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Cindie's Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi, China daily journal (blog)

Beijing to Xian, Shaanxi, China
(July 16 - Sept. 3, 2005)


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July 16 Beijing - Nankou.  We started down the road heavier then we arrived. We planned to take pictures at Tiananmen square and the forbidden city before we left but the smog was so thick we decided against it.  We tried to follow the directions out of Beijing from the Bike China Book, the first 10 km was easy to follow then everything changed after that.  The best thing to do if you are riding towards Badaling is to ride to the Summer Palace and follow the signs to Wenquen.  For a city of 15 million Beijing has an excellent bike lane system, the bike lane is usually separate from the car lane.  We thought the smog would lift after town but it stayed with us the entire 65 km.  We tried to locate a hotel using the Bike China Book but things have changed too much.  We were tired when we reached Nankou and decided to stay the night. Again it was a chore finding a place to stay. The terrain was flat for the entire ride and we did not break away from the city for 20 km.  As I was riding a ploughed through some rocks and one bounce up and hit my small chain ring pretty hard. 65 km
July 17 Nankou (75 meters) - Badaling (600 meters).  It was difficult finding our side road out of Nankou to Badaling, the highway goes through this area and the frontage road s216 follows along it.  The smog was still with us and I had hoped that as we climbed we would climb out of the smog, that never happen.  As we climbed I shifted into my lowest gear and the chain kept popping off the chain ring where the tooth was bent, so I had to climb the hill in a much higher gear than I usually do.  When we arrived a Badaling it was pure chaos, traffic was at a standstill and it was difficult to determine where the entrance to the Wall was.  We continued to ride up the main road and found the main entrance.  We checked the first hotel we found and it was full.  The next hotel was down the hill, it was expensive but seemed to be the only other one around We paid 200 Y ($25) per night .  We would find out later that there were hotels in the town of Badaling, three kilometers away.  The smog started to clear some in the afternoon. 20 km
July 18 Badaling. We got up early and planned to be on the wall all day.  We bought our ticket and walked up to the wall and turned to the east.  The crowds were unbelievable.  At one spot at a tower we were all stopped at a standstill.  If we stopped somewhere to get a drink we were asked to take a picture with someone.  The Chinese people have a way of making us feel like we have celebrity status.  We walked around the entire wall and back down to where the Bear park is located, they have a couple of cages where big black bears live and eat cucumbers thrown to them from the tourists.  There is also a roller coaster ride that will bring you up to the upper reaches of the wall.  The Great Wall at Badaling is like a national monument meets Disney land.  We walked out of the park to eat lunch. We planned to walk back in the main entrance and go to the west side of the wall.  When we tried to go back in they refused our entrance because they did not except our ticket. We tried to find someone who spoke English and they called over a girl.  It turned out that she worked for a coffee shop and knew nothing about the tickets.  I went back to the ticket window and told them that I had purchased my ticket that day and they were not letting me back in.  I showed them my ticket and that is when I noticed that my ticket said souvenir.  When I purchased my ticket they gave me a souvenir ticket not a real ticket.  The real ticket has a postcard attached to it.  We went over to the police and they directed us to the tourist office and Tim spoke with someone on the phone in English.  After Tim talked to them for a while.  We were lead back up to the wall through a different entrance and by past the ticket check.  After a full day of walking the wall we still had to take care of my chain ring.  We took the ring off and Tim filed down the tooth that was pointing the wrong way.


Cindie with a group of Chinese kids at the Great Wall, Badaling.

