It’s a shame. We have done so good up to now in not needing hotels. We have had plenty of opportunities to do so, but always chose for the wild bed. Now it is different. Although we accepted the fact that finding a free place to camp is difficult and thus start searching for one much earlier than usual, but we still don’t find any location that is suitable for camping. Even if we would ask the surely friendly Chinese people if they have a square meter left for our tent, most of them would probably have to deny, because all space is in usage for farmland or just not occupyable with a tent.
So again, just like yesterday night, I am lying in a hotel room on a clean bed, a bright neon light is mounted to the too plafond and blinds my eyes. I miss the shimmery light of our headlamps hanging from a rope inside our tent, the smell of the tents fabric when it gets wet from the rain, the save feeling I have when the raindrops hit the tent an I know I will stay dry and warm in my sleeping bag, the noise of the wind rattling and whistling through the narrow openings and the fragments of cold, fresh air that from time to time come floating through and refreshs the inner of the tent as if someone has opened a fridge right above me.
I miss the small room we have there, only centimeters dividing us from each other, we know how to deal with that room and how to share it perfectly. Although its narrow and I have to push and squeeze from time to time to keep my half of the tent free from “Paulization”, I can not say that I prefer sleeping in a “huge” room. Sleeping in a narrow tent is just much more the way I am used to, the more adventurous way. Even though there is hardly space for anything else than sleeping, I feel more free in our tent than in a large hotel room. It’s probably the room that is surrounding the tent, more than the inner room, that gives me this feeling. We were free to sleep were ever we want, now we have to hop from city to city finding cheap hotels.
Our tent is our little home, our save place were we have spent days and nights in heat and cold. It took me a long time to adjust to it and now that I can see it as a complete accommodation, I suddenly have to notice that the times, in which we could use it, are probably more or less over. Maybe we will have another chance to use it more frequently in the “little mountains” that lie in front of us. I hope so, for I somehow missed the chance to say goodby to that kind of life, civilization came back to our life’s over night, the night we cycled to chengdu. Since then, our “freedom of sleep” has been rapidly cut back.
We left the bamboo pavilion early in the morning. Of course, I don’t have to tell you about the weather. I was happy to have a roof to get up under and get into my rain-clothes before the first drops hit me. This very morning I could feel the winter coming closer. The autumn has fallen over the country, wind takes away the leaves from the few trees which are standing in between the bamboo and banana-plants. A strange picture. Its a mix of german autumn and jungle. Also temperatures are around 5*C this morning and I regret not to have put on my warm underwear.
Before we leave a boy from the mechanics next door comes to us and gives us a bag with cookies and cake. He takes our waterbottles and fills them, one with hot, and one with cold water. He was a surprisingly openminded boy. Everything he did was as if he could read our thoughts. All the help he offered we could actually need indeed. Most of the Chinese people, that offered us help up to now, didn’t understand our situation and what we are up to. They offer us to take us with them in their truck, offer us Schnaps and help in finding accommodation, but they don’t understand our tour. It was a very pleasant, although short convention in this case. He seemed to know what we want an need without us having to start a long conversation about it.
The rest of the day was rather unspectacular again. Because we have to get our kilometers done we had to do two passes that day, each about 800 meters of ascend. The landscape hasn’t changed much, besides the jungle getting thicker and thicker. Sometimes the bamboo-plants along the road look like iron bars of a prison reaching high up into the air and bending themselves over the street. If there was a bit of blue sky in the last days the sun still had a hard time reaching us, penetrating through the thick green wall over our heads. I wonder if anyone could pass through this jungle without a knife. I guess not.
Sometimes the bushes suddenly stop. Maybe because a truck has driven to fast and fell out of the serpentine curve, maybe someone just cut a window into the green tunnel to have a chance getting an impressive view over the mountains.
In the evening we again couldn’t find a place to camp and so had to check into a cheap 5 dollar hotel in Renxianzhen. After convincing the receptionist that the door of our room must be locked when we are out, we went for dinner.
It is actually a funny fact, that when checking into a hotel you don’t get a room key around here. The receptionist walks you to your room and opens it. After, the room stays open until you leave again, besides that you ask explicitly for the room to be locked when you for example are out for dinner. In this case this was very tricky. The receptionist was the only one looking after our bikes, which were parked right next to the main entrance of the hotel. If the receptionist went up with every guest to their room, that meant, that our bikes would probably not be watched after half of the time. As we wanted to lock the bikes the receptionist denied and said that it is not necessary, he will watch the bikes. This again shows me that steeling here in china I nothing very common. I mean, Looking around me I could have noticed that before. For example a shop that sells watches will only hang a sheet over its jewellery to show people that it is closed, probably taking a nap.
So I guess worrying about the bikes is quite unnecessary, considering that nothing has been stolen up to now anyway.
As we went out for dinner we made an excellent choice.
The food was fantastic but unbelievable cheep. The family of the restaurant was very friendly and even invited us on a beer. Afterwards I sat in the restaurant and a warm and happy feeling came over me. I was extremely tired but also satisfied with the day. The perfect moment to go to bed.
The next day we overslept because our alarm didn’t go off. Since we were late now anyway we decided to make a relaxed day. Well, luckily we had decided that before I spent more than two hours in a telephone shop to charge my prepaid card. The staff just didn’t understand what I want and so the store filled up with Chinese people, screaming and yelling in all directions to try helping me what probably was one of the reasons why it took so long. I couldn’t understand what I was saying myself but finally it worked out. As everyone was informed what the stranger had come to the telephone shop for, they grabbed their heads and wondered how no one understood what I want. I was very stressed when I left and so we speeded through until sunset.
We did another pass in between which was supposed to be a tourist attraction, if believing in the stars on our map (Liangping forrest). It turned out, it looks just like the other ones before, only a little bit more foggy.
We saw a guy on a motorcycle crash because a dog, sleeping on the street, had decided to not move an inch. The motorcycle was broken, the cyclist got away with a shock and the dog, which was unharmed due to the kind reaction of the driver, licked its fur sitting in a save distance on a rock above the street, just out of reach of the flying stones the swearing motorcyclist thru at it.
Now I am lying in a hotel in Caojiamiao.
My eyes are heavy and my legs hurt, but in a positive way. I feel they are exhausted, I am ready for sleeping.
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