New Year's Day Again

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

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Horrible Dump

Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today was just absolutely delightful. After the dash for Kunming to get our Vietnam visas, followed by a couple of heavy days to knock off the miles between Kunming and the Vietnam border, we lapped up the relaxed feel of a 50 mile day.  It did not start to well, the girls on reception leaving us none the wiser whether to turn left or right out of the swanky hotel forecourt. Telling us our road was dangerous.  We opted for right and then guessed a few more junctions before finding ourselves on the 213 to Yuanyang.  We had not actually decided at this point if Yuanyang was our destination, maybe the expressway was the safer option?  Yuanyang however, seemed to draw us towards it so on we went.  15 miles later we were still going uphill, "such a wise choice?" we thought.  Encounters like the funny man at our first drinks break reminded us that it definitely was worth it.  I think we have missed out a little by being on the highway for a few days, but it is always about finding that fine balance between making good ground and seeing everything along the way.  As the day went on I realised we have got it just about right.

There was a very definite holiday feel about the day.  The New Year's Day spirit had got into everyone.  We were greeted by every passer-by.  Fire crackers continued to echo through village streets.  It was so nice to see families (Father, Mother and ONE Child) out for the day all squeezed onto one motorbike.  One long haired Chinese punk decided to put fireworks in the road when he saw us coming, he received the same break down of language barrier as the punk experienced up in the mountains a week or so ago!  Later we passed a huge crowd who were gathered around a smoking nursery.  The giant network of bamboo constructed sheds had been burnt to the ground, presumably by an errant firework from the previous evenings celebrations.

Half way up the enormous ridge out of the valley, whilst enjoying another snack break, we saw another cyclist toiling up!  The guy from Kunming was loaded up with photographic gear and was on his way to snap the rice terraces.  We had a good chat and a few photographs before realising that he was much faster than us and on we went to get a head start.  He passed us with ease as we enjoyed another snack break at the service station.  Today was all about taking it easy and we seemed to stop every couple of miles, beautiful. Everyone else was out and about enjoying the view, so why not us?

When we reached the top the sun was out.  It was perfect and we looked down on a sea of mist, the hill tops peeping out of the dense cloud.  We really didn’t appreciate how much downhill was ahead of us.  25 miles of freewheeling was a dream. It was colder as we moved down into the thick fog and the road cracked up presenting too many potholes for comfort.  But really, how can you complain when you are rolling down a mountain for about three hours without pedalling?  Day trippers passed and waved, waiting for us further on to take our picture!  The scenery continued to stun, hillsides and river formations which did not resemble anything we have seen thus far after 5000 miles.

When we finally reached Yuanyang, we checked into a pretty average hotel but then enjoyed one of the best meals we have had.  We were yet again starving, having to fuel ourselves all day with cakes and biscuits due to no open restaurants. Hand picked meat on sticks and fresh vegetables were put on the grill in front of us as we sat on the street sipping on the first bottle of white wine we have found in China.  As we ate the delicious garlic aubergine, grilled courgette, grilled beef, fried potatoes and sweety flavoured white wine, the Chinese fireworks continued to explode around town.  Happy New Year, again.

(Note in the hotel - it was not average – it was grim! 6 for suspect sheets, cold water and dirty bathroom. No Showers again. Also after our meal we saw that what we had thought was a karaoke place was in fact a lovely hotel – gutted.)

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triciagick on

Can't compete with Indian families on motor bikes then! xx

triciagick on

Forgot to say poor Jane is about to start her 10km Chichester run - also a chap set a world record recently for running a marathon a day for a year! There are some mad people about !! x

Jojo on

And a Happy New Year to you! I suppose they should have the best fire works as they did invent gunpowder! I think you must be developing stomaches of iron from what you throw into them but that last meal of grilled vegetables and meat made me long for the summer a CJB at bar-b-que! We heard about the chinese family and the trek across the border now we are waiting to read all about it. We have the usual suspect for Sunday lunch - E,G and the big O, Mandy and Monty - there's a bit of rivalry between Olaf and Monty and it usually ends up with Monty locked out in the garden - it's a dogs life!

All love Jojo and Christopher

Charlotte on

The photos from this day are amazing sooooo jealous.

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