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The Beautiful Chinese Village Hop

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Villages huh. Let's talk about small Chinese mountain villages. Last night I spent a few hours on MSN with a Japanese friend I met eight years ago when I was there. Her English is pretty good but she really only uses it when we catch up on MSN which is not that often. She doesn't have much free time due to having a child and working. She was asking about the earth quake and where it was and the people it has affected etc. We talked about Chinese cities and towns and when we got onto villages she became extremely interested. So much land! Ha Ha! I could tell she was excited by the way she used all capitals! As she rarely ever gets to read my travelblog I promised her that today I would head much further out into the hills and take some pictures of the villages that I find there as they would be very much the same as those found in mountains in the earthquake area. Today I rose and after a big bowl of noodles with vegetables and eggs I almost ran with excitement to my bike. The day was so beautiful and it was the perfect day to find a new bike ride and I knew exactly where I was going to go. I always feel like I'm about fifteen when it is time to find a new bike ride. I'm always finding new places to go but when I want a new 'bike ride' I mean one that will take me 'way out there' for many hours. I headed to the halfway point in my normal big bike ride. This is a little village store where I sit and rest whilst drinking several bottles of cold water. Instead of continuing back around the mountains to the Village Temple and then to Shaowu I continued riding much further out and simply village hopped for many hours. Once again I became the big strange looking foreign alien visiting Planet Farming Village. The look that comes onto the villagers faces as I slowly ride in from the fields really is amazing! That's another thing I love about finding new rides. It is a look of total confusion and disbelief. I don't doubt that a foreigner has ever placed foot (or tyre) in 99% of the villages I ride to so when I arrive each village goes into hysterics. After the initial confusion and disbelief subsides the old begin to cackle, the middle aged stop and smile and the young run around gathering each other laughing like they have just been released from the crazy house. They then begin with the 'hellos' and all of them yell it over and over again whilst jumping up and down and pushing each other either around or towards me. If it's worthy ride, after I return several times there are no more confused looks, they quickly become warm smiles of welcome. The kids learn quickly that I always carry a camera with me and as soon as I appear they begin jumping up and down and yell either 'syung jee' (which means camera) or 'Kutchee or Kutcha' (which means...I have no idea what it means. Maybe it is local dialect for camera or picture). Once I take the photo they ALL MUST have a look so they then begin to jump up and down yelling 'Kun! Kun!' (Meaning Look! Look!). After about five photos, after which each step is followed...jump jump...Kun Kun...jump jump etc I am finally allowed to leave and continue on my merry way. It really is such a wonderful time. I love villages so much, they are such happy places and the families who live there though they have nothing, they don't seem to want any more than they have and that is a very simple life. I found a beautiful old temple made from earth just like most of the houses in each village. While I was walking around taking photos I heard a heap of kids talking about me but I couldn't see where they were. Then I realised there was a class on in the school next to the temple. Several of the students came running over to the temple and dragged me back to the school and gave me the tour. The youngest of them all was so funny. Even though she knew I couldn't understand a thing she was saying she chirped away and excitedly dragged me from room to room. All the rooms were pretty much the same, small wooden desks and chairs and a blackboard but in each one she pointed here and there and excitedly told me a different story for each. It was very much the same as the school I taught in Guangxi Province, very poor and nothing but chalk and a blackboard. The rest of the day was spent riding from village to village. It really was such a happy wonderful day. So below are a heap of photos from the new Village Hop ride I found today. The villages in the photos are about a two to three hour ride out into the mountains. There are no towns, just the villages and a small local store in every second or third one. Each village has between ten and twenty houses (some even less) and all are set beneath beautiful mountains. On this ride today I pretty much stayed on the one small road and must have passed though about twenty or so of them. Now when you think of the extent of the Sichuan earthquake add to that the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of 'small mountain' villages located far far far into the huge mountain regions and you can only then begin to imagine the almost impossible task that is happening in Sichuan Province as I type this. On the English Channel here they had a panel of experts from Japan and other earthquake areas and even their mind is boggling at how huge the task is. So as I promised my busy Japanese friend, here is a page full of photos of Chinese Villages. Where I am is not as mountainous as where many of the Sichuan villages are but Fujian province is just as extreme when it comes to terrain. What you see in the pictures would no longer be standing. Most villages would be totally wiped off the map along with most of the people who lived there. That then means that all the people in these photos would be gone too if it happened here. And that includes me and all the children in my last entry! That would be a real Bugger! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane (that is still happily here!) PS: if you look intot he distance in each photo you will see 'another' village there. _______________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by The Church The album was 'The Best Of' Gotta love The Church! ________________________________________________

Mountain Village Bike Ride

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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