Fast food cities.
Short blog today.
I find as I get closer to modernized cities I get quite excited. I've been in the wilderness for the last two nights so as you can imagine a lot of my time on the bike is spent thinking about what I'll do when I arrive. I fell asleep with my itouch on last night so I was starved of any form of entertainment today and spent large chunks of the day imagining a shower and what I'll eat. It’s amazing how much time you can take up with this.
Some people shudder when I mention the words 'McDonalds' but I won't lie and I'll stand here right now and openly say I like a McDonalds from time to time. There I've said it! I’m a firm believer that your stomach needs familiarity and even more so when in a foreign land. Some of you may think 'well you're surrounded by all this amazing Chinese food and you choose to eat McDonalds, what is wrong with you?' Let me say this in reply, there is only a certain number of ways you can cook noodles and believe you me I've tried most of them in my time in China. So occasionally and, just occasionally I might partake in the eating of a McDonalds or KFC.
Having said all that you can imagine my disappointment when I enquired whether Lanzhou had McDonalds only to be told by one of the girls at the petrol station that in fact it doesn't. KFC is far more popular amongst Chinese people so once again I'd be dining with the Colonel tonight it seemed.
I've come to neither trust the mileage estimations on either Chinese road signs or my GPS. When I left in the morning the first road I saw stated that Lanzhou was 120km away, about 40km into the ride I saw another sign saying it was 100km. Something is clearly not right. I try not to look at the cycle computer too much but it's hard not to. Sometimes I switch from the distance display to the one which counts how many hours you've ridden for. I'm always slightly disappointed 20 minutes down the road when I flick back to and see that I've only covered a short distance in that time.
Self portrait - Trying to muster a smile as I battle yet another hill and cold temperatures. Yes I am wearing a beanie under my helmet.
Finally a proper smile.
Once Lanzhou was in sight it provided a renewed energy in both my lungs and legs. The amazing thing about entering Lanzhou is that it’s situated in what one might describe as a basin surrounded by mountains. As a result the ride into the city is largely downhill. At the end of a long day riding you cannot put a price on that.
At the time of writing (Sunday) I've been in Lanzhou for 3 days and feel totally relaxed in the surroundings of the Lanzhou Huar Youth hostel that I’ve made my home since being here. It's only the second hostel I've stayed in but I'm really enjoying my time here. It's basically a converted factory which also doubles as an arts centre and theatre. I'll write more on my time here another time, as I'm feeling slightly blogged out today.
That's all for now, Paul signing off.