First day, 300407, Monday: We go past Huangyuan, our planned 'sleeping town' but get lucky…
We stay in some unknown village, at least to me, about 150KM southwest of Xi Ning (20KM beyond Huangyuan)— turns to be, Ri Yue Xing.
We're cycling around Qinghai Lake, a group of five of us: me, XTRicha, Zhang Faju (our new female employee), and two Chinese boys we picked up in Xi Ning. One has the English name, 'Alex,' the other's Chinese name is Leili. Alex works for an IT company in Shanghai (but currently in Langzhou), Leili sells electronic equipment in Beijing.
The first day was interesting as we'd not cycled together before, except of course XTRicha and me. And you never know about people, their skill, endurance, etc.
We repaired the Giant bicycle for Faju, and she seemed to do O.K., this 28-year old Han Chinese girl. One of the Chinese boys, however, 'Alex,' smokes, and is slight of frame, and could barely make it. But, he seems to have a game heart, and that's what matters.
We stopped for lunch about 40 KM west of Xi Ning on highway #109, and ate outside on a concrete table (everything is concrete or tile in China). It was lovely in the sun, however, not too hot. The food I ate was fine (egg and tomato), but they complained about the noodles. Also, XTRicha complained about the price! But, for five people it cost only 40RMB or $5 dollars, one dollar a piece. Wait until he gets to Europe or the U.S., he'll be shocked! Prices and salaries all relative!
We arrived in Huangyuan, the town we had planned to spend the night in, but made a wrong turn. Here we had a meeting, whether or not to continue. We'd gone only 70KM and I asked the two boys, one from Beijing, the other from Shanghai, when they had to catch their flights back as this made a difference what to do. They said the 6th of May. So, I said we better continue, as have to average 100KM per day to get around the Lake in seven days. So, off we went looking for highway #109.
Ninety minutes later, after many rest stops for 'Alex' (he smokes) we came upon a village. We had gone some 83KM, and enough for Alex. Actually Alex was doing me a favor for I was struggling too after a five-month hiatus from long-distance cycling, and the flu (in February). From Ri Yue Xing you go up 600M / 1,800ft. (over the highest pass around the Lake) and we were in no condition to do that after 83KM and the pending darkness.
Here we found good rooms for the night and for little money. Plus, they allowed us to put our bicycles in their store below, and they made breakfast for us the next morning. All of this cost 150RMB, or $18 for 'bed and breakfast,' for five people ($3.75 each). Although no indoor toilet (you walk 20M to an 'outhouse').
You get outside of the major cities in China (Shanghai and Beijing, etc.) and prices are incredibly inexpensive, but the facilities can be primitive!
Second day; 010507, Tuesday: Over the 3,600M pass
So, by 0830, after purchasing some bottled water and me tea, we headed up. Surprisingly, almost two hours I reached the pass (3,600M / 11,000ft.) before anyone (I've trained much in mountains and at elevation). Here we cheered Alex's arrival almost 30 minutes behind us! This poor guy, who sits at a computer (IT job) in Shanghai (sea level) all year long then decides to cycle around Qinghai Lake on a rented bicycle! This no less without any experience or training! But, he's strong in the mind (persevering) and this is what counts.
Cycling long distances, on loaded bicycles, is a mental, not physical endeavor! The mind leads the body!
From here it was downhill, but Alex, because of the elevation (average 3,300M / 10,000ft.) struggled, going painstakingly slow for me. He told me, it was the first time in his life he'd ever seen a 'snowy mountain' (south in the distance). We had to stop many times for him, but I became increasingly impressed with his 'dogged pursuit.' At one point I had an idea to have his 'partner,' Leili (in much better physical condition) trade bicycles and 'crank' a greater load, but Alex would have none of that. They told me through XTRicha (although they speak some English) that they hadn't known one another before meeting in Xi Ning.
This is what kids do… Just come and learn the hard, painful way! Not much prior thought , no training, no research as to how far or hard, they just go! And maybe that's good! I did the same! Of course, not at a venerated age, I'm much more thoughtful and spend much more time learning about the situation I'm getting into. There's youthful pain and older pain!
And then the Lake loomed at 2:00 O'clock (direction, not time). I'd seen pictures and was eager to experience China's largest lake (at some points you cannot see the opposite shore).
Most of the people living in this region are Tibetan or Mongolian. We saw many stupas, and some grand! At one point along the highway to the south there's a very tall 'golden' statue on a plinth. Also, perched on top of a metal structure an automobile body (see image in the 'Gallery'). This is 'modernity' I thought when I saw it somewhat sad that it blights the surrounding nature beauty! Modern man worships the automobile! Had it been me, I would put a bicycle high on a stanchion!
