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

Monday, March 19, 2007

...How my decisions are made.

, originally uploaded by gofeetgo.

Example: In Lipu, a nothing special town, it was tucked away, off the loud street, although as per usual it was across the street from this KTV. It had a desk attendant and behind the desk on the wall were 5 clocks "London, Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, New York". Its a mystery as to why all 2-star Chinese hotels have these in their lobbies, as it is by no means an indication of their international clientele. But it is a clue as to their very 2-star status, and because I still haven't looked up the character for "binguan" (hotel), indeed its an indicator of what the establishment actually is. Funny, I typically ride down the street peering into shop-fronts, looking for these clocks.

It was 100 kuai, which is not a great deal, but it did however fall within the high ranges of my daily budget. I was at first excited by the large room, with cleanish looking carpet, as carpet meant that I could stretch on the floor instead of on the bed. Its more effective on the floor and lately I am very tight from all the cycling. The bathroom was tip-toe icky, but that is standard. Also standard, apparently, were the black scuffs of shoes on the wall, about waist level. Again standard: the tea cups come with wet used tea leaves in the bottom, and wet plastic bathroom sandals in a flimsy paper bag that read SANITIZED. Some times, but not this time, a ribbon of paper with the same SANITIZED loops around the lid of the toilet. Though I have suspecions about all of these claims.

I performed the same tasks upon geting to the hotel after a day of cycling. 1) Shower, which may or may not be enjoyable, but, in this bathroom, was. 2.) And then sit on the white bed sheets, clean wet hair in a white towel and take in about five minutes of TV before I realize that I'm not really watching anything at all, since I can't understand, but just staring exhuastedly. 3.) Then I go out and seek food.

I always look for a particular kind of garage/open air kitchen whose prominent feature is a wok with a fan affixed to it. Other kitchens without the prominant wok/fan might offer noodles, or something else other than what I prefer, plain stir-fry. In the kitchens that I prefer I can go in and point to the vegetables and meats and tofus that I want and then they (a good chef) usually suggest the tastiest arrangements, which doesn't always assume that everything be mixed together. I am thankful for this kind of kitchen access, as anywhere else I am usually at the mercy of the "way its done here" like it or leave it. And I haven't ever left it, though I have thought about it. Nothing like eating something you don't like after a whole day of biking. It's depressing, actually.

Then maybe I find an internet cafe, or maybe I just walk around taking photos, or just go back to the hotel room.

I went back to the hotel room after doing both of the above mentioned, and it was late. I got a late start on getting ready for the next day (i.e. partially packing up my panniers, which I have to completely empty out every night; and then looking at the map). I did neither, actually, and I lied in bed kind of in a "WHY WHAT" funk staring at the TV. I heard a rustling somewhere in the room and assumed that something was tumbling over. I fell in a restless sleep and then was awoken to a clang in the bathroom. I sprung up, turned on the light. And a black blur of a rat scurried from under my bed. MY BEDTHAT I WAS ON! Oh heavens, I was rattled, and I screamed once, and then froze in indecision. Leave or complain or what, what? So I got on my boots and went into the creepy ill-lit hallway (by the way also, standard) and went down to the "24 hour" attendant desk, which was, of course, was not only not-attended, but actually cloaked in absolute darkness. I didn't even step out of the elevator. I entered in my nightmare turned reality hotel room and climbed on my bed, and made a decision. Seeing as how my sleep will, undoubtedly, be so very bad. And seeing as how, as of this moment, I think I've just had enough of this road 321 and its towns that are the way they are, and blaghhh! So I scrapped my 1 week of plans and decided the next day to take a bus to the other side of this province and get into the next one, Yunnan, where I really want to be. Gosh... And so that's...

As per

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson