangri La Hotel, where the remains from the old Chengdu still was last time. There's a light rain. It's not the lovely stroll by the river I remembered. But I do get to China Pride, the TV tower. A hugh construction is going on and one cannot along the river, it's all blocked. In the end I reach the Hotel, which has now turned into TWO towers reaching for the sky. Behind there's now a whole street with pizza, pasta made in old style look-a-like. The door I peeped through two years ago is still there. But now it's locked. I can see some of the old buildings behind but I can't get there. Further on there's an alley which leads to the old street, but it turns out all is fenced in by a wall. I guess they're reconstructing the area? Like it is now it's not worth anything but to be torn down.
After having returned Laura is there again and when I tell her there were no busses for Maoxian tomorrow, she doesn't understand and immidiately phones the busstation to learn, they just sell tickets for the next day. So, that's the explanation! So I CAN leave tomorrow, I think, but then she tells me it's not possible tomorrow, they didn't tell her why. All is exactly so impenetrable as usual. I'll do like Laura suggests, wait until the day after tomorrow.