Up ahead on the Lake side, a large resort complex dotted with yurts and tents decorated in bright colors. We see saddled Yaks waiting for tourists to sit on and have their photograph taken, there are boats in the water, and a big sign for a 'grand hotel.' We pass a group of native-dressed (Tibetan or Mongolian) women on horses who wave at our 'money.' We don't stop as we know this is a 'tourist trap' where the prices will be twice what you should pay.
I've learned about Chinese tourist 'attractions' (like the Great Wall) and avoid them. Qin Shi Huang's buried warriors exhibit near Xi'an is too much like Disneyland for me! Very disappointing to me, as so commercial!
Some 30KM up ahead we reach our 'sleeping village' (Jiang Xi Gou) and XTRicha gets us into a 'hotel.' Well not exactly, as these are known as 'rooms to rent.' The difference… Hotels have bathrooms, rooms to rent do not!
I pay for three beds in one room, as this is the only way for me to have privacy. But, then pulling the curtain, off it comes onto the floor. What to do? I sit having coffee while curious Chinese stare at me through the window.
The Chinese make everything known to man, but 90% of it, not very well! My newly purchased stove doesn't light, and I have no portable lighter. What to do? Zhang Faju has brought me 'kai shui' (hot water) so I don't have to boil. I call XTRicha on my mobile (used as a 'walkie talkie' sometimes) and ask him to get the owner to hang the curtain. Instead he comes himself (what a good assistant). When there is no place to stand to reach that high, he opens the window and stands on the ledge. With the window closed and the curtain hung I can undress and wash.
Note, this is one of those cycling trips in a remote area of China where there are few hotels with bathrooms. The 'outhouse' here is 50M walk. I have my 'piss bottle,' as a way of dealing with. I wonder what women do…? Wait!
I sleep pretty well, as it's quiet, but I’m up pissing two or three times during the night (standard for me).
Third Day; Wednesday, 020507: This turns out to be day a momentous day for two reasons!
XTRicha and the gang (we now have a total of eight, as three boys from Beijing have joined us) are up early we’re at the ‘restaurant’ for breakfast by 0740.
We're off by 0830, still heading west on the south side of the Lake. But, the Lake is still distant to our right, possible 2, to 3 KM if you measured.
We are eight cyclists in a row now, XTRicha leading, and me bringing up the rear. Motor vehicles pass encouraging us with, ‘Jaio yo!’
We stop to take a group photograph, as everyone wants (constant digital documentation).
The land around the Lake is barren except for an occasional ‘adobe’ (mud) house. There are Yaks and sheep herds reminding XTRicha and I of Xinjiang. There are many new 'kids,' and always so cute (what is cuter than a baby lamb, maybe a baby Panda bear). The Yaks graze, still with their long winter coats, and curious looks.
But, then the surprise of surprises, a fox (狐狸) is scared out of the bush and runs for cover. But, before s/he disappears we get a good look at a Chinese fox (black and white)!
Now, foxes are very clever animals and hard to see anywhere in the world. I've only seen one other in all my life in the wild, and this in Mexico. More amazing this is the FIRST WILD ANIMAL (excepting for birds) I've seen in China, and I've been 'out there,' quite a bit (the last two years)! So, I am happy to discover 'they're' not all gone!
There is evidence of Tibetan Buddhism everywhere, pilgrims prostrating themselves around the Lake on the highway. There are the 'prayer flag poles' (everywhere in T. Buddhist land), and small stupas, mostly to our left (opposite the Lake).
We stop at the largest one and take 'capture images' (see in 'Gallery').
It's an easy morning, until around noon. Then the wind ('da feng': a cold front) comes through and the wind gets increasingly stronger, until we can't ride, but have to get off and push. The faster boys and Zhang Faju, have gone ahead to the 'lunch village' leaving XTRicha and me with 'Alex,' the slowest of the group. The last five kilometers into the village are so difficult I wonder what I'm doing 'out here?' Sand blowing into my eyes, mouth and ears! I stop to 'capture' one image of XTRicha and 'Alex' behind me about 500M (see in 'Gallery').
When they get to me I 'order' them off and to walk. It's too dangerous to ride with all the motor vehicles passing!
We finally get to the village, and everyone is waiting for us! I would have gone ahead and eaten, but Chinese youngsters so respectful of age. The restaurant is crowded with travelers all happy to be on vacation! One thing about Chinese people they are having a good time (exploring China in their motor vehicles)! At least the middle class!
At one point a Chinese man comes to our table thinking he’s met us before. Rebuffed he returns to his group. Later I go introduce myself, as they’re all curious about Americans! Why I’ll never know? I suppose it has to do with ‘Hollywood,’ and American TV.
After lunch I recommend we spend the night in this village, the wind building. But, they want to go, and who am I to stay behind. The restaurant ‘owner’ has told us the wind will ‘die down’ in 20KM. We have another 45KM to go to get to where we’re spending the night.
I’ve cranked in wind before, and it’s always a challenge! The last was with XTRicha in Xinjiang east of Hami (on our trip to Shanghai). I’d rather have a mountain to climb than be in a strong wind. But, today this isn’t just wind it’s a cold front passing through! Thus, cold and cloudy. At one point we’re hit with sleet! Leili calls it snow, but I try to explain.
At a spot where the highway comes near the Lake we stop to partake and (me) rest. The ‘kids’ go down to the Lake edge (100M). When they return I pay for photographs on saddled Yaks. Anything to help out the locals who rely on tourism for cash. When Alex shows he doesn’t stop but continues ahead of us.
We continue on in the storm, but nearing the village the wind finally abates a little. I remember going up a hill with some help finally, rather than having the wind directly in my face! By now, however, Alex is far behind again.
Shi Nau Hai (our ‘sleeping village,’ at first glance, is abandoned, or no electricity (as near dark now). But, on the ‘main street,’ life! A restaurant owner directs us to a ‘hotel,’ and invites us to return for dinner.
We arrive at a ‘hotel,’ operated by Hui Chinese, and completely full (as we’re late, now 1900 hours). But, XTRicha knows how to handle this, offering more money. But, I’m slightly chagrined when I see two Tibetan women having to move out of their room.
Money is ‘God’ in capitalism!
I ask Leili to call Alex, and before long he appears. We now rely on our mobile telephones for everything!
We’re allowed to park our bicycles in a ground floor room. Behind us come some motorcycles. Ugh!
Some young Chinese girls appear as wanting to socialize with the boys! They are cute and curious about me. They speak a little English.
I get the best room in the ‘hotel,’ on the second floor with a view. But, it’s newly plastered inside and has a strange odor. Also, there’s no light switch just the exposed ends of two wires. I have my trusty ‘torch,’ however, so I’m not concerned. Zhang Faju brings two thermos of hot water.
It isn’t long before I’m in bed, light still in the sky!
030507; Fourth Day, Thursday: 'Oh what a beautiful morning…' (112KM)
The 'cold front' has come through and left snow on the higher peaks surrounding the Lake to the south (in the direction of Tibet). Since I'm up on the second floor, I get a view of the surrounding hills, as the sun rises. It's beautiful in its brown-white barren-ness (my kind of country).
I'm one of the first up as always, and walk to the outhouse (good time to be there as there is no privacy in such, just squatting holes). When I return I try to make coffee on my stove, but guess what? Not only doesn't the lighter on the stove work, but the lighter I purchased doesn't work either! So, I drink lukewarm coffee, in my concrete cubicle. Next door the Chinese boys are up and banging around.
I carry my luggage down the steep stairs as a Tibetan woman sweeps the ground pouring water on it to keep the dust down.
I clean my chain and load 'Ms. Fiets,' (my bicycle so named) whose been very good on this trip! It pays to take care of your gear, your bicycle, as they take care of you. I'm thinking I should lubricate my chain, but don't as I can't find where I stashed the little bottle of Shimano lubricant.
XTRicha explains that at dinner the previous evening they discover a young, talented girl who wants to perform for us. Since we're in the business (www.haaqi.com) of discovering talent I'm delighted.
On our bicycle trip from Urumqi to Shanghai last Fall (2006) we discovered Ling Ling, a six-year old girl, in another Qinghai village.
The girl turns out to be the daughter of the restaurant owner. Mao Yan Fang, 11-years old, is part Han and part Tibetan (a good combination). She turns out to be the sweetest thing, as most Chinese girls are--a wonderful smile! And with a good child come good parents, the father the one who'd given us directions to the 'hotel' the night before.
Breakfast is rice porridge, with steamed bread (I don't eat), and many other dishes. There's even milk tea (牛奶茶)!
Afterwards we go outside in the bright sunlight to 'shoot' video of Mao. She's a bit shy (not like Ling Ling) but I get her to dance and sing. This against a wall adjacent the town garbage dump (Chinese people just throw 'it' out anywhere!). A crowd has gathered as this is the biggest event in this village, since Ghengis Khan came!
