WenWei Cun (real China)
Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
101Trip End Oct 08, 2012
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Very much resembling a small Texas farmtown, this place was both ancient and old modern combined with a bit of new modernization showing in some of the houses. Old modern looks like old ugly concrete from the Mao era, while the new modern looks a bit like Disneyworld. There was very little ancient buildings left but I did see a few. The canal was ancient as was this old bridge we found in a field, under the highway bridge. There were a few old buildings with clay roofs and fancy stone sculpture on the eaves of the tops of them.
Kay, who had gone there the previous week (alone), knew where the outdoor food market was. Once there,we were being stared at far more intensely than the staring I experience around Xiasha. I get the impression that many of these folks had never seen a white man, much less two giants like me and Kay. Kay is of Swedish decent and is tall and strong, so she was getting her share of attention too. As usual I took the movie star approach and just smiled, waved, said "Hello" and "Ne how" to all I could see
We had already gone about 10 miles and sunset was about 2 1/2 hours away, so after Kay got her bike aired up at the local bike shop, we headed back through the scores of small farms, many with farmers out there with their hand tools manicuring every inch of available land they had. The farms were perfect and about 1/2 to 5 acres in size, many of the farmers lived in huts using modern plastic canvas for the roofs and occasionally the walls. The frames were bamboo. I would love to live in one someday, maybe spend a year while working on my music, writing and techniques of the Chinese farmer. The combinations of crops were fascinating as well, with each farmer producing many types of crops including ornamental shrubbery and palm trees
We found a small gravel trail leading back to the bridge from whence we came. Once we got where the highway started it's ascension to the bridge, we wound up riding underneath the highway before the gravel trail dead ended. All of a sudden "WHOOSH" as a big shovel load of dirt and rock came down about 10 feet in front of me. I noticed a worker on the road above as she tossed another shovel load. I yelled out, "Hey!", and got cussed out in Chinese by a tough looking shovel wielding lady. "Get your stupid ass back under the bridge" is what she said, or at least what I felt like she was saying this. This kind of sucked because there was a quaint little ancient bridge and cottage but no real path to get there, and "WHOOSH" was heard every 20 seconds or so. Kay and Lil' Al were already past the bombardment zone but I had to run the gauntlet in order to get to the next road outta there. This is why my pics of the bridge were blurry since I was looking out above while trying to shoot them.
We finally made it back to the bridge tower and then back to the Qaintang levee on the Xiasha side
Kay's tire got a flat so we slowly made our way to a bike shop that I remembered in my previous explorations of the area (about 3 miles from my house). The guy replaced her tire and tube for a total cost of $4 which is unbelievable. Al went back to his University and Kay and I pedaled the last couple miles home. Not sure the exact mileage, but 20 miles is about correct. I am used to riding 10 mile trips all summer and this was at least twice that. Great leasurely workout, and all of my riding muscles are sore as heck since I haven't been on a bike in a couple months
Kay is about 10 years older than me and her strength and stamina is very impressive. I am also impressed with her sense of adventure and fascination with the culture. The Chinese seem to like her alot. Kay has lived in remote areas of Alaska as well as many other places in the US. She has also spent time working in Rwanda and other countries around the world. I have considerable respect for her. Next time we are going to do to that Buddhist temple, but a ride that far might require a taxi to bring us back, or at least an overnight stay in a hotel somewhere (Kay wants to bring a tent and camp of course)...