written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Feb 24: Guiding

I awoke to a morning that was delightfully grey, cool, and recently wetted by night-time showers. The steep hills persisted while leaving Longli, but again it's a happy trade to pass through old villages with white blossomed trees and valleys filled, just bursting, with yellow flowers. I came upon a village that was crowded with kids and elderly people. The men were gutting a immense hog on the porch. I stopped and took out my camera and everyone started to laugh. Soon I was sitting in there cement floor living room with about 30 kids surrounding me on a wooden bench. I was expected to eat, so I ate. With the villages single policeman and a few of his jolly silly smiley friends. They brought out a gritty old wok stuffed with stirred fried stuff, then placed it infront of us on the coal-burning oven that was central to the room. It was good food and the whole family was crowded around me and the men as we ate laughing at various things that I did, that I guess where humorous. They brought out the regional rice wine and poured me a sufficient sip. I told them I didn't want to get drunk, and they agreed that I shouldn't. One of the women, my favorite of the bunch, asked me to "bu zuo" don't go and sleep in their village. It was tempting, but….but, but, but….I had a long way to go. I thanked them to the best of my ability and went on my way, just beaming for miles.

About mid-day I realized that I would get not very far on the hilly two lane road and at the first (and only) opportunity I crawed over a freeway divider and hoisted my bike and junk onto the expressway. It had a wide shoulder and it was more flat and still offered a great view. The only thing was that at moments the shoulder was coated in a bunch of oily sludge. At one point on a bridge I was stopping (with inadequate back breaks) and I skidded out and fell, I was generally okay, but I sprained my shoulder and now it is really tender and I have limited range of motion. It makes getting on my loaded bike a little precarious.

After arriving in Guiding, another grey, drizzly, grimy town I was walked to the local hotel and settled in. I asked around for a good restaurant. Was given a name, which I told the motorcycle taxi driver and he delivered me to a shimmering gaudy restaurant called Huan Dao. There were chandliers and the smallest table seated 10, at which I sat by myself and ordered 3 dishes plus rice. They had two muzak systems going on at once. And I in my muddy boots and dusty pants sat in an embroidered white laquer high-back chaise and ate steamed broccoli and sautéed potatoes with purple, gold tipped chopsticks. After the elegance, the super nice maitre'd asked the hotel's driver to drive me to an internet café. He did but it was full, so then he drove me to my hotel, my OTHER hotel. He refused my tip. I am greeted with generosity and helpfulness at every small inquiry.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson