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

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mar. 1:Congjiang Again

DSCF7261, originally uploaded by gofeetgo.

I headed out at 11am and met a Chinese women riding a fold up bike. She was riding from Hainan to Tibet, we spoke in Chinese, so I am fairly certain this is the case. We chatted excitedly and rode side by side out the town. Then stopped to take photos and exchange names. We were both thrilled to meet another lone (and female) cyclist.

Headed out on a horrible dirt road, through a mine project, for a while, but eventually it got better and I glided up and down hilles to the classic Dong village of Gaozhen, on my way to the bigger conurbation (and tourist-catered) village of Zhaoxing 30 miles of mountain roads away.

The initial road was so lovely that I had high spirits. Reached Gaozhen, 5 miles into it, had a guy fry 2 duck eggs for me. Big orange yokes, most delicious ever. Village life, as it goes, is simple. Dong people sitting around tiny shop fronts selling eggs, soap, cookies, etc. but not really much. They wear shiny plastic-looking black clothing. They transport everything by "stick-sticks" (two baskets on either side of a bamboo stick carried across the back). Some don't where shoes, despite climbing in mountains, rice paddies, and over the stones of the village road.

I asked someone to read outloud the character on my map, so I know how to say it. In fact, he couldn't read, the only person who could was a younger woman nursing a baby. She ended (I learned 2 hours later) directing up a high dirt road to not anywhere I needed to be. I ascended up and up and realized that no way could this be the "Bike Asia" route and it seemed wrong direction (according to the sun) on my map. Slowly inched back down a man resting on his motorcycle confirmed this. Headed back and found the actual road, which wasn't much better interms of quality and incline, just as rocky and steep. It started to drizzle, it was 1 am, going at this rate another 56km seemed stupid, so I turned back to the town of Congjiang and planned to try again tomorrow. These are crucial decisions to make, as just trying to go for it despite that I had already started could put me in precarious situation. Mountain road in the dark, riding all night to an unknown place. Scary stuff. Went back and spent the night in a better, quiter hotel on a cliff over looking the river, so it wasn't a total replay of the night before.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson