Now that we have taken a day and a half off, our average of 15 miles per day has shrunk to a little over 12 a day. It was unavoidable. We we’re both physically tired and the sole of my right foot felt like it was tearing with every step. We shopped around at local pharmacies for more mole skin. Doug also needed deoderant and 2 different places showed him the same product so he bought it. He brought it back to our hotel and used Google translate to scan the Mandarin text that was inside the packaging. It turns out that the product was designed for amputees to use on the part of their skin that comes into contact with their prosthesis. He couldn’t find moleskin but he did buy this for me. The packaging has me feeling very optimistic.
I needed a break from my blisters and Doug needed a break from doctoring my blisters so we are spending not one but two nights in Chuxiong. Our first hotel choice flat out denied us entry. In fact, they refused to even look at us so we wandered around until we found our current digs. If you ever cone to China, don’t expect anyone to speak any English aside from hello and bye-bye. We should have worked harder at learning Mandarin (sorry Vivian) because it took us 45 minutes to check into our hotel. Doug had to use google translate to scan text off of their computer before we could figure out what info they needed.
If I were asked to recommend two towns to visit based on what we’ve seen so far I would recommend Ancient Dali and Chuxiong. They are very similar but have the most to offer a tourist. Chuxiong has a vibrant night-life (karaoke can be heard through our closed windows), lots of shopping and dining. We just ate some really good fried baby potatoes so we disn’t have to take our anti-malaria meds on an empty stomach. The street food here is amazing.
We got here mid-day and so far it’s been great. A clean room and AC! The only snag was our struggle to check-in. Speaking of check-in— er, I mean chicken. Tomorrow I’m gonna try to get Doug to eat a roasted chicken foot. I already got him to eat fried scorpions. If he’s game, I’ll post the pic tomorrow!
We left their restaurant knowing that there were at least 2 hotels in that village. The one that we were able to find at first denied being a hotel and then admitted to being a hotel but refused to rent us a room. I was using Google translate to help us communicate.”This is a hotel?” I asked. TThe woman answered in Mandarin, “yes”. “You have rooms?” Yes. “We want 1 room”. “No”. “No room for us?” I asked confused and then the woman answered in English “YES”.
We walked another 5 miles to the next village that actually had a hotel, that admitted to being a hotel, quoted us a price of 70 kuai in the parking lot but then only charged us 50 kuai ($8) once we got in the room AND they let us use their washing machine!
Maybe tomorrow will be our short day because I have 3 angry blisters. I’m including a pic so consider yourself warned.
Yesterday we met a group of college age bicyclists at the crest of a hill. We got a big “Welcome to China!” from them. Unfortunately our video failed so we will just have to relive it in our memories. They all spoke a fair amount of English and they shared some little nectarines with us. A few miles later we met Spencer, a bicyclist ftom Vancouver BC. He was on his way to Ancient Dali from Kunming.
At around 6:00pm we found ourselves 10 miles in either direction from a hotel so we began our search for a suitable camping spot.This can be a real challenge because most houses have angry dogs chained up out front and if there is a flat patch of dirt anywhere they are gardently on it and if they aren’t growing something on it, it is a garbage dump. Hence, Doug and I wound up camping on a little rise among some eucalyptus saplings. The expressway was behind and above us and route 320 was at our feet. We we’re up and at em by 7:00 and got in 6 miles before we stopped to eat.
This lovely couple was nice enough to let us camp on their property. We have pitched our tent in a little spot under a leafy fruit tree. Out my side of the tent I can see a tilled and furrowed area waiting to be planted with something. Towards the foot of the tent is a dry taro patch. Not too long ago, a renegade goat ran through here so I chased her out before she did too much damage.
We took a wrong turn and went about a mile out of our way but it wound up bein a blessing. We we’re sitting on the steps in front of a store while we drank some water and a group of school children walked by. One girl whipped out her cell phone and took a picture or video of us. We said hello, they came over and we gave them a card. About ten minutes later, two of the boys came back with Asian pears for us. Good will is alive and well. Yes, we went a mile out of our way but I wouldn’t change a thing. That pear is going to taste so good!
This morning was a whole lot of uphill walking- 5 1/2 miles worth followed by a short downhill walk that led us into a stone quarry that was very dusty and hot. They were making cemetery headstones heree. After we walked up and out of the quarry we immediately found ourselves in a busy citywith lots it fall buildings and traffic. It seemed like this city sprung up out of nowhere.
We stopped for lunch at a restaurant and both had what we agree was the best meal we’ve had here in China. Hot Pot! It was a never ending hot pot because the mother that was working there kept coming out and adding more things into it for us to eat.
Doug and I both wanted to lighten our backpack loads a little so mom’s adult daughter took us to the Chinese equivalent of DSL and waited while we mailed some of our belongings home. We never would have found the place on our own.
We headed back to the restaurant where we had left our backpacks and asked to buy four bottles of water. They told us no charge. WE took a group picture; mom and I hugged and we hit the road. What a wonderful,kind s d caring family.
We are overwhelmed by everyone’s interest and kindness. We hand out our post cards and people beam and give us the thumbs up. A man in a truck pulled over and offered us a ride. We stopped into a Buddhist temple to have a look and the woman monk dumped a dish of fruits and candies into our laps.
Last night we stopped at a small roadside store. Because we were miles from any hotel we asked if we could pitch our tent across the road from them. They gave us permission and then Doug helped the ladies there finish their days work. After we had our tent pitched they all stopped by to have a look at our accommodations.
Today I helped two young men who were trying to tape a banner to a wall and they asked where we were from. I gave them a card and walked back across the street to have a seat by Doug and drink some water and the two guys walked over to us and gave us two big bags of tamarind candy. Several people have stopped and asked to have their pictures taken with us. We get lots of stares and Doug says now he knows what it feels like to be a hot girl. I’m posting a few pictures here and they won’t be in chronological order but I trust that you will be able to sort them out. Thirty miles down and 1035 to go. We are having such a good time and our feet hurt but who cares!
Excuse the repeat of the bathroom closure photo. I can’t figure out how to get rid of it.