We spent one night with a host from the website Warmshowers.org, which is basically couchsurfing for cyclists. Our host was an English teacher at "Baoding 1st Secondary School," so we got a tour. The school was pretty nice - not high tech by any means, but clean and orderly and dignified, with lots of inspiring messages like this. Cynicism sensors activated! Exactly what kind of society are these kids being trained to take part in? And are the leaders really examples of Noble Morality?
Mingyu takes does mid-morning calisthenics...with 5000 Chinese students.
Excellend candied mini-apples in even more excellent edible rice paper wrapping., courtesy of a friend of our new cycling partner.
The view one night from an old stone village up in the middle of nowhere.
Playing b-ball with some middle schoolers in front of the village school on one of our recent days off. This may have been the first time in my life that I was the tallest guy on the court...
After tiring myself out playing b-ball, I started doing a little solo-frisbee practice, which of course attracted a horde of children. About a third tried to play frisbee with me, a third tried to throw the disc as far away as possible, and a third just tried to chase me around. At one point, I bent over to pick up the frisbee only to receive a swift kick in the nuts from behind! Life on the road ain't always pretty...
We slept in a nice little park just behind the intersection of the only two roads in this nice little down with a nice nasty power plant. Anyone know how to tell the difference between coal and nuclear? I want to say this is nuclear, but maybe that's only because the stacks there resemble the ones from the Simpsons.
On our way to Yujia Stone Village we stopped at this restaurant, which happened to be having its opening ceremony. This government official asked me for a $1 bill as an offering of good luck. Not knowing he was an official, I joked around and told him it would cost three times the official exchange rate. After I dug the bill out of my bag and offered it to him has a gift, he actually tried to give me the money! I insisted he just take it, after which he gave me an incredibly awkward 5-minute long handshake, talking Chinese to me the whole time. He offered us some "hospitality" should we ever pass that way again. Enticing.
Also, he gave us cigarettes. And then the whole pack. Nothing to do but pretend to smoke. And then stifle the coughs.
Fantastic old stone village, so high in the mountains that nobody wants to bother tearing it down and renovating. We had a nice, peaceful, much-needed rest day here.
A surprising amount of kids for such a tiny village. What cuties!
The shy one next to me whispered to her auntie that she wanted to take a picture together.
"Have fewer children,"
"plant more trees." Nothing like a little proverb to make the kids feel at home!
Absurdly friendly veggie vendor inspires me to laugh maniacally. We got ingredients for a salad for three for under a buck!
Mingyulee is a frickin' awesome draw-er. Ignore the part where I'm scratching myself.
Abusing park facilities. Salad, cookies, beer.
Couchsurfing in Shijiazhuang with Snowy and Oprah. They woke up at 4:30 the next morning to cook us breakfast before work!
English tests from the secondary school.
Our Warmshowers host's daughter treats us to an old-school Chinese harp performance.
Day 1 of riding with Xiang Liang, our new compadre.
Whewwwww now I'm only a week and a half behind!