 
July 19 Badaling - Haunlai (550 meters) We left late in the day, it took us all morning to finish fixing my chain ring and repack everything we unpacked.  We were surprised to have a honking tailwind.  We rode three kilometers into the town of Badaling and saw a few hotels around.  I do not know if it was possible to get a ride up to the wall from there.  The air is still heavy with smog.  We rode towards Yaqing where we turned onto highway 110.  It is well marked and easy to follow.  The road has a bike lane which is nice but traffic is heavy.  We started to notice more and more mining trucks, we passed several areas where coal is being mined.  When we stopped for a drink I noticed that I had coal soot all over my arms and legs and most likely in my lungs.  We could not see the mountains ahead of us.  I started to develop a sore throat and quickly developed a hack. Now I know why the Chinese spit so much, the air quality is bad especially around the big cities. We rode to Haunlai in just over three hours and found a hotel that happen to be a massage pallor too.  A real massage pallor.  We were invited to come down and get a massage but passed on the opportunity.  We found a great restaurant next door with great food and cheap prices, it is great to be away from the tourist area, things are so much cheaper. 70 km
July 20 Haunlai - Zhangjiakou (795 meters).  We stopped for some dumplings for breakfast and met a wonderful family.  We soon were speaking a little Chinese and a little English with the family's 8 year old boy.  He was a pleasant kid and we got attached quickly.  He asked his mother if we were coming back and she had to tell him we were not coming back.  The little guy was so very sad he started to cry, well I can be a sucker for tears and I shed a couple myself. I told him to write us email and we would stay in touch and he was happy with that. We went to pay for the dumplings and they refused to take our money.  I offered three times and each time they gave me my money back.  We thanked them and set off down the road. For some reason this was a tough good bye for me but I left with a full stomach and a warm heart.


Cindie and her new friend, Henry (English name) looking at a map of the area.

We were lucky and still had a tailwind (from the east) but we soon hit rolling hills and coal mining operations.  The air was thick with soot and I wondered if I would ever see blue sky again.  We saw a Chinese cyclist on the side of the road repairing his bike.  We went over and tried to help but we could not figure out what was wrong with his bike so we left him with his companion on a motorcycle.  Not far down the road we saw another cyclist taking a break under a tree.  We met three more cyclists on the road today.  All the cyclists were from China, I was impressed and wished they were riding in our direction.

While riding around 1:00 pm the wind suddenly changed and it started to rain almost hail on us.  We found a place to take shelter while the road dried.  The road became very slick with the wet coal dust.  After riding past a huge power plant, we limbed into Zhangjiakou and meandered around looking for a hotel.  We somehow got an escort who kept telling us the hotel was up the road a little farther.  5 km later we had to go searching for a hotel ourselves, he had good intensions but he took us to the most expensive place in town, we just wanted something cheaper.  We found a hotel/massage pallor. They showed me the facilities and they were quite nice.  I was too tired and dirty to indulge. Yet again we were covered in soot and I had developed a hacking cough and I had difficulty speaking at times.

82 km
July 21 Zhangjiakou (750 meters).  Ran around looking for internet and shopping.  This town has more bikes than Beijing, I think we passed a bike factory.  We found the internet cafe and while looking at the news from NPR we found out that the Yuan was floated.  For the last 10 years the Chinese Yuan was pegged to the US dollar at 8.28 Y.  Today it was floated to 8.11, a 2% move. They say that it will float in a tight range on a daily basis to ease the effect of the change.  Experts say that the Yuan is undervalued by 30 - 40 % and the US and other countries have been pressuring China to float the Yuan.  Well today is the beginning of that change, I just hope that it changes slow enough not to cause economic chaos here.

My hacking cough is starting to go away, for some reason Tim did not have the same problems I had with the heavily polluted air.  Today the air cleared and I could see the blue sky.  I wished that we were riding today.

 
July 22 Zhangjiakou.  We woke to rain and decided to stay another day.  I indulged in a massage today for 50 Y ($6.25), it was very good although it did not have the ambiance of a Thai massage.  It was nice to relax a little.  
July 23 Zhangjiakou - Huai'an (850 meter).  We had a difficult time finding highway 110 today.  The map shows that the expressway is under construction, after some meandering on and off the expressway we realized that some how we missed the smaller highway 110 and took the expressway instead.  It was not too bad the shoulder was very wide for bikes but we could not find a restaurant because the highway was so new. 