Back inside the restaurant I give 50RMB to Mao's father (for Mao's schooling or clothes). Of course, we have to insist before he'll take it! It's almost a tearful parting as we now feel a part of the 'family!'
Out of the village we're now cranking northeast on a bright, but cold morning (0915).
Everyone is happier having had a good breakfast, now a smooth highway, and no wind to fight! I sing:
'Oh what a beautiful morning!
Oh what a beautiful day!
I've got a beautiful feeling,
Everything's going our way!'
We make fast time Alex now much stronger!
The next village, some 18KM, is a place I want to remember! It's on the side of a hill, a river flowing past, and a T. Buddhist Monastery on the hill. It has two hotels and seems inviting to me!
If all goes well I want to buy property and live out there (far from the madding crowds of cities).
After a quick stop (capture an image of the T.Buddhist Monastery), however, but keep going. The goal for the day, something like 126KM, and this with a late start! Thus, I think unrealistic.
We 'zoom' along, however, making good time, barren hills to the left on which there are grazing sheep and Tibetan dwellings. The Lake looming now up on the right.
At what appears to be an access road to the Lake we get off the highway to investigate. What is coming to Qinghai Lake, without actually 'sticking your toes into?' But, we have to leave our bicycles, except for XTRicha, as too sandy, and too marshy (wet). We get our ‘feet’ wet getting to the edge of the Lake itself.
XTRicha and Zhang Faju collect rocks, while I have a wonderful moment of bliss 'hypnotized' by the sun dancing on the waves. The Lake is truly beautiful, azure and pristine, a sacred place for sure! I had come to see the migrating birds return, but we're too early in the month of May. But, we do spot one flying goose, and one snowy egret near the shore.
Before departing the edge of the Lake we take many 'photographs!'
Back on the highway we pass prostrating Tibetans, Yaks grazing on the sparse grass, the area reminding me much of Tibet (Xizang). The sky here seems endless, as big as all heaven! But, here there is too much vehicular traffic during this holiday time!
Up ahead we are to join highway #315 and turn east toward Xi Ning (north side of the Lake). In the distance a train heading west to Geermu, and ultimately Lhasa, Tibet.
Onward, we stop on top of the RR overpass (bridge) to enjoy the view. Here we are joined by two more cyclists heading in a counter-clockwise direction around the Lake. Of course, we take photographs.
Heading east on #315, trains pass to our right. Its up and down, but we feel like our bikes are 'motorized' as so easy compared with yesterday ('beating into the storm).
Another group of cyclists overtakes us, and suddenly are one group going in the same direction. One, returns one of my handkerchiefs that has fallen out of my pocket (always doing such). I follow behind. He's obviously inexperienced riding an overloaded bicycle with the seat too low. And his style… Obviously a 'beginner.' I make a point of trying to help him (my fatherly instinct).
Up ahead we all stop in a village to rest and take pictures of each other. The new group decides to stop for the night in this village. We go on with 'the beginner' (turns out he's really alone).
We end up going 55KM before reaching our 'eating village.' It's up and away from the Lake, in blazing sunlight.
XTRicha, finds a good restaurant and it becomes 'mi fan time,' the welcome midday meal break (rest!). Leili informs us he wants to go another 65KM more before stopping for the night. They (he and Alex) have to be back in Xi Ning on the 6th, in three days (we're something like 200KM from Xi Ning now).
Just outside of the village the highway goes up a big hill. 'Our beginner' stops just before, but I keep cranking as I know 'momentum' important when climbing hills.
Beyond they hill I catch up with our group to ask about the Chinese boy far behind now--What should we do? Is he with us or not?. I suggest we wait for him, as we did Alex. Finally he comes, and I tell XTRicha to explain some things to him (not sure if he understands English. They adjust his seat higher. Turns out his name is Li Sheng.
We go on, now on rolling plateau, wind coming from the Lake to our right. But, nothing like the storm day before as its 'neutral' at '3 O.clock.'
At 1730 hours we stop in a village (Ha Er Gai) to inquire. The next village is another18KM, and Leili wants to go for it. But, we've already gone 112KM according to XTRicha's computer, and I'm hesitant. The inexperienced Chinese boy (Li Sheng), wisely, decides to stop here for the night. Like fools we crank on. But just outside of town XTRicha comes to his senses stops, and suggests we spend the night here. I concur, trying to explain the difference between cyclists 27-years old and cyclists 67-years old: older people are in no hurry! So, not wanting to break up the group Leili and Alex agreed and we reverse our direction, cranking 2KM back into the village.
