Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to you
Over the past week I had got to thinking about the vegetables here in Baiyin City.
The markets are full of them and they are always so green and fresh. Besides the little fields I found in the east of the city several weeks ago it dawned on me that there really has to be more fields...in fact many more fields to feed all the people in this little city. Of course the greens could come from Lanzhou but they would come that distance in a small truck and not the many three wheeler motorbikes I see with rear trays full of fresh greens.
I'm a determined bugger when it comes to finding somewhere beautiful to ride!
I figured, where the veggies are Shane should be! So why not just ride several hours down every road leading out of town. I had already ridden many hours south east to the Si Long River Town and the only 'green' I past on that ride was one I'm not allowed to touch! I have ridden many hours north east past the copper/zink factories and found only bare hills and train tracks with no other roads leading that way.
It was time to put the front wheel in a new direction.
Around 12:30 I headed out into the warm sunshine and headed in a southern direction. Several of the huge new roads just.....ended. That's the way it is in the new sections of most Chinese cities. They build these huge multi lane roads and they just stop. Some continue but only as a two lane small road but most simply STOP!
Here they stop at the bottom of a bare hill.
You kind of stand there and say, 'Yep, I'm sure the tourists will flock from everywhere to see this hill!' Or, 'Surely there is something over that hill that is worth visiting. Soon they'll blow the hill up and continue the road'. I went with this thought and on one occasion followed a little village track for an hour into the hills. Surely there was something out here for such a grand road to be built. I soon ran out of water and decided that there really was nothing out here but bare hills and that Chinese city planners are just plain crazy!
Once back in town I found some water and another main road I knew actually went somewhere. How did I know? There were trucks, cars and three wheeler motor bikes full of greens coming into town. This was my road. I headed south down Gong Yuan Lu (Park Street). For the entire way I got to ride beside fields of green and an actual river.
There were no huge lush Guangxi farmlands but it really was a sight for tired desert eyes!
I've found that up here many things are grown in huge hot houses. The back, front and rear walls are made of mud bricks and they are very thick indeed. The fields were green and alive for about a kilometer back from the river, kinda like the River Nile in a way. From there on it's just bare! I stopped to watch as some of the hot houses were being covered in a thick plastic to get ready for the cold winter. On top of the plastic they place thick straw matting.
During the afternoon I dropped into heaps of little villages where I was surrounded by children who ran behind me yelling 'HELLOW HELLOW HELLOW!'. Whenever I'd stop to say 'HELLOW' back they'd all giggle and run away.
It really is a strange life I live here in China!
All up around a 6 hour ride for the day. I was so happy to finally find the lush greens of Baiyin City. Limited as they were I guess my quest is now complete. I guess the next step is heading North West but I doubt I'll find much there except little mud house villages beside small streams.
Only one way to find out....point the front wheel in that direction next weekend!
The evening was spent catching up on some Travelpods I had been following a few months prior. I seem to follow a few at a time then change and return to the others a few months later. I was surprised to find that 'bootsmade4walking' had returned home earlier than she anticipated.
Lacey, how could you go home! Surprise to me!
It then dawned on me that when a traveler returns to the realms of the norm, not only does 'their' adventure become complete, but for all those 'armchair' travelers it is also finalised. Not only am I living my dream living and teaching here in China, but I still follow many others whom are on the same path as myself.
I can't help but feel a little sad when some of them decided 'enough is enough' and pack the pack for the long journey home.
It brings back memories of six years ago when I packed my pack and ventured home much too early. I didn't listen to the person whom I was returning to nor to my family and friends. I wonder how many of the people I follow from the comforts of my desert apartment are actually returning home too early. Many are having so much fun and are full of life, then WHAM they hit the same wall I did many years ago.
Returning home is in some ways actually harder then leaving, especially if you return home prematurely.
Whilst on a 'walkabout' each day contains a new and exciting adventure. You meet new people, share new and exciting conversations, food and beers. Unless you've done it I guess it's hard to comprehend. I know how hard it is to put into words. Each morning you rise to an entire day filled with places and things you've never done before. You meet people who are experiencing the same things and feeling the same feelings. You both feel the same excitement sharing conversation over beer and food. You are both full of thousands of questions and so eager to learn and pass on experience.
When you return home you get a small list of questions.
How was your trip? Where did you go? Probably about five questions all up.
This lasts for a week or two and then you are left to quickly re-adjust back into normality.
While re-adjusting many hours are spent remembering your time away. Probably more hours are spent remembering than future planning. You see things on TV, sometimes hear songs you where listening to whilst away and also simple things in general conversation that will bring you smack bang to a country and a time past that was so full of excitement and new experiences.
So here's to all the people unpacking their dusty pack and re-adjusting to the realms of normality.
I offer you many Beers N Noodles to help you through the process...shane