When we did find a restaurant we met a man who was trying very hard to tell us something.  We gave him our flyer written in Chinese, so he knew we were from America.  He searched my phrase book for the word he was looking for and he then asked me my religion.  I pointed to Catholic, I personally grew up Catholic and know that religion the best, and he pointed to Muslim.  He then asked us if we liked Muslims and we said yes we like Muslims.  He was a bit doubtful, I could tell that he expected us to dislike Muslims.  Yes, even out here in the middle of no where they know about the war in Iraq.  His interpretation was that it was American's war against Muslims.  He also wanted to know what religions are practiced in the USA.  Hmm that is a tough one. We showed him the list of religions in our phrase book and we said that all these religions can be found in the USA. He was happy to know that. 

We took the exit to Huai'an and found a truck stop hotel for the night. It was clean and pleasant, we paid 50 Y ($6.25) for the night.  It was cheap but not as cheap as southern China.

55 km
July 24 Huai'an - Xinghe (1250 meter).  Rather than take the expressway again we decided to take a side road to Xing ping, we went straight through the circle and on to the road X545.  We rode through small towns with adobe buildings and was stared at by everyone.  The road was new, traffic was light, and the air was clean. What more could we ask for.  We were obviously riding through an area of minority villages, possibly Mongolian decent, I am not sure.  We rode through corn fields with sunflowers. We came to an intersection and we went straight rather than taking the right. We would later learn that we would be taking a small detour along the great Wall rather than straight back to the highway.  We could see the mountains in the Shanxi province to our right and remnants of the Great Wall along the ridge.  It was getting to be lunch and it looked like we would be crossing the Great wall and possibly find a place to eat.  We kept riding west south west and came to a small town.  This is when we realized we had missed our turn, oops.  We sat down and had lunch, tofu and eggplant.  The locals were not Chinese but a minority group, my guess was Mongolian.  They were very pleasant and pointed us in the right direction back towards the highway.  The road was new and pleasant to ride until we were in sight of the highway.  The road just ended and we had to ride a dirt road through a small town with adobe brick houses. The locals were not sure if we were friend or foe, they just stared as we pedaled slowly by.  We took the dirt road to the main highway and could see where the Great wall crossed the highway, I expected it to be preserved in some way but it wasn't, just dilapidated towers crumbling into the earth.


Photo of the Cindie cycling along the remainder of the Great Wall.

The traffic on the highway was daunting, big truck everywhere.  Since the highway was under construction the trucks were all routed to one side and we had the other side mostly to ourselves.  We rode the new highway all the way to Xinghe, it was better than fighting with the trucks for space on the road.  The drivers give us a lot of room but they like to blow their air horn at us when they are right next to us.  The noise is deafening. We found a place to exit the expressway near Xinghe.


Photo of coal trucks on Hwy. 110, we share the road with these guys

 We sat at a gas station to rest and gather the gumption to start looking for a hotel.  The road was lined with restaurants for truckers and I knew one or two of them were a hotel.  An old man from the gas station volunteered to show is a hotel.  We arrived and they showed me the most expensive room. A huge place with a large bed and sitting area but no bathroom.  The bathroom was down the hall and they wanted to charge 120 Y ($15) I asked for a cheaper room and got 60Y ($7.50) room, it was not worth it but I was too tired to bargain any more. Water is hard to come by here and our shower and toilet did not work, they said that there wasn't much water in the entire town. They also overcharged us for dinner too.  Well you can not get a fair deal all the time.

72 km
July 25 Xinghe - Jining (1450 meter).  The first 25 kilometers was up hill and a fight with the truckers for space.  We saw our first Yurt, a real not for tourist Yurt.  We decided to get back on the expressway for a more peaceful ride.  I got a flat tire, actually it was a slow leak kind and I think I had it all morning.  I pulled a large piece of glass out of my front tire.

 Tim was a bit delighted when he said, hey now you have had more flat tires then me.  Yes it is true, in Asia I have had at least 4 flats and Tim has had only two. Not bad for 8 months.  The scenery was stunning today, green green grass and fields of corn with floating clouds and a deep blue sky.  We are in Big Sky country now.  We thought that we would ride 98 km today but made it to the turn off to Jining in 78 km.  I guess our map was wrong.  I limped into town very tired, Tim was fine, I think the low tire wore me out.  I went to a hotel and the price on the wall said 128 Y per night. I tried to bargain but they would not change the price.  The hotels here post their rates and they do not bargain, so different from the hotels in the south.  Now I just walk in and look at the posted rates to decide whether we want the room or not.  I found a hotel for 65 Y ($8.12) a night and it had everything we needed. A large room, a sitting area, a shower and western toilet.  At least the water worked.  When I went to check in with Tim I asked for three nights. The clerk tried to change the price to 100 Y a night.  I told her that I did not want the room anymore.  She changed the price back to 65 a night after I pointed at the price on the wall.  We carried our stuff upstairs and went to sleep early.

