Yet another pack of cyclists we ran into along the way to Zhengzhou.
Our Warm Showers host, Mr. Wang, editor of "Zhengzhou Cyclists News" magazine and VP of the "Zhengzhou Old People Cyclists Association." 65 and still a strong rider! As well as letting us filthy up his place, he cooked us dinner, the centerpiece of which was goose-face soup.
He also broke out the good beer - some German variety that came in a can bigger than my head.
The next day, we were off to meet Shi Peng, a weird Karma connection of Xiang Liang's. A while ago Xiang Liang found a phone on a bus in Beijing and became friends with the owner, Shi Peng's wife, when he returned it to her. Shi Peng runs an interesting sort of business that does military-style team building workshops for company retreats and is a hardcore outdoorsman in general, so in addition to being somewhat indebted to Xiang, he was also enthusiastic about our trip.
So, in an incredible show of generosity, he took us under his wing for the entire weekend, chauferring us around and introducing us to people and footing the bill for every single moment of it. First, he and his father drove us out to Kaifeng, the ancient capital, for some sightseeing.
Kaifeng in the evening
Xiang insisted we take this picture at the entrance to the Henan museum in Zhengzhou.
Some of the first-ever Chinese characters! Inscribed on a tortoise shell, used for divining the future.
Apparently one reason that ancient Chinese is still so well understood is that for whatever reason there was a tradition of carving stories about certain rites and rituals into durable objects like this one.
A funeral suit made of jade tiles stitched together with silver and gold strings.
Statue of two people playing the ancient "liubo" game, the rules to which have been lost.
A radish carved out of ivory.
I didn't know I was capable of making that face.
Breakfast with the crew the next morning before mountain climbing.
I defied the "no climbing" sign. Then, on my way scrambling down, I accidentally broke off a hefty chunk of rock. That one on the left that is kind of protruding. So much for protecting humanity's natural heritage.
My new Chinese name is "Wang Mai Ke". "Wang" means king, so kind of stands in for Roy, while the other two are phonetic, but mean something like taking steps and overcoming challenges.
A big group of college girls requested that I grace them with my presence for a brief photo shoot.
While riding into town several days prior, we had exchanged phone numbers with two cyclists who liked our style. They called us on Monday just as we were about to leave town and invited us to their company meal
Mingyu and I had seats at the head of the table next to the chairman. Also, next to the stinky tofu. After I politely declined to partake, he told me I was wasting my trip in China if I didn't eat it. Sorry, not convinced.
A traveling opera was performing just outside where we stopped for lunch. The dancers were a little confused and the stage looked like it was ready to collapse in on itself at any moment. We only stayed for the first act, which was, to be generous, slightly painful to listen to.
But seeing all these old folks was really heartwarming. They all looked so...grizzled. I can't imagine what they must have lived through.