Again, and again, I have to write this stupid blogpost. On the one hand I know I won’t regret it, on the other it is an unpleasant interruption of my journey nearly every time I write it. After having written so much, taking my small telephone in hand and typing word after word on its miniature keyboard, I start hating this act more and more. I think in my last blogposts you can even see this hate, if you look closely. They have been more a collection of facts than a story told with pleasure. Today I want to try it in another way again, more personal. Maybe I forget to mention some things when writing like this, but I hope it will be more interesting and less a summary of facts.
The night we came to chengdu was long. Riding 235km on one day is even more exhausting than I thought. It was not even the physical exhaustion, but more the head that couldn’t take certain thoughts and rhythms any more.
Again, I looked on my tachometer, again it’s still 100 km to go. Again, we stopped to buy water, again only the small bottles were available. The lanterns on the side of the road throw my shadow on the street, first it comes sneaking towards me from behind, then stands in real size right next to me, just to speed up and overtake me as if it was saying:”come on you lazy bastard, a little bit faster would do”. Then it disaperes in the light of the following lantern, which casts a brand new shadow behind me again. Cars come speeding by, sometimes with-, and sometimes without light. I have seen so many and heard their horns and engines that I can tell what type of vehicle it is without looking into my rear-mirror. Bus on the fast lane, truck coming closer which is being overtaken by a scooter. The conclusion is, there is no more space for me on the road. My brakes squeak, my feet go on the ground right next to the ditch so that my body can lean away from the incoming killers behind me. Only then I turn my head, four front lights coming towards me, the one of the scooter is broken.
As the truck, which is closest to me, passes me by the warm fume from its exhaust is blown into my face, drops of oil shooting with it. Maybe one meter distance between me and the three double wheels, which are obviously heavy overloaded, in this case make the difference between living and dying.
The only way of surviving this nightly trip is being aware of what is coming from the back. No reflector-strips, no lights an no screaming and yelling would help, only moving to a save place. We have had a situation in the mountains before, which we haven’t mentioned until now, but which has ended with a bus having a huge bump in his side. I rode down a construction area at which my stoplight showed green and the one of a bus was red. The busses here think they own the road and so he drove anyway. There was no space to go and so he in this way wanted to force me moving my bike into the ditch or driving up the hill until there was space. I denied. I mean, I am a kind person, and I can give up my right to go first, but in this case the consequence would have been to much. Well, the bus came towards me an didn’t seem to stop. As he noticed I wouldn’t go out of his way he slowed down a little but didn’t stop. He literally forced me to jump into the ditch with my bike. Otherwise he would have run me over. I was so perplex that I didn’t react. But as he did the same with my brother, Paul did the exact right thing, he stepped of his bike and kicked against the side of the bus, which got away with a huge bump, a damage that the bus driver hopefully will have to pay himself. The driver wanted to get out but couldn’t for the ditch was under his door and he would, just like we, have gotten his feet wet. Also going backwards was not an option for the street was to narrow and the next bus was already waiting behind him. The asshole went in his own trap and Paul and I drove on satisfied about our revenge.
Well, so much about traffic in china.
The hostel we checked in was making it up to us again. A paradise in which we got the Tibetan room on the ground floor, view on a little overgrown garden with a river and a service that could show a five star hotel how to do it better.
We slept until 8:00 for we had to go for our visa extension.
Once we arrived at the office we were told that our extension would take at least 14 days, for the public Holliday was in between and it was our problem that we were so late. Even if our visa was officially valid 30 days, we now would have to extend it after 20 days and so loose 10 days of our trip. They denied every further explanations and after we tried everything, even calling an visa-agency to help us, we gave up. Well, on our way out I asked the women behind the counter one more time, and it seemed to be that one time that she couldn’t take our begging any more and she let us through to the one in charge. Suddenly all problems were solved, we could choose freely when we want our new visa and for how long it should be valid. The only thing we had to do was be persistent.
We left the office and happy about our success, fell on our hostel-beds and wrote the last blogpost. In the evening we met with a friend who was in Chengdu as well and had an excellent dinner in a small restaurant.
It was a deep sleep I had that night. Exhausted from a 230km sprint, a short sleep, an office marathon (which we won) and a stuffing dinner.
We slept long. When we woke it was already 12 o’ clock. We spent the whole day in the hostel, reading, relaxing and eating. In the evening the public Holliday was announced and drinking games and party was organized by the hostel. The stuff later took us with them into their favorite club. There they knew the manager and so we got our personal table at the dance floor, always filled with vodka bottles which the manager had organized for us. After dancing the whole night Paul and I slept over on a couch in the club and came home in the early morning.
I must say, it was a crazy evening but not the kind of evening I prefer. Although we didn’t pay a cent for the whole evening, the club was somewhat anonymous and people there stood around in their private groups, everything was plastic and mirror, it was a club that had quite a “cold” atmosphere, if you know what I mean.
The next day was obviously not much action. Walking around a bit and doing stuff that had to be done: fixing some of our gear, washing and going to bed early. For they have a little video-rental in the hostel we watched a movie. Kind of a strange thing for it was the first movie for us in about half a year.
Although we actually hadn’t planned on going out again we ended up with a German guy in a taxi looking for a bar were to grab a drink. But everything went different. On our way we decided to by some drinks in a little shop. The biggest mistake ever on this trip.
——- Now we can not write about the events that then took place for we fear that it might have consequences if we do. Everything that happened that night will be published in a blogpost as soon as we are back in Germany. So much for now: we are fine and can continue our trip as planned.
Sorry about that, but publishing the events of that night would bring risk to the end of our trip.——-
The day after certain people fucked up my good believe in this country we left the hostel at midday. We didn’t get far, about 40 km out of Chengdu we rose the tent in a peach-plantation, it was foggy and everything quite wet. We at baguette and cheese, which we had found in a Carrefour-supermarket, and went to bed. At about 3 o’clock at night we both still lay awake:” do you know what time it is”, Paul asks me with surprise in his voice. We both had been lying like this for hours and couldn’t find sleep.
“About 6 o clock maybe?”, I replied and was as surprised as he told me the real time. Maybe it was the full moon, maybe the events of the last days, but I just couldn’t sleep. This morning we got up early, packed our stuff and searched for a less humid place to write this blogpost. We ended up under a walnut-tree. Soon we got company by an old couple, selling fruits. I look out on a green foggy valley, lots of bamboo and fruit-trees covering the ground. From all over I hear Chinese people talking, the valley leads their voices up to me like an ancient amphie-theater. Although I can’t see them I know they are somewhere working under the bushes and trees, gathering the fruits which are sold right next to me. I somehow envy their simple way of life, but am also looking forward to be back in Germany.
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