85 km
July 26 Jining.  This is a lively little town. The signs are in Mongolian and Chinese and the lonely planet guide book said we would not meet many Mongolians in Inner Mongolia.  I guess they did not spend much time in Jining.  The people are bit more rough and tumble here, kind of like cowboys.  The food is very different, we had breakfast this morning of a noodle soup with a beef broth.  We also had tofu.  The only vegetable we saw was cabbage.  I asked for eggplant but they did not have any.  I went to the internet cafe to check email and they were definitely not speaking Chinese, Mongolian sounds very different.  It seems that once we crossed the Great Wall we crossed into a different country, still part of china, but different.  People have more then one child here.  I have been introduced to brothers and sisters in many places.  The people also look different too.  We went out for dinner and had Mongolian barbeque, it was really good, barbequed goat or lamb with spices including anise seed.  The vegetables, cabbage and peppers, were stir fried with noodles.  I spent some time deciphering the menu with my phase book and realized that most of the menu was meat. It would be hard to be a vegetarian here, possible but hard.  
July 27 Jining.  Gathered supplies and worked on the internet.  While I was at the internet with our computer. A man who did not work at the cafe, came over to me and asked me to move to another computer.  He caught me totally off guard, I could not believe his request.  The answer was no, I am not moving to another computer so you can get on my laptop, how funny.  It still perplexes me why he asked me to move in the first place.  I have to wonder if Tim, a man, was sitting here if he would have done the same thing. I doubt it.  
July 28 Jining (1450 m) - km 36 Hwy S310 (1650 m ). We had picked up supplies and water before we left town, we knew we would be camping this evening.  We stopped at the little store we bought our supplies at and the women told me that the road we wanted was a bad road.  I left town dreading the road ahead.  The road took us north out of town into a head wind.  Soon we were in the middle of a huge construction project, we had to ride around heavy equipment and large gravel piles.  We followed a cyclist through the maze of road.  Back on the normal road again the pavement was torn up and we were riding a dirt road parallel the old road.  All the bridges were out so we had to ride around them too.  Even though this sounds like terrible riding, the scenery was fantastic.  Crystal blue skies with white puffy clouds and green grasslands. We rode past many road crews working on the bridges, they are building these bridges by hand so it is going to be a long time before this road is finished.

We rode through a small town where a group of men were collecting water from a well.  We decided to stop and fill our water bag. This caused quite a commotion.  The people were very friendly and the men helped Tim gather water from the well.  The well head looked ancient.  There was a stone with a hole in it from drawing water from the well. 


Tim getting water from a village well.  The Chinese man in the white shirt is lowering a bucket tied to a rope while the other Mongolian men are reading our printed flyer printed in Mandarin.

I am not sure of the religion here, it is different, some women wear a white hat on their head and their clothes are black.  We went though a small town and looked for a camp site on the other side.  We set up camp along a side road.  The locals left us alone.  In the morning motorcycle after motorcycle went by.  They all waved and said hello. Some men were wearing a white tunic with a white hat and a red piece of cloth.  A sheep herder came by to visit and I could tell that he loved our tent.


Photo of our tent drying in the morning sun after illegally camping in China.

40 km dirt
July 29 Km 36 - Zhongqi (1700 m).  We packed up camp and started riding down the road, the road was rough because it is under construction.  I was riding through a construction site and suddenly, baboom, my rear tire punctured and I had a flat.  When we removed the tire it had a huge gash through half the tire, I had run over a sharp piece of metal.  The tire was not repairable.  Did I mention we were in the middle of no where.  Much to my relief, we had those spare tires, Tim had insisted on purchasing a month ago and Aunt Joan brought to us.  I am grateful that Tim insisted on buying spare tires to carry with us. 


