Zaoyang – Xiangyang 80km Xiangyang – Neixiang, (Henan) 130km
It’s been a few days now since I last updated; not every hotel has Internet access so I’ll try and break down into some manageable pieces what I’ve been up to.
I should say that I’m now in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province.
I went to Xiangyang which was a short from Zaoyang. If you look on the map it looks like I’ve gone away from Xi’an a little. My reason for this is that having previously had a big ride the day before I decided to take advantage of another large city Xiangyang which was only 80km away.
Not a lot happened on this day, I suppose the only really worthy news was in the hotel in Zaoyang as I checked out. I’d stored my bike against the wall inside the lobby whilst I went through the process of checking out. Out of the corner of my eye I was horrified to see a well dressed young Chinese guy mounting my bike and attempting to ride it around the hotel lobby. In this situation it’s hard to know what to do. I don’t think going crazy at the guy would do any good, young Chinese guys never react well to conflict. I nervously laughed and made my way over to him and politely invited him to dismount. I’m quite protective over the bike as you can imagine, but because it’s just a bike people think they have licence to do what they like with it. I think this chap might have crossed the line. I mean I wouldn’t necessarily get into his BMW, back it up and wheel spin it out onto the road now would I?
I was as much as anything worried for the guys safety. The hotel floors had that all too common polished stone finish and I had visions of the tires just slipping from underneath him and the guy crashing off the bike onto the floor; broken bike, blood etc etc and me stuck in a small provincial town searching for a bike repair shop.
Xiangyang or Xingfan as it’s also known is a fairly large city and as a result somewhat Westernized. I was pretty hungry as rode into town and while not a huge fan of KFC I suddenly had a huge craving for some of the Colonel’s famous fried stuff.
Xiangyang – Neixiang, Henan 130km
Xiangyang to Neixing saw me head northwards and into another province. Neixiang is just over the border from Hubei in Henan Province. I found a nice cheap hotel to stay in for the night but the room was so small. I’m thinking that when they designed it, it wasn’t with a six foot three foreigner and bicycle in mind.
The room did however have a nice long bathroom which was perfect for putting a bike in; so the bike got a shower first and then so did I.
These small towns are the place where as a foreigner you attract the most attention. It might seem like I’m complaining but I’m not. I’ve lived in China long enough now to know the famous shout of “Laowai” or foreigner I mean it still happens in some parts of major cities but you can imagine the extent to what it is out here in the middle of nowhere. I went out for dinner that night and it was just constant attention. I’ve found that I’m really shying away from this and more often than not I’ll get some food, eat and head back to the hotel as soon as possible for some peace and quiet. I’m not being rude I hope; but when you’re tired the last thing you want is a lot of pointing fingers and everyone looking at you.
As I have free time in Xi'an I'll update m