A New Perspective

I’m choosing to believe that there is purpose behind my little mishap this morning. Maybe breaking my toe was a blessing in disguise. Maybe it was averting us ftom some greater tragedy. We will come back. Maybe in December and January, maybe not until next summer. Either way I’m going to finish this walk. And the first thing I will do before getting out of bed in the morning is put on my shoes! This story isn’t over. It’s just on hold.

To Be Continued…

We were ten minutes from being out the door this morning. I was walking past the bed and hit my pinky toe on the bed leg. I heard it crack. Doug heard it crack. It’s broken. I can’t walk. I can’t put any weight on it, not even on my heel. The walk is over for now. We only had 212.75 more miles to go. I’m so disappointed that I can’t even cry. I can’t believe it’s ending this way. A friking pinky toe. I think we will stay here one more night and then try to find a bus to Hong Kong. I’ve tried to convince myself that it’s not as bad as I think but every time I try to put weight on it, reality tells me otherwise. I’m praying for a miracle. I’m trying to will my little toe to heal itself. I can’t believe that we have walked over 900 miles and it’s ending this way. I couldn’t have broken a finger or my nose? I feel heartbroken.

Weather

We have had really good luck with weather while on our walk. From time to time we are in a hotel that has a television and cable to boot. We always look for a Chinsee news channel that’s in English. We watch the weather portion and marvel at the fact that we always manage to avoid the really bad weather. We leave an area and 2 weeks later it’s ravaged by flash floods. We see an area that we are headed to in the coming weeks suffering foul weather and by the time we get there all is well. Our only complaint has been the heat but we have been able to avoid that by starting early in the morning and finishing by noon. I think we have also acclimated to it a bit too.
Now we are watching the news and seeing that the eastern coast of China is expecting a typhoon. It’s due to make land fall in 3-4 hours. They are expecting 200 kph winds and over 900,000 people have been evacuated. We are nowhere near this area. We are at least a thousand miles away. Still, it is interesting to be here at this time. It seems as though this typhoon is going to be epic. Weather is always big news and in the U.S.A. it often gets blown out of proportion for a variety of reasons. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Teenagers

Every once in a while we meet someone here who knows English a little beyond, “Hello” Today someone stopped Doug and asked him where he was walking to. “Hong Kong” Doug answered. “Are you sure?” the man queried.
Later today a group of kids pulled up alongside Doug on a motor scooter. The driver was a teenaged boy and 2 teenaged girls sat behind him. The boy said, “Hello, what is your name?” Doug answered, ” My name is Doug”. The boy parroted back in a mocking and goofy voice, ” HELLO, MY NAME IS DOUG!”. The girl sitting directly behind him gave him a smack while the girl at the rear of the scooter giggled as they sped off. If you are an adult and teenagers think you’re cool, you are really something special. The rest of us….well, we just get put in our place.

rps20150709_190301 Doug and I met this nice family of fruit vendors early thus afternoon. It was perfect timing. We we’re nearing mile 12 and were ready for a break. They invited us to sit down by the side of the road and enjoy a little shade. Father sent his son over with a huge pile of lychee fruit for us. How did they know that lychee are our favorite fruit here? Doug says they are like little balls of sweet sugar water. They give us a nice little burst of energy. We ate the entire pile of fruit that they gave us and then they loaded up a plastic bag with at least 2 more lbs for the road. I wish we had remembered that we had them because we could have shared them with these guys.
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We met these 2 men on the 324. They were walking from Shenzhen (just across the harbor from Hong Kong) to….somewhere north- we aren’t quite sure where but they’re making good time and we wish them the best of luck. We have passed and met dozens of bicyclists but these two were the first walkers we have met so far.

Rice

Mature Rice Plants

Mature Rice Plants

We started our walk on May 18th and it is now July 9th. Where did the time go? What really puts the passing of time into perspective is watching the rice. We have seen the plants be planted, grow, be transplanted, mature, be harvested, be reaped and then dried. It is an incredibly labor intensive process. Doug passed on some interesting facts about rice to me. The farming of rice uses almost 1/3 of the world’s fresh water supply. Rice cultivation is well suited to countries with low labor costs and high rainfall. Rice consumption accounts for more than 20% of the calories consumed by humans world wide. Next time you go to Costco, check out how insanely cheap a 25 lb bag of rice is.
This photo shows how rice is dried. We see lots of it being dried in what are essentially people’s driveways and paved front yards.
Rice Being Dried

Rice Being Dried

Architecture

I tried to come to China without any expectations as to what it was going to be like. That’s really almost impossible. I just was trying to avoid being disappointed by my own pre-conceived notions as to what I might experience.
One thing that has surprised me is the architecture. If I took a picture of an average home, it’s likely that you would never guess that you were looking at a home in China. (I’ll post pics of a typical Chinese home tomorrow). Many of the homes you see are very….utilitarian. The bottom floor might have a shop or restaurant in it. This is also where they park their motorscooters at night. In fact, we were having dinner in a restaurant and the owners teenaged son, riding his motor scooter kept whizzing in and out of the restaurant right past our table as we were eating dinner. One morning we stopped for an early breakfast and the restaurant owners were still setting up. They hadn’t yet moved their motor scooters out and put the dining tables back in place.
Many families live in the space behind or above their business. We’ve been in many restaurants where patrons are served in the family’s living area. We see their child’s desk where they do their school work set up against the wall. We have seen children doing their homework at empty restaurant tables. They have brought their English homework over to show us. Sometimes their son’s or daughter’s toys are scattered about.

Many of these home/business buildings are 2-3 stories and very boxy. They are often brick, sometimes look like they are made of only cement or sometimes covered in white tiles. There is no hint of traditional Chinese architecture at all.
For this reason, when we see something like this little temple, it’s such a treat. rps20150708_155959

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We stopped for some water this morning and these women gave us some complimentary yummy snacks for the road. We got sunflower seeds and little yellow cakes.
We we’re stopped several times on the road today. This man bought us ice-cold waters and gave us his phone number just in case we needed any help. rps20150708_155932

Earlier in the day, a man came running across the highway and tried to give me 20 kuai. We hadn’t even met him before or given him a card. I’m not sure what is going on. Do I look like I’m in need and he wanted to help me out? Did he talk to someone who told him about us and our walk?

Early Lunch

This guy wrangled us in off the street and fed us a really nice lunch. He was concerned that we didn’t have anything to eat or anywhere to sleep.I think he was willing to put us up for the night too but it’s only 11:20 am and we still have another 9 or 10 miles to walk. Southern (China) hospitality. There’s nothing better!rps20150708_111646rps20150708_110030

We had dinner tonight in a beautifully clean and tidy restaurant. The owner’s daughter was smart as a whip, spoke excellent English and was very helpful.
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Their restaurant was right across from our hotel which we might not have ever found if it weren’t for this kind man, his son and willowy, long legged daughter. She was taller than Doug and a good 6 inches taller than her very proud pappa.
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