I go for the supermarket early. First to the first floor to look for rubber bands with hooks for the bike. I bring a piece of paper with an explanation in chinese. I show it to one of the staff. "Just give me 5 minutes", he says encouraging, but turns back with the disencouraging: "meiyou". Do I believe him? I wander about towards the bikes - and further on - and further... Suddenly my eye catches a glimpse of the right stuff. 2 x 100 cm for 5 RMB. I ask if they have shorter? No. So I buy two sets. Unfortunately you shouldn’t believe all you’re told here. Sometimes it’s true, but... I buy a lot of food for the coming days on the bike.
Yesterday night a cyclist arrived quite late. Even in the dark he looked like someone coming from up north - the mud could be seen even the light was dim. Now he sits there, when I return. From Austria, Max. He actually did come from Maoxian and before that Songpan and the grasslands. His girl friend has problems with one hand, so she came with the bus.
We talk about bad roads and earthquakes. When I say I need a repair set for the tubes, he goes straight to get one. Quite new. The same green stuff we get in Denmark. I can have it, he’s not going to cycle that much from now on. Has been on the road for - 1 1/2 years - I think it was.
I ask for photos from the road Wenchuan - Yingxiu. That was one of the reasons he wanted to do this part on bicycle. He’s got all the photos I wish I could have taken. Now they’re on my USB too. We exchange names and addresses.
I leave at 11.
I havn’t requested about the road, it looks quite easy in my map - it is NOT!
I start heading for Pengzhou, but changes my mind and goes east. I zigzag
looking for the big road to Shifang. I start using my compas more and more.
I’m captured by the railway going east at one time. End up at a huge road in the right direction. There’s no traffic. The explanation comes when the road suddenly ends. A small path goes on. Shifang is now the magic word. I accompany two girls on an electrical scooter in the bad road, which eventually gets better. They wave goodbye, I just have to go on.
I eat for the first time long after noon with a lot of tea drinking people in a small village. Just go on. It doesn’t look like. Accompanied by some motorcyclists I go through the ricefields on the small road. They too wave goodbye at some moment. I have to go right later they showed.
In the end I arrive at a big road, which no doubt leads to Shifang. There are no english letters here, but I’ve guessed what Shifang looks like.
My toes cramp at some time, I’m not used to such a long ride on bicycle wearing sandals. Later my left thigh cramps. I never tried that because of bicycling.
Totally exhausted I reach Shifang and realize I have to stay here. At the bus station I think there must be some kind of hotel here? Just that, so shortly after I’m inside. The room is alright but the common bathroom doesn’t look nice. 40 RMB.
A little later it’s the daughter who is in the reception. I try a
little english/chinese. It works. She doesn’t know how far it is to
Mianzhu, but how to get in the right direction she does know. I wouldn’t
have guessed, so that was good.
I ask for a bookstore and she draws and tells. "Xinhua shudian", by the help of these words I find it in the end, but it’s not easy. I find a map that also have distances. I have trouble finding my way back, but I do. It’s almost dark now.
I eat at the restaurant next door. My presence makes this dull saturday brighter. Can you believe it - a dane!