A very sad sight, a sliced tire.

The road improved some but still it was slow going.  We saw new houses being built along the highway but they were still empty.  Zhongqi was a welcome site.  We stopped at a restaurant and had lunch, a local man who could speak English helped us order.  He insisted that we try mutton. So we gave it a try, we also ordered eggplant and tofu.  We enjoyed the eggplant a tofu.  The mutton arrived Mongolian style.  Hmm.  Two big pieces of boiled bone arrived.  We were not sure what to do with it.  The owner showed us how to eat it.  He took a knife and sliced off a piece, dipped it in a sauce of vinegar and then a paste of chili.  The piece he cut off was pure fat.  Yuck.  I tried to cut off what meat there was and eat it.  It was not bad but not something I would order again.  An hour later Tim and I had a stomach ache and decided to return to our policy of only eating vegetables in the country.

We looked for a hotel and the first one was too expensive.  We wandered around town looking here and there. Every time we stop we drew a huge crowd.  The people are friendly and curious. We had a few people help us find a room but then it had a bad toilet or no shower.  We finally arrived at a hotel that suited us, it was expensive 100 Y ($12.5) but comfortable.  The girl who helped me find the hotel also wanted to take us to the grasslands, she made it sound like it was free and I asked the price and she said 300 Y ($37.50), I am sure that was per person.  We declined I did not have the energy to go anywhere.

29 km dirt
July 30 Zhongqi. We woke to rain and decided to stay an extra day.  
July 31 Zhongqi - Km 110 S310.  The morning was clear although it was clouding up slightly.  We decided to ride.  The road s310 is paved.  It was a quick ride for the first 25 km.  Then the road turned sharply north.  The road north was paved and the road west was dirt.  We chose the paved way without thinking that we would be going in the wrong direction.  We passed through some beautiful farm land.  As we continued to ride the clouds began to build.  10 km down the road it began to rain. We took refuge in a well house. The well house was built up and covered, it seemed like a perfect place to wait out the rain.  People from the village would sneak a peak at us but no one came over.  The rain let up and we thought we could ride.  We packed up and were prepared to leave.  A family came over and invited us in for something to eat.  The sky was getting blacker and we could not refuse the little old man who called us over to his house.  We stored our bikes in an adobe shed just before the rain came down.


Our touring bikes our sheltered from the storm in an adobe building.

We entered their house and took a seat on their bed that took up half the room.  Two men and a women lived here.  The women of the house was making a fire, the fuel was dried cow poop.  Now I know what burning poop smells like, I had smelt it before and thought that it was burning rubber.  She stoked the fire with a bellow to get it going.  She opened a large lid to revel a steaming rack of noodles and green beans.  When she lifted the lid steam filled the small room and it felt like a sauna, mean while outside the rain had turned to hail.


Cindie checking out lunch a plate of steaming noodles and green beans.

 I was thankful we were inside this house and not the well house.  Then she cut up some garlic and pulled some vegetables from a cupboard.  She mixed vinegar and soy sauce together with an oil, possibly butter, and mixed that with the garlic.  This was the sauce that we poured on our noodles.  Meanwhile the rain was coming down hard and the men went running out of the house with shovels.   We sat and ate our delicious lunch with the lady of the house. She was very gentle and pleasant.  We communicated with a combination of our phrase book, the little Chinese we know, and our flyer written in Chinese.  After lunch we had a few people from town come to visit.  We discussed our trip with a man in an army jacket, possible the head of the village.  It cleared and we were hopeful that we could leave.  I walked back down towards the well house and was shocked to see the river of water surrounding the well house.  We would have been very uncomfortable there and I did not see a safe place for our bikes.

