27 May, 2008

Chuohe to Shanghai - Sunday 25th May

After my night in Chuohe it was back on the road again to Nanjing. Compared with yesterday, today was a totally dry day again.

The road to Nanjing was a pleasant ride through rural China

and the road surface steadily improved the closer I got to the big smoke and I rolled into town through the industrial suburbs to spot the MG/Roewe (Chinese for Rover) right in front of me.

Talk about coals to Newcastle, the Chinese bought the English company (and all its tooling) from BMW for one dollar a few years back and are proudly promoting the brands quite heavily at home, but I'm not sure if they are pursuing exports as yet.

As usual, once I reached Nanjing (which is a huge, albeit very pretty) city, I knew finding my way out would be a challenge as the G312stopped dead at T junction. I chose to ride downtown (contrary to where the GPS said highway G312 should be), crossed the Yangtze (a huge river)

and found my way to a beautiful 15sq km park and lake opposite the railway station.

At this point I figured I was completely lost and went to the nearest police station for directions. They telephoned the biggest hotel in town(Hotel New (Xin) Century which was just down the road, and put me through to the English speaking assistant manager to provide guidance. Once again,my navigational instincts were vindicated as it turned out as I was only 500m from the (unsignposted) left turn I needed to make to get on to the G312 to Shanghai.

From this point it was a fairly straight forward well signposted ride, mostly on dual highway, into Shanghai. The only real challenge was a fuel shortage just when I went onto reserve. Now fuel shortages are not something I have experienced before in China and this puzzled me. I finally managed to find fuel with only an estimated 7km worth (or 200ml) left in the tank -talk about running on fumes!

I hit Shanghai just as it was getting dark and found my way to the Ming Hostel and a bed for the filthy mud encrusted Haobon and myself for the night.

In many ways it was a bit of a let down to the end of the China leg of my journey as the wide roads and big cities are such a poor, dull contrast to the "interesting" country roads and towns.