Oh, for the love of BLOG! Blogger decided that if I log in from a Chinese computer IT TOO must be Chinese. Note to techno-people: make me choose my own interface language.
So, I've decided to throw in the towel, and it was a nice towel too before it got oil-stained and dust-encrusted. I'm in a city called Sanmenxia, which has lost the whole point of its name, if you want to know.
Tomorrow, I'm bussing back to Xi'an, bike and all. I've come this way by bike, I think about 350km, but that's yet to be confirmed. Since having done that I certainly know pretty well I don't want to go back through that again.
This is just an introduction: I made notes. Suffice it to say that China has simply not endeared itself to me. Again. I try so hard. Here's the short version: The Chinese, as a group, with almost no exceptions, are the most inconsiderate, unfriendly, noisy and uncreative people in the world. I'm willing to discuss this. My Chinese friends even know my position. This trip has just, again, confirmed it. As a white South African such sweeping declarations about a whole other people seems extremely ill-advised. I agree. But for the love of white bread, I can't help it. I just don't meet exceptions. After a while it's terribly hard not to suspect genetic deviation.
As for the road from Xi'an: it's polluted and full of people and smells of shit all the way. Industrial wasteland, except for some pieces just inside Henan which are more like agricultural wastelands.
The cylcing itself went fine: I did between 50km and 80km a day and felt okay the next day. First two days were pouring with rain and the going was slow. Then it became merely foggy and dusty and hilly. On one day I had to walk up a mountain just before entering Henan Province. There was a road of course, but so steep I couldn't peddle, even by standing up on the bike.
At the end of every stretch my face was dark with dust, but it felt good to look back at some shitfaced piece of road and to know I kicked its ass.
This to say for China: never once on the road did I fear for my life. I was never in danger. I think that's more than we can say in South Africa.
That's it for now. I'll fill in the journey when I'm home in Xi'an. For now I would like to go find a bar -- in the interest of cultural exchange, you understand -- but Sanmenxia looks a little devoid of suchlike places. It's still the aftermath of Ten One (October the first, founding of the PRC) and the streets are packed for such a small city. Every -- every -- shop has a full sized red flag haning outside and the TV is full of period pieces about how wonderful Mao was and how bad and evil the Guomingdang was. There's a bit of a carnival atmosphere outside, but not in the friendly way we Western types think. I see the R2 per hour internet bar is pretty packed too, mostly QQ-ers and World of Warcraft. And the night is full of promise. And the smell of shit.