We now knew that we were heading north and not west.  We had time to ponder what to do next.  We knew we could not stay with this family, it was not permitted. Too bad it would have been interesting.  Our next dilemma was which direction to go, continue north on the pavement or west which meant backtracking 13 km and then going west on a dirt road.  I wanted to go west and Tim wanted to go north.  Finally, the sky cleared and we knew we could ride.  The temperature had dropped, I had to put on our jackets to ride. I put on my tights as well.  The wind was almost a gale force from the south.  That pretty much made our decision, go north.  North we went with a fantastic tailwind.  We rode for about 15 km and came across a small town with a family run hotel.  We asked about the room and it was 5Y per bed.  OK the price is right and they even let us bring our bikes inside.  The only draw back was the toilet.  It was the village toilet.  I checked it out and it was barely passable if I held my nose.  Since the wind was so strong we decided against camping for the evening and stayed in this small village.

Soon we had what seemed like the entire town in our room.  Everyone was coming over to meet the foreigners.  I could not blame them, they were being curious.  Tim took video of the crowd in our room and people peering in our window.  They were all pleasant and a bit comical too.  We did not have much privacy and sometimes it feels a bit smothering to have so many people around but I can understand that they are curious.  The very same reason I am here, I am curious about them.  We had a nice dinner of eggplant and tofu, sound familiar, and bread.  We have not seen rice for a while.  We do not see rice fields anymore, they have been replaced with wheat fields.

45 km road
Aug 1 Km 110 Hwy s310 - Km 95 s110.  We woke early and prepared to leave.  The family we were staying with wanted us to stay another night but we told them we had to leave.  We took a portrait shot of the family with the tripod. We had 7 people in the photo and 20 watching. 


The townspeople who would get in our photo.

We set off early and I was surprised at the chill in the air.  The wind now came from the northeast.  Tim pushed the wind for half of the ride until we turned more to the southwest.  The area is drier than the area we just left.

We arrived in town in search of a hotel once again.  We were directed from one location to another.  We asked someone and they said, oh yes, follow me.  I was guided to a hotel that had 5 beds in one room, two were occupied and then was told I could have a bed for 5 Y (63 cents).  I was not interested in sharing a room with 4 men so I asked if he had a room with two beds.  He took me down the alley to another hotel.  This hotel was clean, had a nice room with two beds, but did not have a shower.  We have come across many hotels without showers.  We took the room for 40 Y ($5), knowing we were being charged double.  We hooked up our solar shower and took a shower in the bathroom.  When I took a shower in the afternoon there was no problem, but when Tim took a shower in the evening the washroom was busy with many men.  I guess one of them told the owner he was using a shower in the bathroom (we had already explained what we were doing, we had nothing to hide).  Later, the owner came into our room, something we did not want, and scolded us for using the shower.  Hmm, who was the tattle tale and who really cares anyway.  We lost our comfort zone when we realized the owner was in our room while we were at dinner.  We checked and everything was in place, he had just changed the hot water bottle.  It seems that this hotel owner felt he could just barge in and come into our room anytime he wanted.  Privacy was something we did not have.

78 km
Aug 2 Siziwang Qi - Wuchuan.  We woke to a rainy morning but both of us were determined to leave, we did not feel comfortable here anymore.  We left as late as we could and rode for an hour before the rain hit. We stopped at a restaurant and grabbed a late lunch.  We left as soon as we finished eating and rode for about an hour before it began to rain again.  The rain was not hard so we chose to ride on, what else could we do.  As time went on I began to have a stomach ache.  I thought it was just an upset stomach but it did not go away.  At an intersection we stopped at a gas station and searched for a bathroom.  There was no bathroom and I was very distressed.  The kindly attendant took me to a bathroom at a local factory complex, and a good thing too.  I was sick for the next hour.  It was raining, I was sick to my stomach and we still had 26 km to ride to the city of Wuchuan.  Now I felt weak and sure did not want to ride.  I rested for a while and the weather cleared.  Oh it would be better to ride to town instead of getting a room for the afternoon here in the middle of nowhere.  We rode on, I put my head down and just rode.  We arrived in Wuchuan and began to look for a room.

