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The Bike Ride to Si Long N My Time

Hey Hey and a huge G'day to everyone

Just a quick catch up on everything that hasn't happened lately.

Like usual I've been spending my usual lovin' fun filled hours with the twin tub each week along with walking around town making sure I don't leave the city and it's green trees and venture out into the lovely bare hills. Teaching is going really well. I taught emotions this week and man did we have fun puking into each others pencil cases etc.

It was a very emotional week for us all...har har!

There is still no Tiger Beer on the shelves in the great supermarket on the edge of the desert! That's cool mate, the local drop is a good drop. I've eaten at several more little stalls for lunch and dinner on my search for the best lamb and beef noodle dish. The lamb noodle soup on 'Eat Street' is still winning.

I've been hijacked by several Chinese English Teachers from around Baiyin wanting me to come to their house and school and spend time with their students and their son or daughter on weekends and after school because he/she/they really need to practice their English and Oh, can I please have your phone number so I can organize a time for you to do this!

Unfortunately I tell them, I don't have a phone at all. I then ask if they have organized an English Corner at their school or an afternoon or evening where the students can ONLY speak English to each other.

Of course you haven't and that's the reason why they really need to practice their English.

If they don't use it and are not made to you it, how can they speak it!

I am serious, they will sit for hours several nights a week until they see me coming out of the supermarket. How do I know this, because they tell me. A tad baffling really!

Here in China the students are only taught how to write English and to say several sentences. I am truly amazed over and over again at the conversations I can have with a Middle or High School student....ON PAPER! Unfortunately they are not taught to speak. There is no time made for conversations to develop from what they are taught. This is why I will not give my phone number or begin to meet with high or middle school students. I tried in Tianyang and in the end people argue with me that I spend time speaking to 'him or her' so why can't I spend time with little Johnny.

In the end there is no time left for ME!

When you add the five Chinese English teachers from around Baiyin (so far) to the three at my school, all whom want me to spend time with little Johnny, there really would be no time to ride my bike or create new and interesting lesson plans!

And Mr Singapore, I'm not even going to make time for one of them. My students and my free time are what are important to me! Tee Hee!

If the high and middle schools began to teach Conversational English it would be much easier. In my Primary school I am asked if I can use chop sticks, when speaking to High and Middle school students I am asked the same questions. Also, I am pretty selfish with my time and teaching ends on Friday afternoon for me and that's all there is to it.

Conversation finished!

What else have I been up to......

Argh yes, yesterday I finally got my butt back on the bike after too many months.

Friday after school the usual questions were asked, that of 'what are you doing this weekend?' etc

My reply was 'Going for a HUUUUUUGE bike ride'

Some replies were 'You mustn't ride by yourself', 'what happens if your tire explodes?' Seriously, explodes! I had to explain that American cars, American planes and bombs etc explode and that my tire would simply 'go flat' and would be left in one piece.

After we all laughed several asked if they could come. Sure I said, if you want to ride for four or five hours feel free. After a minutes silence I said my good byes for the weekend and wished everyone well. An hour later I got many text messages asking me to call. I called and we all decided on what they thought was a 40km ride (there 20km & back 20km) to a little river town called 'Si Long' (which means Four Dragons) on the Yellow River.

I asked why they had changed their minds and was told that some teachers didn't like the idea of me riding on my own. I tried to explain that I had been riding in China for nearing two years and that I would love it if someone would join me a few nights a week. BUT, the fact that I usually ride 40kms a night scares people away

They insisted on joining me.

Saturday morning I met the two teachers who wanted to join me and several of their friends. So there was myself, three others on bikes and another on a motorbike with a passenger. It took about an hour to get going. Some didn't have bikes and had to ring around and borrow bikes, my bike had a puncture and had to be repaired and finally by around 11:30am we put foot to pedal and began our slow journey out of Baiyin.

For the first hour I tried to stay with them, soon after I got the riding bug and took off. Some tried to keep up but at the end of the next hour I sat waiting for about twenty minutes. I was pretty amazed at what I was riding past almost all the way. There was of course corn, some leafy green vegetables but what really amazed me were the fields full of sticky, smelly dope plants. They were huge mate and all were hanging to one side due to the huge head on them.

Note to self: DO NOT, under any circumstance touch ANY DRUG in a foreign country!


I focused my attention on the.....corn and the beautiful bare hills around me.

The ride there was pretty easy for all. When we arrived at a tiny dusty town we sat for a huge lunch of sweet and sour pork, thick noodles and beer. After lunch I thought we were to continue but surprise to me, we had arrived in Si Long prior to lunch. We had in fact eaten lunch in Si Long and were in fact still in Si Long.

Si Long had been described as a beautiful river side town where many Baiyin and Lanzhou peoples went to spend time on the weekend. It was a place where you could relax, swim and walk around the neighboring hills.

I pictured a lush green leafy river side town.

We were in a dusty town with a brown river flowing through it and surrounded by bare hills.

I giggled to myself and quickly put myself in their shoes. They had lived here all their lives and I guess here in Gansu this really was a beautiful river side town where one could come to relax, swim and walk around the...um...hills.

We made our way down to the river side and spent many hours skipping flat stones along the top of the brownish yellow river top. We chatted for hours and watched one of the guys try his best to learn to ride the motor bike. In three hours he never once moved after releasing the clutch! Speedboats zoomed past us with passengers full of smiles and waving hands. During the afternoon the skies slowly turned back to the grey they were in the morning. I had expected it to rain when I woke so I didn't bring my camera along.

BUGGER! Just think of all those pictures of the lush green river side town I missed out on!

Now to the ride home.

Well, I'm unsure if they'll ride with me again.

I rode at my own pace (fast) and they all took it in turns to be towed by the motor bike to where ever it was I was waiting for them. I felt so horrible, by the motorbikes speedo it was around 65kms for the day. They all thought it was 20km each way. By the time we hit Baiyin some of their legs were so jelly like they could barely stand. I surprised them by asking if anyone wanted to go for a short ride today (Sunday) around the edge of Baiyin.

I took silence for a no and we all said our happy goodbyes until Monday.

It really was a great day and it was good to meet and make new friends, but man oh man how I wished I had my beautiful bike which is still in Baise at Brad's house! The bike I have here is a small mountain bike, the gears change randomly and sometimes if I'm lucky the chain stays on after a random gear change. It was like winning the lottery when I actually got an easy gear after a random gear change going up hill.

When I got home I had to carry my bike up five floors. By the fifth floor I could feel it in my legs. I never really felt tired until I sat down and man by butt was sore! A 65km ride after nearing three months without riding, OUCH!

Today (Sunday) I rose, spent a fun filled hour chasing my twin tub all over the lounge room floor during its spin cycle and then went for a ride around the edges of Baiyin. It never really hit me until this morning how polluted Baiyin really is. On one side of town there is heaps of 'Industrial Plants' spewing ugly amounts of pollution into the air that I breathe. It was then I really made my mind up that one year really will be long enough for me here in Baiyin.

I stopped and stared at the sight before me, it actually made me feel sick just looking at it. I wondered:

Are there no trees around the city because I'm living on the edge of the desert


Did these 'horrible things' actually make Baiyin a city with a supermarket on the edge of the desert!

Ride To Si Long

Ride To Si Long

Ride To Si Long (1)

Ride To Si Long (1)

Ride To Si Long (2)

Ride To Si Long (2)

Ride To Si Long (4)

Ride To Si Long (4)

Ride To Si Long (5)

Ride To Si Long (5)

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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