Iím sitting here in my new "hotel"-room for 30 RMB of which I only
was allowed to pay 10. The police has just been here, a very young
officer with a cap, all must be done according to regulations! But let
me take it from the beginning.
I woke up early. This bed like a stone doesnít really invite you to stay for long. And if I hadnít already been awake I would have woken up quickly. Two chinese men in my floor had to leave early and as a chinese you havenít learned consideration. On the contrary.
To have a chance in this country with 1.3 billion people you have to fight your way - and they do.
For a moment I thought it was raining, but that was just the water from the shower upstairs that sounded in the pipe. For another moment I think Iíll really be starting early, but only until I roll the bike outside, it has been stoved away for night. Outside I realize whatís the matter. The front tyre has a flat. When it HAS to be itís maybe not the worst moment this could happen.
A girl appear and ask for my email address? Iím a little confused. I think she looked different yesterday, but it IS apparently the daughter. Oh, is it a flat. Sheíd better help then. And we start walking together with the front wheel for some possible bicycle repair shop. I can do it by myself and I HAVE thanks to Max the tools but if I can pay someone to do it, itíll be alright with me.
No, itís unfortunately too early. So we walk back and I start working myself. The tools for the tyre works. The new pump is falling apart, but it works too. The hole is found. The patch glued with rubbercement. Thereís nothing to feel inside the tyre. But when Iíve put the tube back in position I just check from the outside and then I see. A piece of glass sits burried in the tyre. I get it removed and soon after all is ready.
I did ask her how sheíd experienced the earthquake. She was on her way back to school so she was outside. The houses were swaying but none fell apart. She didnít know it was that violent until later. A story like mine. If you donít have experienced it before itís hard to say.
After all I leave at 8.30, not bad.
The beginning is good Iím on the S105 so it just to get moving. Itís not until
Mianzhu things go wrong. I end up at a big crossing where the road seems to
continue. The road is wider than ever, it canít be wrong.
Iíve done around 4-5 km when a sign turns up. Wise from earlier mistakes I check. Where the hell is the town with those two characters? Then I find it in the end of what I thought was a railway. Iíve made a mistake. Back again. Iím at least doing a fair speed, almost 30 km/h I think. So I should have taken the road the the right. I ask for Beichuan? It seems right. Thereís not much traffic so I check with someone on a motorcycle. They want me to go down a small road to the left, itís obviously a shortcut? But I donít want to do shortcuts. I stop someone in a car, showing him the map. I have to go on. This is not 105 but ahead at a "lu kou", a crossing, I have to go left.
In the end the crossing appears, thereís even a sign telling itís 105. Back on the track. I wonder where things went wrong?
Now I just need to get to Aníxian and from there, it should be 31 km to Beichuan according to the map. I hope to reach Aníxian around 3 p.m..
I arrive at another crossing, where it, surprisingly according to the compas, says 24 km to Aníxian to the right. A big road without much traffic. The surroundings start waving up and down. The hills are 1-2 km.
Today itís more my behind that gives me trouble. I stop to eat several times.
Then the road suddenly comes to an end 3-4 km before Aníxian was
supposed to appear, but a street goes on to the left. I asked some truck
drivers at the roadside earlier. They showed I should be going left at
some moment. Not long after comes another crossing. No signs saying
Beichuan, but I ask, yes, itís alright. Aníxian is situated to my right
and soon after comes the sign that surprisingly tells: Beichuan 9 km.
Theyíre done too but no sign with Beichuan, but I can easily see theyíre constructing a town on the other side of the river. Itís got to be the new Beichuan that was 9 km away. A town. A whole town is under construction. Blocks in numbers. 20-40-50? Cranes all over. A town for 50.000 people? I drive around this "ghost-city". Some blocks seem to be finished, but nooneís living there. A girl is sitting on a bench in front of the empty blocks. Somebody comes walking with their shopping which is fruits. It seems likely to be some workers who has the day off, itís after all sunday.
But what will I find further in front? Can I stay for the night? I find comfort in the thought that I can always go back to Aníxian if nessescary - and I go on.
I come to another town and stop where there maybe is a busstation? I have to have some informations, where the hell do I find someone who speaks english? I try some boys but theyíre too shy it seems. I see a group of younger women. "Does anyone speak a bit of english?" One of them, a small curvy one does. A bit. But enough. There is still some distance to Old Beichuan, but there are busses around each hour. Accomodation here? Yes, just there, it costs 200 RMB. Iím surprised. It doesnít look that expensive. Oh, she meant 20 RMB, thatís quite different. But all is occupied. She takes me down a side street and into a courtyard.
He seems not too happy about it, but she persuades him, but this is where we have to send for the police, maybe more because he brings a form where everything is written in BOTH chinese and english.
When I have to pay and ask for the prize, she asks if Iíve got ten? Yes, but how much? Thirty. But when I bring my thirty, she just grabs one ten note and add the rest herself. After some attempts I give up, she WANTS to pay (but wasnít prepared it would be 30).
She tells me the name of the city is Anchang, but thatís in some way also the new Beichuan. People from Beichuan lives here.
Anchang and Aníxian should according to my map be two names for the same town, but I passed Aníxian 12-13 km earlier? So it canít be like that.
When I later go on my bike to find a supermarket I canít help to continue north out of town. There I find a part of Beichuans inhabitants. A huge area at the river covered with temporary houses. For once none of them have been removed.
Further ahead a bridge crosses the river and another road goes on on the same side. It looks like oneís not allowed to go there, but everybody does.
A little down my street thereís a cinema or maybe more a theater. After a short glance at the girls outside, I donít want to know whatís going on there. Itís not for children it seems.
Thereís loud noisy music that can be heard into my room. I wonder for how long? Itís 10.40 p.m. now.
Now at 11 p.m. when Iím ready to turn off the light the show is over and the rain has started. Hmm.