27 May, 2008

Fanyang to Chuohe - Saturday 24th May

Another long and tough ride on a mix of roads but a great day's progress with another 500km covered after 12 hours in the saddle...
The day started bright and sunny as I passed through wheatfields and duck farms along with th usual mix of Chinese agriculture. I know I have said this before, but the sheer amount of energy and effort put into agriculture inChina is second to none, with every arable inch produced crops many times over each year.

However, the blue skies were not to last. This was an especially difficult day because today not only was I riding on bad dirt roads, but it also began to rain - in bucketloads.
I, along with many other vehicles, had to wait in a service station for almost two hours whilst the monsoonal downpour passed. The rain came down with such force that it was like standing under a high pressure hose.
Once I was able to get back on the road again, the roads deteriorated until they were nothing more than dirt tracks one lane wide. Whilst cars, trucks and buses were spinning their wheels in the mud I was struggling to keep the Haobon upright. The mix of dirt and water soon had the Haobon filthy, and me exhausted. Unfortunately just as night fell it also ensured I had yet another puncture. Fortunately for me I felt the rear end wriggle (as the tyre deflated) right in the middle of a small village and right outside the only tyre repairer in town. Whilst I waited for the tyre repairer to come back to town (it was night and he had finished work for the day) I was kindly invited by a local girl and her family of rice merchants to share dinner with them.
Once again Chinese hospitality comes to the fore and I was very graciously accepted as a total stranger into their group of family and friends. After repairs I was honoured to hear that I was the first foreigner to visit this small village and that I still had a way to go before I could reach a town with a hotel for the evening. I was soon on my way again and after 1.5 hours of hard riding I managed to reach the next major town with a hotel for a good night's sleep.

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