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439 km: Progress....

in Guangzhi


View By bike to Singapore on HoYing's travel map.

Where we are....

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Yes around the corner from...

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Guigang, the new development zone of Guangzhi Province. This is where the money is spend, this is where urbanisation will take place. The town map is a blueprint of what the city will be when it is finished, with on it the parts that have been finished already. The result: pockets of the old town that used to be here, in the middle of huge blocks of ultra modern architecture, through it horse carriages, mercedes, and lots of scooters. Bizarre!

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Today it is raining...so we'll go around and do some "light weight" shopping!

HY

Posted by HoYing 20:32 Archived in China Comments (1)

736 km: last stop in China

Merry christmas everyone!
We are in Fangcheng; yet another city with a million or so people..... we are 60km from the Vietnam border and hope to cross it tomorrow.
Although we hear Christmas songs everywhere and our hotel has a beautiful fake tree i don't think people actually realize it is christmas, nor care by the way.

We had some tough stages getting here. We decided to ignore the rain and cycle from Guigang to Lingshan 2 days ago.... tough decision as it was raining cats and dogs and it was cold. We have to admit we had a look at the train time table but fortunately there was no feasible connection. Fortunately, because this turned out to be one of the more scenic stages so far. Also the longest by the way as we lost our way and took a 45 km detour which brought the total to 140km. Add some steep hills and rain and we felt like true bikkels.

Funny how you loose your way..... we were on a pretty straightforward route, nothing could go wrong, just follow the road. All signs were in Chinese only but our map is (yes very handy NOT) in English only. Now we usually ask the hotel reception to write down all cities and villages along the way in chinese before we leave but nobody knew how to spell Lingshan (no doubt due to our horrendous pronounciation). We knew the second caracter for "shan" or mountain so we were confident we were on the right way. Then we got a choice between two "shan's" without a second of hesitation we chose the nearest one, only 29 km away...... when we arived at a village , by then pretty tired and soaking wet we found it was not called lingshan....... "Lingshan 40km this way" a smiling villager told us. Nice! but we survived and Lingshan was a nice city.

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Then yesterday from Lingshan to Qinzhou. very Piauliau (beautiful)..... the landscape is a bit like yangshuo here (which means pretty flat with nice small karst mountains and little winding rivers). We saw the sun for the first time this trip and people are getting more and more and more friendly. Example: we got taken over by a small minivan with the usual amount of honking only to see all passanger hanging out of the windows yelling "merry christmas!!". Nice.

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We are now experts in the horn language:
Small irritating horn which is pressed frequently and long behind you: it is a scooter or a substandard car under the brand Foton (the lada/ trabant equivalent of this region) the vehicle can easily pass you but the drivers ego is too big to simply let that happen so you need to move.
Deafening loud and high pitched horn blown 200 times in the distance before the vehicle actually reaches you: Bus collecting passengers. No more effective way of advertising than that. And advisable to actually move aside as these guys drive fast.
Very urgent low horn blown at shorter and shorter intervals: Behind you two vehicles, usually busses or trucks, are taking over, from the other side there is also a big vehicle approaching.....and the road fits two at the best of times. You are clearly the weakest link about to be squashed........... a quick escape into the (hopefully) soft grass/ sand on the side of the road is your best option.
any horn blown in a rythm: the driver is simply acknowledging your presence on the road and expressing his surprise to see such weird Gweilo (foreigners). We get a lot of these.
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Today we took it easy and cycled just 40km into the next big city. We are now trying to find ourselves a nice christmas dinner and are getting ready to cross the border. Vietnam, here we come.

Posted by Whiskey 02:43 Archived in China Comments (1)

810 km: Vietnam!!!!

after 800 km through China we have crossed the second border....


View By bike to Singapore on HoYing's travel map.

Bless the Vietnamese for keeping of all things french the Baguette!!! No more rice for breakfast!

It is fascinating to see that the border to China is only 500 m away, and the feel is so different. Many more scooters, roads of normal size, street life, but yet another language that we do not understand a word off.

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HY

Posted by HoYing 04:48 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Chinese economics


View By bike to Singapore on HoYing's travel map.

I heard on CCTV international, China's foreign channel, that last year the farmers in China saw an increase of their salaries of 6% up to 4000 RMB (400 Euro) GDP/head.

Great achievement!...., but did the Chinese economy as a whole not grow close to 10%? So did his fellow men in the city get an increase of 10% on their 12000 RMB salary that same year? That 10% is almost 1/3 of the peasant salary....

The gap is still widening.

These numbers ran through my head while cycling through the Southern industrialised region. You see construction sites all around, and almost totally new cities arising, EVERYWHERE! In between, in the country side, I saw a farmer "walking his buffalo" barefoot in shaby clothes while a Mercedes was blowing his horne to indicate that he must give way. For a fellow like him, China's economic miracle of the last 20 years can be summarised with: bigger roads, more and expensive cars..... passing by....

HY

Posted by HoYing 04:57 Archived in China Comments (0)

1007 km: Towards Ha Long Bay

and passed the first 1000 km!

Finally a break after cycling for 12 out of 13 days... But we have passed the first 1000 km!

On the last stretch of China we were cycling through some beautifull scenery on a small 1 lane paved roaded, when all of a sudden this road turned in to a 2 * 2 lane highway.... not on the map, not even in the planning phase. The road was deserted, but like everywhere in China, built the road, and "see how first".

There was some construction work still under way... notice the way the tarmac is being heated up by "firing" it up...

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On the other side of the border in Vietnam, things are quite different. Borders remain an interesting phenomenon. Only 500 m away from China, cars are no longer on the road, people live on the street, and things are more cosy.

The weather was still so so, with a bit of rain here and there. Luckily you can find shelter everywhere, like in this supermarket, where the woman was selling the pig that was just slaugthered. Amazing that EVERY part of the pig is sold, and eaten!

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A bit further we came trough a coal mine area, and you can imagine with a bit of rain, and on a mountain bike, the dirt was everywhere at the end of the day, and then I mean everywhere!

HY

Posted by HoYing 03:17 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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