Day 98 892 days to go. Distance: yesterday 76km today 58km total 5909km. It’s 7.20pm Wednesday 7/3/2012 Quanzhou. All going well I should crack the 6000km mark tomorrow yay. Last night I spent the evening with the family that run the trucky’s stop I stayed at 5km past Xing An. It had been a ride in the rain but I was keen to do a decent wod of Kms despite the conditions. It was also very head windy and of course that notorious chill bill factor made the KMs well earnt. The area covered has been very industrial with factories and heavy transport coming and going . I stopped at the 35 km mark for lunch at a small dot town. The town appeared mostly about its concrete factory and catering for its workers. Across the road from the factory entrance was a bustling shop front with a couple of seats, two pool tables, and a small crowded area filled with workers on their lunch break and wanting noodles in a hurry. It was all hands on deck for the husband and wife running the crazy show. As quick as they could line up bowls, fill them with noodles, stock and a topping mix, the men were clearing the bench top. And so it continued for about half hour until the hungry hoards cleared. It was fascinating to be a fly in the corner waiting and watching the production line and feeding chopsticks frenzy. The woman then spotted me and flashed the biggest grin and hello. For 4 yen she served me up a bowl of the best noodles with a simple mix of nuts and herbs delish. Happy belly later I braved the rain again for the next stint. It got to ‘over-the wet-wind-and cold’ o’clock when I spotted this truck stop that had rooms above so stopped to see if it offered accommodation. The family were so welcoming and the eldest girl could speak a handful of English. The rooms were the basics, a bit dirty and smelly of men. They were dorm style with three beds to a room. There was a communal loo and clean up area that had hot water. I got a room all to myself. The family told me to clean up and join them to watch TV. I was all happiness and an hour later was sitting around a table with the two sisters both pregnant and their mother. They were chatting away with the sister kept busy interpreting what she could. Under the table cloth was a pot of colas and very toasty. Something nudged my leg and the family cat was enjoying the colas between my feet, just short of cooking himself. He was a lush and we bonded. He let me occasionally stop patting him to rejoin the conversation. I had grabbed the map and calculator and worked out my kms through to Beijing during the evening. The family and Truckee’s popped their heads over my shoulder to check how I was going and comment away. They were supportive and said I was brave but that it was too cold for cycling and to buy a moped :-). About 8.30pm the father got home and a communal dinner of rice and stir fry was brought out. I started packing up to leave them to it and was told to eat!! The father assumed host and welcomed me to his home, He said that China and Australia were good friends and to enjoy myself. The family was all about the TV and their conversation around it and whatever else was constant and colourful. The father talked to me about his job, how he wanted to go to Australia but was too busy at the factory, about the TV show, all the while wanting me to eat and enjoy myself. I was clearly his guest and he was enjoying himself looking after my stay. I had bowls and a belly full of dinner and the best evening. At 10.00pm I excused myself as the mother falling asleep on the table was a sign of bed o’clock. I finished my KMs and used the donas and pillows off the other beds to make a cosy nest to pass out. I was really happy to have done my kms and dots to stay. I should have Internet access every few days hopefully. In a few days I reach Nanyue the starting point for a day hike up the sacred Taoist mountain Heng Shan. Ive allowed 4 days for Xian including bus travel from Denghou to Xian then back to Zhengzhou to rejoin the highway to Beijing. Today I woke to super full on fog and cold but no rain in it yayayayaya. It stayed that way for the day which was fabulous. I had my break at the small town of Calwen that was having market day. The whole town was a market with stalls of fresh and cooked food buzzing with folk it was great. I wondered ad snacked and found my next favourite sweet treat. The ladies deep fry small balls of a sesame dough that expand when cooked to a tennis ball sized light tasty delight. I spent a couple of hours here and eventually dragged myself away to finish the kms to Quangzhou. I checked the route for tomorrow at the local petrol station and the fella pointed me to a hotel across the road. 60 yen later I have a very cosy room with air con at 30 degrees drying my squeaky clean clothes for tomorrow yay. The lady at reception grabbed the woman next door who knew a handful of English to help. I asked her if there was an Internet cafe and she said no but offered her computer. Nice!!! She served me fresh green tea and an apple while I got to send the family a quick ‘hi’ email. The room was still being cleaned by these quirky two ladies. They were full on colour and wanted to chat so we used the lonely planet guide and had fun trying to have conversation around the phrases. Later I found a hose to clean up my girl, oil her bits and adjust her cables. We’re all ready to tackle the next three days to Nanyue. This evening we went for a ride into town and found the local market that was selling tofu yay. On that note its time for dinner and a relatively early night after partying late last night with the Truckee’s. Well not really but it sounds good for she who usually goes to bed at Nana o’clock. I wrote this poem in my head watching a chicken scratch about my spot tracker this arv. Ive added chicken watching to my list of ‘fun to dos.’ Talk soon x
It’s about a network of support.
It’s about a family connected
It’s about finding strength in people.
It’s about the adventure of life.