Yesterday we arrived at the biggest river of the world. It’s not the longest or the widest, but the one with the most water flowing through.
The Yankse kiang.
It is quite impressive to see that much water and it gave me an extra strange feeling when I realized that this river goes to Shanghai.
“We are really getting closer”, Paul said to me as we stopped on the huge bridge which lead us to the other side.
The ships under us were all rusty and old, none of them even looked like it could still swim. But they do and they do until they reach Shanghai. Then I looked down to my bike. “Someone els would think the same thing about my bike than I thought about the ships”, came to my mind. Not that it is rusty but the dirt from the Himalayas still doesn’t let much of its shiny interior get through to the eyes of people. But that’s perfect. Like this it doesn’t seem to be as worthy as it is.
The street on which we had planned to get to this huge river doesn’t exist any more. Well it still existed but we didn’t have the right equipment with us to cycle it. A few kilometers after a crossing, where we already wondered why all the traffic went another way, the street suddenly disappeared in the muddy water of a sidearm of the Yankse kiang. The “three gorges dam” had flooded this street a few years ago and so, without diving equipment, we preferred to take a detour and switch to another somewhat dryer road. The city we came to, Wanzhou, had also partly been flooded but we didn’t see any of the consequences any more. Everything looked just like it had been like this for ever. We crossed the bridge and sprinted up a pass of more than 400 meters in only half an hour. The landscape began changing. The rainforest was replaced by den- forest and steep and rocky mountains. Also the weather wasn’t that humid any more, the first time since over a week we had sunshine again. In the evening we decided that we want to cook dinner ourselves and bought some food at a grocery store. Against our assumption, that times, in which we get surrounded by many people when stopping to by food, are over, dozens of people gathered around us and all began speculating what the two strangers could want in their town so late in the evening. Children followed my every step through the store and every time I took something and put it in my shopping- bag, mumbling and whispering started as if I was picking secret ingredients for a magic recipe. When I came out of the store an enormous crowd had gathered, all much smaller than me, and Paul was standing right in the middle. A moaning went through the crowd as I had to bent a little to slip through the narrow and low door an whipped the anti-fly-cardigans to the side. The scene reminded me a little of the story of “gullivers travels”.
With every step I took back towards my bike the circle of people around me dynamically moved with me. Every little movement, when packing the stuff into my bags, was precisely watched by the kids and the adults standing behind them. When we took of, I tested our popularity by yelling “sei djen”(goodby in Chinese), and I got a surprising answer. Almost all of them yelled back like a huge choir, and then instantly began laughing and mumbling again, watching us paddle away in the twilight of the evening. A funny experience.
Not far behind the city we found a little grassy beach next to a dirty little reservoir-river. There we cooked dinner and went to sleep, finally once more in our beloved mobile home, our tent.
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