Busted by the Cops

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Beings Hotel

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As the lift doors opened on our way down from the third floor room, we were greeted by two policemen.  They asked us to sit down in the lobby and immediately started talking to us in Chinese.  It was fairly obvious they had an interest in our purpose of visit so we handed over passports and visas.  Two policemen soon became five!  Fortunately one of them spoke English and he acted as translator.  It was all fairly straight forward but there was a point when we thought they might not let us cycle on our way.  As it turned out, they were more concerned about us cycling in the freezing conditions outside.  Obviously tourists in these parts of few and far between.  As we made our way out of whatever town it was we were in, the reasons for this were clearly evident.
It is a really bleak part of the world.  The snow and drizzle of course do not improve things, but more than this, we kept asking ourselves what it must be like living here.  You cannot be sure of the weather because the whole place seems to be covered in a blanket of pollution.  There are chemical smells everywhere.  Houses, vehicles and trees are capped in thick layers of sediment.  Everything is grey and it made for some pretty dreary riding for the first few hours. 
Our firsts stop was at a strange ‘teahouse’ in Meishan.  We were desperately seeking coffee but only tea was on offer.  Green, jasmine or chrysanthemum.  There was serious card gambling going on all around us.  The staff were very excited that we were there, not bothered at all by the muddy footprints we left all over the clean white marble floor.  We managed to drink most of the tea without swallowing too much of the plants floating around in the glass.
On we went, continuing along a rubbish road which was being resurfaced, reducing two lanes to one and therefore making it pretty unrelaxing to dodge in and out of the oncoming traffic.  Through some more grim industrial towns before a snack stop outside a mini-mart.  Again, the people were lovely and very pleased to see us.  There was a row of street food sellers with some good looking cakes piled up outside.  Health problems still persisting, I opted for the packaged biscuits and wafers.
The road then improved significantly.  Just as well as we still had about 30 miles to go and the day was getting on.  We averaged 13 miles an hour and arrived in Leshan weary but pleased after a tough work out (our fitness has definitely taken a few steps back over Christmas and New Year).
We arrived at a hotel at 6pm and after another battle with the language barrier we checked in.  Again the staff were so friendly and helpful.  Freshened up with a great hot shower (they have been hard to come by for a while) we tested the hotel restaurant.  Despite the menu having pictures, we found it difficult to order. The waitress looked pretty surprised by our selection.  When it arrived we could see why.  We seemed to have ordered a pork dish with a side order of doughnuts! 
The only thing Mikey had forgotten to note from today was how filthy I was by the end of it. Having had no rain since Tamil Nadu, I’d forgotten what it’s like with no mud guards, and by Leshan I was covered in grey sticky toxic looking sludge which had splashed up from Mikey’s bike. Lots of people were pointing and laughing at me!

Distance cycled; 58 miles
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