Today is the 6th of October, thinking of our old time-schedule I would be back in Berlin since yesterday, probably lying in my bed with a headache from the party the day before, wondering if it was all just a dream.
But as our time-schedule changed, our location did as well, with a difference of more than 10.000 km. right now I am sitting in one if the roadside-restaurants. The wood the table is made from once was bright color, but now it is nearly black from all the dishes, fat and dirt that has gathered on its surface. When I look around me I see the same thing again and again. Here in china people start out with their best intensions when building their house, but most of them never finish completely for it seems to take a long time here to build a house. Windows are broken before the door are build in, paint comes off faster than the roof is build, walls have cracks before they are plastered. The people here live in ruins before their castle is finished.
and if they manage to finish anyway, the next issue is that no one takes care of the house. I’ve seen lovely houses in beautiful landscapes, but before renovating it, they rather build a new one next to it and use the old one as dump-place.
I don’t know the reason for it, maybe the costs are to high, maybe it is in the culture to build new instead of prevent decaying, but it is sometimes sad to see the beautiful houses in classic Chinese style, with decorated rooftops and colorful paintings, decaying and next to them the ugly future building.
After having cycled away from chengdu now for over three days, I can definitely say we arrived in the most classic china I could imagine. Plateau Rice fields on hillsides, bamboo forests, old Chinese men with long and thin white beards wearing typical Chinese hats and dresses. Ducks, waterbuffalos and pigs everywhere in the bushes next to the street, rickshas an cyclists regain the streets which are now more crowded than ever before. Exotic fruits and dishes are offered amongst a wide variety of liquors which are presented in huge ceramic pots, sometimes more than a meter in diameter, painted with dragons and sealed with silks sheets. Every day is foggy and so the picture is completed by clouds hanging over the rice fields.
Sometimes we arrive at a place where we can look over the fog, see the land lying in front of us with its thousands of leveled fields, small steep hills and little villages in between.
It’s a beautiful landscape, but horrible to camp. Every square centimeter is covered by jungle, used as a rice field,
a garden of a house or just to muddy or steep to camp on. We have only slept in our tent two nights since Chengdu, both times we had to search until late night to find a suitable place. And believe me, we are not picky. The places we slept at were wet, stinky and dirty, only because of the “make-up” which covered them by nightfall, we could accept them. The two other times we were in big city areas in which building up the tent would probably have been dangerous, so we choose the cheapest hotels the rural places had to offer. We asked in several hotels where the people strange enough didn’t understand what we want. ” this room for two please”, I pointed at a list of different rooms. A huge question mark appeared in the face of the receptionist. After repeating and even translating my sentence a few times and only getting a shoulder-ticking and “wuo bu dong”, which means “I dont understand”, I left this hotel as many following without success. I mean, even if I don’t speak their language, what would you think, that someone could want if he enters a hotel?
Probably they never rented rooms and only had a hotel for other financial reasons. With the last one i asked we had good luck, they were willing to rent a room to us for a reasonable price, a quite luxury room with shower and clean beds for only 80 ¥.
The one we checked in yesterday was a catastrophe. I have seen bad hotels in my life, stinky hostels and dirty guest houses, but this one could top them all.
First, the room had no light, only through a window light of the corridor came in. Second, the beds were wet and stinky, third, the common toilet was right next to our window which we luckily couldn’t open, but the stink came in anyway. The shower was a water tap in the toilet and I would have prefered a muddy ricefield to wash. I felt more dirty when I came out of the shower than when I went in.
The most ridiculous thing was the price. Exactly the same than the other hotel the day before. But since there was no other option we had to stay. We turned around the mattresses and slept under our silk-sleepingbags. This morning we got up early, and believe me, it was a pleasure to get up although I hadn’t slept much and was very tired.
Now I sit in a restaurant in the next village, we have had breakfast here for only 10¥. The last days we have manifested our believe that eating in restaurants is cheaper than cooking for ourselves. We have stopped buying food and decided to eat two or three times a day in restaurants. This saves us time and money.
Now I have to stop writing because a group of Chinese men has come so close to the screen of my telephone that I can smell their breath an hardly see what I write.
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