XTRicha does his 'thing,' but at the first 'hotel,' a 'no good woman,' according to him. I send him off to find another, while the rest of us wait.
A crowd forms, curious as always about me! But, when Richa doesn't return I send Zhang to find him. Just as I do, he appears, signaling to follow. Success! He's found a new hotel just opened three days. Here, 'people good' he remarks.
I'm shown a small room with two beds. But, it's clean, and the owner will change the linen. Zhang brings 'kai shui' (hot water in themos), and I am happy to be alone.
That night the full moon shines in through my window (no curtains), and I have amazing dreams! Early in the morning I awake in the dark, the clear blue moon lighting the sky. I return to my dreams.
040507, Fifth Day, Friday: Heading back to Xi Ning (we've come three-quarters of the way around the Lake at this point)
I'm up early the sun just beginning to reveal the new day. I defecate into a plastic bag, not knowing where the outhouse is (forgot to inquire). But, what to do now? I venture outside with my 'flashlight' ('torch' in the U.K.) and almost fall off the steep concrete stairs (we're on the second floor). The outhouse is revealed at the end of the enclosure at the bottom. I dump the contents, plus empty my 'piss bottle,' then 'beat a hasty retreat.' Note, I'd rather use 'mother nature,' to do such as the outhouses in rural China are disgusting to a Westerner!
Rural, lower-class Chinese people, are warm of heart, but primitive when it comes to bodily functions. Yet, most have their mobiles that can capture images. What contrasts!
I return to drink lukewarm coffee, as still no lighter. But, I'm able to get 'online' via China Unicom. Talk about contrasts, I read 'The New York Times,' and www.jongo.com while waiting for the others to get up.
Leili is up first as always, and we talk. His English is good, as most educated, young Chinese. He explains that he and Alex have decided to cycle all the way into Xi Ning, some 165KM. I'm thinking Alex who could barely do 50KM when we started out is going to cycle 165KM / 100 miles now. He explains they have to return to work.
This is the difference between young and older people. When you're young you do nothing but sit at a computer screen, smoking and suffer the consequences! But, only for a short time! Younger bodies adapt quickly, and get strong faster. Older bodies take longer, as still I'm feeling the effects of having the flu in February! I'm nowhere near as strong as I was after arriving in Shanghai, three months on the road from the Russian Border (near Kanas Lake in Xinjiang Province). But, eventually I'll get back to that 'feeling!'
We all go off to breakfast, but in this village no rice porridge ('soup' XTRicha calls it). I abstain from eating, as a 'problem,' speaking of older bodies. My digestion is malfunctioning, and I know better to 'load up' on empty calories! On our way out of town I stop and purchase one apple (pingua) and pear (lee) to eat along the way!?
Alex and Leili take off ahead of us for Xi Ning. We're joined by the Chinese boy, 'the beginner.' We find out he's going to school in Xi' An to become an environmental engineer. He departs after Leili and Alex.
I'm next to follow as XTRicha wants to drink some milk before departing. Some 3KM out of town I stop at a river bridge to wait for them (Zhang Faju with him), and eat my pear. It's a lovely morning, except for the incessant motor vehicles!
The terrain here up and down, but greener than we've seen (many sheep 'farms'). I've decided I prefer the north side of the Lake to the South. But, of course, more people, congestion, etc. along highway #315, as it follows the RR much of the way (this track going to and fro Geermu, Qinghai and Lhasa, Tibet).
Note, there are always transportation 'corridors,' as originally man followed animal who followed the streams and rivers. Thus, you generally have four means of transportation: boats on the river, foot-animal path, RR, and highway.
Along about noon we come across a Mongolian Horse Race 'happening.' I recognized the scene as have seen similar in Tibet. I suggest we stop and partake of, as in no particular hurry.
We lock our bicycles to a barbed wire fence, a curious crowd of locals having gathered (at least 500). I first thought this was Tibetan, but we discover it's Mongolian as they dress similarly (in their sheep-skin coats). Note, many images in the 'Gallery.' They all want to have their image 'captured' with the 'laowei' (me)!
I feel like a 'movie star' in rural China, as people are so curious. I remember back in the village, when waiting for XTRicha to discuss the sleeping arrangements the evening before, a crowd gathered. They are so curious about a lighter complexioned, gray-bearded older man on a bicycle. I suppose it would be like in America, if a Martian suddenly appeared in Nebraska!