We stopped in front of a family run hotel and I looked at the room, the room was great, the bathroom predictable and the shower absent.  I asked where I could get a shower and a young girl said she would show me.  To my relief, she spoke some English.  We started down the road and walked for about 5 minutes.  I thought she was taking me to another hotel, instead she took me to a bath house.  Hmm, well this is interesting.  I decided that we could handle this slight twist from the norm. Plus I really liked the friendly girl. I returned to the hotel and Tim was surrounded by people, I could not see him.  He was speaking with another girl who spoke fluent English. We decided to take the room and brought our luggage up to the room.  The cost 30Y ($3.75) for the night.


Cindie plays badminton with a local family.

63 km
Aug 3 Wuchuan.  I was feeling wiped out still so I slept in, aw what sleep will do for an illness.  We ate at the restaurant and Tim went off to the internet.  We asked the owner where we could do our laundry and he said we could do it upstairs.  Yeah, we have not used a machine in ages.  I spent most of the day doing our laundry, I am not complaining but I think I will send some things home soon.  I think I am carrying to much.  This has been a nice hotel, the family has made us feel very welcome and the kids are helping us learn Chinese while they practice English with us.  We took our shower down at the bath house and it was pretty good, we did draw a lot of looks as we strolled down the road but this is getting to be normal lately.   
Aug 4 Wuchuan.  We worked on the web page ect. and practiced English with the family and the girl who helped us get the room.  Somewhere along the way, Tim got an eye infection, it seems to be common here.  Our new friends helped us at the pharmacy and we bought  antibiotic eye drops for $1. 

We did a slide show presentation on the computer with the family and friends.  We showed them Tim's family and my family.  They especially liked the photos of the Hilly Hundred with the fall colors and the birthday party pictures we had of Tommy, Tim's brother son and Grandpa Pete's birthday.  They did not understand Halloween but they liked the carved pumpkins.

 
Aug 5 Wuchuan - km 83 hwy. s311.  It was hard to leave the family and friends behind, we got so comfortable so fast.  We went back to the round about at the beginning of town and turned west.  Then we took a left on to s311 12 km from the intersection. After the turn the road got quiet and the scenery pleasant.  The temperature is perfect for riding, not to hot, not to cold.  We also had a slight tailwind from the north east.  We stopped for lunch and this time Tim had the upset stomach. It lasted for a couple of hours. At the next, the one and only, gas station we picked up some water to make camp.  It took us a couple of kilometers to find  a camp spot.  It was in the trees and far from the road.  It was one of my favorite camp spots.


Picture of Tim camping in Inner Mongolia China and listening to the BBC on our shortwave radio.

We had a couple of visitors but they were friendly and only bringing in the horses from the pasture or herding sheep.  At night the stars were beautiful, I miss this part about hotel room, we never see the stars at night.  We were also treated to a very bright Venus and Mars too.

65 km
Aug 6 s311 - Guyang.  It was a good thing we camped when we did because we began to climb right after our campsite.  We covered 12 km in the first hour.  Things picked up later on and we had a strong tailwind from the south east.  We have noticed that whenever the wind is from the south a storm is coming and that happen today too.  The clouds built up over the mountains and we were lucky to get into town.  Once again, when we stopped we were mobbed.  The people are always friendly but it makes it difficult to do much but converse with them, after all they are just curious.


Crowds usually gather when we stop in seldom visited areas of China.  Most Chinese in this area have never seen a foreigner before.

We located a hotel and jumped into it, it was 100 Y ($12.50).  It happens to be a type of spa, relaxation, healthy place, unfortunately it is men only so I did not get to go to the hot tub, sauna or steam room.  Tim had to take a shower there because the hot water ran out, literally stopped flowing, in the room.  He says I did not miss much.

82 km
Aug 7 Guyang.  Wudang Lamasary.  We went to the bus station this morning to find a bus to the Wudang Lamasary.  We wandered the bus station and could not find the bus.  We decided to find a taxi, not an easy task, many people wanted more than we want to pay.  We were amazed that no one wanted to negotiate.  Our map showed that it was 15 km away, yet the going price was 150 Y ($18)  finally a man showed up and he said he would take us for 100 Y ($12).  The first thing I noticed was that we were heading out of town the wrong way. Our map showed the Wudang Lamasary to be to the west of Guyang.  We made the driver stop and ask someone else and they pointed to the east.  Ok I guess that is the way, then we headed out on dirt road, through washes and past fields and fields of sunflowers.  Chinese love to eat seeds, any seed and sunflower seeds are their favorite, now I know where they grow them.  Here in Inner Mongolia.

