8,020 km so far.
Keen observers will notice that we are no longer at 8,008 km. Yes, the bike trip has officially resumed! OK, our ride today was only down to the nearest village to get food, but it still counts.
We are once again in a lovely little bamboo hut at the Fine Yoga Retreat. Unfortunately, there is no yoga in session right now, since tis not the season to enjoy a mostly outdoors yoga experience. That means we are not treated to three square meals per day – we have to find our own food.
Aw, poor us.
To get fed, we got on the bikes and rode down the misty country roads to the village of Zhaoliqiaozhen. No, I don’t know how to pronounce that either.
Reminders that we are back in mainland China continue to appear. The streets are alive with scooters and three-wheeled trucks all driving at cross-purposes to the bigger vehicles, which are all honking at each other at once, making a honk-cophony that seems to serve little purpose.
No one speaks English here, but that didn’t stop people from coming up for a chat.
One particularly persistent man tried to stop me twice to talk while I was cycling by, trying to follow Stephen. I brushed him off with a polite “Sorry, I only speak English”. He caught up with us a third time as we stopped outside a grocery store.
We answered the standard “Where are you from?”, “Where did you ride your bikes from?”, “Where are you going?” questions and hoped that’s what he was asking. He then proceeded to tell anyone who stopped by to look at us that we were from Janada, which is how you pronounce Canada in Mandarin.
We had a little trouble finding a place for lunch. Since we’d had street stall noodles for dinner last night, we didn’t really want a repeat today. But, it turns out this town is pretty much a noodle town and there was little else on offer.
When we saw a man pulling his noodles on the counter at the front of his shop, we decided that his place would have to do. It turned out to be a good choice. We got a spicy bowl of noodle soup with a couple of squares of tofu thrown on top.
Dinner was another challenge. We wanted to get another bowl of noodles each to take home, but the “to go” containers here are just a little cardboard bowl, with no lid, in a plastic bag. There was pretty much no way we could cycle while carrying that, even though I’m sure the locals take that stuff on their scooters all the time.
Instead, we resorted to pot noodles from the grocery store and some fresh naans at a sidewalk vendor. Not exactly up to the gourmet standards we’ve been growing accustomed to in Hong Kong. Then again, for the cost of today’s purchases, we wouldn’t be able to get a glass of juice in Hong Kong, so I guess it’s all relative.
Our plan after leaving here had been to make our way by train or bus to Guilin, where we would enjoy the crazy karst landscapes and terraced rice paddies of the region. However, we found out today that the Guilin our weather apps had been showing us was not the Guilin we want to go to. The wrong Guilin has some really nice weather coming up, the right one has rain and almost-freezing temperatures.
Neither of us is big on cold and wet riding (who is?), so we spent the morning trying to find a new place to go.
We are leaning towards Hainan Island, which not only has the warmest weather in the country, it also has the best air quality, and as it is on the same latitude as Hawaii is known as China’s Hawaii. Sounds perfect. We still have to figure out how to get our bikes there and will probably have to play a few rounds of “please put my bike on the train” charades to get our message across.
It is daunting to try and explain with no language that we’d like to get the fast train to Guangzhou with our bikes, but if that’s not possible we would be happy to have them shipped if they can get there the same day as us. But if that’s not possible, we would also consider a slow train to Guangzhou or a train to Nanning or anywhere south of here.
Wish us luck! ♥