I pass out my postcard (photograph of me in Kashgar), until nearly mobbed, the postcards ripped out of my hand! They all want something from a 'foreigner!' But, generally they are polite and reserved, some even too shy to have their picture taken (especially the children).
We watch a foot race and then four separate horse races. I'm chosen, by a Chinese woman, to present a red scarf to the winner! I'm thinking, how interesting life is… One moment hunting for the outhouse in the dark, the next presenting a prize in the 'winners circle!' I'm fond of quoting Helen Keller, 'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all!'
I record XTRicha riding a horse. He’s fearless, my assistant!
We eat peanuts on this grassy slope just off highway #315. It's a lovely, bright day, sunny but cool at 3,200M ASL. I feel so wonderfully alive!
We're presented with two white 'khatas' (in the Tibetan language), these the customary 'greeting' scarves I'm familiar with from Tibetan Buddhism. I tie mine around my flags on my bicycle!
As we rejoin the traffic on the highway, we discover the three cyclists we'd lost during the storm (they went ahead) two days ago. Here they are again, on their 'folding, small-wheeled bicycles.' Thus, we're a group of six again, losing some, gaining others. This is what is so neat about cycling around Qinghai Lake (during a holiday). It's a 'family' affair!
We start our 'descent,' from 3,200M to 2,200M (Xi Ning). With the wind at '3 O'Clock,' again not an issue (neutral). And fast we go setting a new 'speed record' (I learn later), 57KMPH / 35MPH! That's as fast as I've ever gone on a bicycle (that I can remember)!
A couple hours later we split up again, as we want to eat lunch, and the three cyclists want to continue on. We never see them again.
This stop in an interesting 'village’ (Xi Hai) for lunch. It has both an abandoned 'prison' (high wall with guard towers), and a large resort (maybe there's a 'connection?').
Here, after lunch, I take off my long pants to cycle in shorts, as much warmer now. Note, this usually amazes the Chinese, as they rarely bare their legs. Women in the restaurant can't help but stare!
Here we part company with our ‘beginner' (Li Sheng) as he has decided to take the bus directly back to Xi Ning. He's due back in school in Xi'an on Monday, and wants some time before.
So, it's just the three of us to finish, the original three starting in Xi Ning (before we picked up Leili and Alex): me, XTRicha, and Zhang Faju.
Out of town down we go for some 40KM, a wonderful ride except for the traffic.
We pass a reservoir on the left, and then follow the highway down a river canyon. I want to stop and partake of the rushing, tree-lined water, but hard to stop when going so easily and making such good time.
We stop for a drink, and I ask Zhang Faju if she's ever gone so fast on a bicycle before, and she says no, this is the first time!
We arrive in Huangyuan at 1730 hours, and find a good hotel (XTRicha is a 'magician' at finding such).
I end up in the 'Bridal Suite' on the fourth floor (above the noise). This only costs 60RMB per / $7.50U.S.! It even has a good hot-water shower! Can you imagine such in the West? More like $75U.S. or much more!
I take a hot shower (but no soap), and am in bed, slightly cleaner, by 2000 hours!
050707, Day Six, Saturday: An easy downhill glide into Xi Ning
We don't go to breakfast until 0900, in no hurry with only 60KM back down into Xi Ning.
It's a leisurely ride down the canyon, but we have to go slow as the highway is in disrepair. Since the new Expressway, the Government doesn't bother keeping up the old highway.
We stop and record (on video) some passing trains, one a freight heading west, the other the passenger train from Lhasa, Tibet (heading for Beijing or Shanghai).
Nearer to Xi Ning the traffic increases, the honking madness begining. At one point I find myself screaming epithets at a truck for laying on his air horn (painful). We're back in ‘distopeia!’ Already I'm longing to be back up at the Lake, and plan to return as soon as I can.
Cycling in China, for me, is both delightful and maddening! Plus, it's very dangerous!
But, trips like this one, cycling around Qinghai Lake, make it all worth whatever price paid!
It this case, around Qinghai Lake in six days, some 700RMB for three people, sore muscles, aching butts, tired hands, sun burnt faces, but many good stories to tell! Additionally for posterity, some video and 500 images! But, it me it’s not remembering (via media) but experiencing the moment that’s important: Like seeing the fox, that moment at the Lake’s edge, and cycled through the storm!
Best of all, such endeavors make for new (lifelong) friends!
Cycling for peace, I am,
‘Hutch,’ ‘Haqi,’ ‘Alexander’