Doug cannot resist the cheap firecrackers here. You can buy a huge roll of firecrackers the size of your thumb for $2 USD. He likes to light them off in the morning. He thinks they bring us good luck. One day he went into a roadside store to buy some and the old man working there became upset and kept saying “Mudi” over and over again. We actually know this word. It means “cenetery”. Many of the roadside stores that sell firecrackers also sell fake money. It looks nothing like actual Chinese currency.
Today we were passed by a bus and someone was throwing firecrackers out the back window followed by handfuls of fake money with the occasional very small denomination real currencyy. We were finding this fake money alongside the road for miles.
We picked some of it up to have a closer look. They are for ridiculously large denominations- 50 million and they actually say “dollars” on the back. The back side also says “Hell Bank Note”.
Doug and I are guessing that the money is for the person who died and in case they are going to hell, they will have money to buy their way out. It would seem that Satan speaks English, accepts US dollars and isn’t all that savvy.
I do however like that Doug has been lighting firecrackers off every day. It’s as if we have been unknowingly honoring my uncle the whole time.
In the last 6 weeks we’ve seen the Apple logo on a toilet, a motor scooter, chairs. This was a new one for us. Maybe we’ve just been gone too long. Isn’t is supposed to be “Dole”?
This other photo is just a shot of an impressive amount of ducks. When they cook and serve duck here, the head is served detached and in the bowl. They at least shut it’s eyes so it doesn’t look at you.
It’s another scorcher today. We started walking at 4:50 am and it’s 9:30 now and we just stopped for breakfast. We’ve walked 18 km so far and are trying to get in another 12 km before it gets too hot. My weather app says it will hit 99 today.
If I were at home I’d be sprawled on the bed under the ceiling fan lamenting the fact that I can’t make ice cubes out of tequila.
Alas, we are far from home but the views make it all worth it. I just have to remind myself to pick my eyes up from the road we are walking on and look to the left and look to the right and take in the steep green mountains that we are walking in between. They are really beautiful.
This photo is from the 7:00 am rush hour in Guohua. This particular water buffalo stopped long enough to look me up and down from head to toe and then went on his way. We get stares from just about everyone here.
It’s soooo hot here! I took a screen shot of the weather report for tomorrow. I’m not looking forward to it. Today I was torturing myself thinking about that ice bar at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. The whole room is ice, the furniture is ice, the walls are ice, the bar top is ice, the glasses are ice. ICE!! And soooo cold!
Just about every tree we pass now is some variety of mango. Every street vendor we pass is selling mangos. We pass piles of fermenting mango peels and pits high enough to climb. I swear you could catch a buzz if you just stood there long enough.
The other big industry here is raising ducks. It is the most widely available meat in this part of China. Yesterday we walked through a town and literally every home had a duck coop in the gront yard. We have even seen people taking their ducks out for walks. Ducks are surprisingly orderly and obedient. Doug saw a man walking his ducks last night. The man was using the beam from his flashlight to guide them along. He would walk behind the ducks and point his flashlight in the direction he wanted the ducks to go and they would follow the light.
We also discovered a new favorite dish. No, its not duck! It’s lotus root! It’s not that it’s so flavorful and unique tasting. I think what we like so much about it is just the novelty of it. It’s white and crisp and has little holes that run all the way through it. It was served to us thinly sliced snd sautéed with celery and some kind of mushroom. We can’t wait to try making it at home.
We did some calculations this evening. We have now walked 653 miles and have another 492 miles to go. That means that we have to walk 15.8 miles a day for the rest of the trip. The mileage isn’t the hard part; it’s the heat that gets to us. We try to get up at 4:30am and be on the road shortly after 5:00. It works in theory. We are going to have to try a little harder.
Because China is one day ahead of Kirkland, I know that I am the very first person to wish Morgan and Chloe a very happy birthday. Chloe and Morgan, I hope you have a wonderful and fun filled day. I will be thinking of you both tomorrow, when it is today for you ; )
Two nights in the sane hotel and no walking- that’s called taking a zero. We have only done that one other time in the last 5 weeks. My foot is painful and needs more rest and Doug needs to look for new sandals. A little product un-endorsement here….. the sole of Doug’s brand new Teva sandal developed a deep crack that runs horizontally across the ball of the shoe (if that makes any sense) it’s been like that since mile 200. Not cool Teva. We expect more from $100+ sandals.
We try not too pay too much attention during the day to what the thermometer says. We drink a lot of water, take a lot of breaks and how we feel dictates how and how much we walk.
The guy who stopped and gave us watermelon sent Doug 2 pictures from yesterday. One pic is of the temperature reading on the dashboard of his car when he stopped to look for us. The temperature converts to 100.4 F.
This morning at around 9:30 a man in a truck on the opposite side of the road from us saw us walking and offered us what we thought was one of those huge papayas. We had just had breakfast so we politely declined his offer. Six hours later and about 14 miles up the road we were taking a break in the shade. We had left our packs sitting on one side of the road, crossed to the other side and had climbed over the guard rail and were sitting on a little curb. A truck pulled over a little ways past us and stopped. The driver got out so I stood up to see what was going on. It was the guy from this morning who had offered us papaya. He had seen our packs by the side of the road and was looking for us. He led us to the back of his truck and on closer inspection we saw that he hadn’t been offering us papaya. He had been offering us watermelon. He pulled out a knife and cut one into pieces and offered us some. It was so good and we were so hungry because we walked straight through the day without any lunch. I am constantly surprised by people’s thoughtfulness here.