120km Jiujinag to Qichun
Today was the day that saw me leave Jiangxi province for Hubei province. The two provinces are separated by the Yangtze River and the massive Jiujiang Changjiang Bridge. As I crossed the bridge I looked back and saw the scale of the city I’d stayed in last night. Jiujiang is home to a whopping four point seven million people so approximately over 4 times the size of Birmingham in the UK. You really do forget just how many people live in China.
There wasn’t too much to say about today’s ride. Once over the bridge I set about making my way to Huangmei. On first impressions there is very little difference between Hubei and Jiangxi.
I stopped in Huangmei to grab something to eat at lunch time and no sooner had I done so was I surrounded by another group of people all interested in watching me eat an apple.
The landscape did open up a little bit today so hence one or two more extra photos. I haven’t taken that many simply because there really hasn’t been that much to take photos of.
I reached Qichun just as it was about to start raining. Another hotel, another small Chinese town. I got myself a room at the impressively named Qichun International Hotel. The name suggests a certain level of luxury but the reality is that it was a simple hotel. The upside was that it had a lift so no need to make the torturous journey carrying the bike upstairs. There was no Internet in the room; I’m not sure if this is a bad thing. While having access to the net is undoubtedly useful it certainly means I go to sleep later at night.
Before I set off on this trip I read Christopher Smith’s excellent account of his journey from the UK to Beijing in ‘Why Don’t you Fly – Backdoor to Beijing – by Bicycle’ This was back in the day of pre iPods etc and I remember vividly how he said he didn’t even have anything to play music on. Then I look at the variety of electronic devices I have with me; itouch, smart phone, netbook computer. I have numerous audio and electronic books, thousands of podcasts and not to mention a whole library of movies to watch I suppose it’s a sign of the times. I’m not complaining mind, it’s nice to be able to sit and watch something on the computer at the end of the day but I often wonder what a trip like this would be like without all of this.
I remember when I travelled around Australia when I was younger, there was no Internet in those days and you’d occasionally stumble across a copy of some International newspaper which would always be 2 weeks out of date. How did we keep up with the news? Now it’s so simple, it’s almost as if we have information overload.
I took a short walk from the hotel down the street to buy fruit; Qichun really did look a place devoid of life. Since my stomach problems in Nanchang I’ve been a little cautious when it a comes to eating local food. The hotel had two decent sized restaurants so I decided to give Chinese food a whirl again. The place was pretty busy which is never a bad sign. I opted for the much smaller restaurant which was only populated by me. I was pretty tired and I didn’t fancy the prospect of being gawped at while I ate or having to politely refuse drinking beer. It would seem that restaurants don’t do half portions and again I was presented with two huge dishes of eggs and tomatoes and spicy shredded potatoes. I hate wasting food but by the end of dinner my stomach was about to explode.
I was tucked up in bed by 8:30 and the alarm set for an early morning start at 5:30. I really must remember to take the phone off the hook when I stay in hotels otherwise your sleep is more often than not interrupted by a phone call at around 11 o’clock offering a ‘massage’ Thank you but no thank you. Tomorrow Wuhan.