Back on the trail to the Wudang Lamasary, we rode in the car for 2 and a half hours and finally arrived.  I knew we were there because I had seen pictures on the internet.  The entrance fee was 30 Y ($3.75) and I bought a book for 15 Y ($2).  There were no foreign tourists at all and very few Chinese tourists.  The place was lovely, very well maintained Palaces and residents, the only thing that was missing were the monks themselves.  This monastery is  large enough to house 1200 monks and I saw maybe 10 all day.  It is very low key.


Wudang Lamasary, Tivetan Buddhist Monastery in Inner Mongolia.


Inside the SuGuQing DuGong (Palace).

 
Aug 8 Guyang - Bautou.  We set off knowing we had a climb today.  It was not a long climb but it was steep in places.  We even pedaled past a coal truck going up hill.  The coal trucks are thick on this road and the air quality bad.  We topped out at 1800 meters, about the same elevation as Prescott Az.  We stopped for a drink along the road and showed them our flier in Chinese explaining that we were traveling around the world.  The young man who studied medicine and spoke some English was so thrilled he gave us some green tea my favorite drink here in China, and it was even cold.  We thanked him for his generosity and rode into Bautou.

We were amazed how modern Bautou looks.  Every time we stopped to ask directions a crowd would gather, this is quite normal in places that rarely see foreigners.  But here in Bautou a suspicious cop would come over and investigate what was going on every time a crowd formed.  That was not normal.  Then we went looking for a hotel in town.  We stopped at the West Lake Hotel and the rooms cost 158 Y ($19.75) a room, way above our budget. We met Henry who spoke fluent English and he said he would help us find a room.  The next room we found was perfect, clean large room, hot water, and western toilet all for 80 Y ($10). we said we would take it.  When we came down from inspecting the room Tim was outside with a large crowd.  Henry was quite amazed at the gathering.  Then we tried to check in and they said we could not have the room because it was not safe for foreigners to stay there. (that is what they are told, in reality they did not have a permit) this hotel is probably safer then the large ones where the maid comes in the room.  They practically ran us back into the street.  We were shocked and disappointed. Then we went to another hotel they said they were too small and that they did not have a permit for foreigners. We were pointed down the road towards other more suitable safer hotels.  We found another hotel, this time it was 130 y ($16.25) it came with breakfast, and it was deemed safe for foreigners, (yeah a good place to get gauged for money).  We were too tired and hungry to argue any more, it had taken us nearly two hours to find a room.

58 km
Aug 9 Bautou.  We ran some errands and went to the internet cafe today.  At breakfast we had visitors to our table, obviously listening, obviously big brother, so obvious the entire restaurant cleared out.  When we went to dinner the same thing happened, only this time they just watched.

We found out a couple of American geologists were staying in the hotel. I just had to met them, Jana from the University of Wisconsin, is working on her PhD and Chris her assistant is finishing his masters at the University of Texas, Austin. They had a Chinese interpreter who was also a geologist and driver with them.

 
Aug 10 Bautou.  We went to the internet cafe and I made a call to the bank using our headphones and microphone and connecting through the internet with Dailpad.  We have done this a number of times in China and other countries.  The internet cafe was busy and loud and then got very quiet while I made my phone call..  When I got off the phone about 5 people came running over yelling stop stop.  I think I was lucky to finish my call. We asked them stop what?  They were very nervous and one guy came over and asked us our names.  They all had name tags on and Tim said that they were the equivalent of a middle school hall monitor in a Chinese Internet Cafe.  Then one guy asked us to bring the other guy our computer, I thought hold on what do you want that for.  Then we decided to pack the computer up.  They were happy but still nervous and uptight.  Now they wanted our passports.  Tim asked if they were the police? They did not seem to understand that question.  We said our passports were in our room and we would be happy to show it to them if they came with us.  We started walking to our hotel and they did not follow, they seemed to be relieved we left the area. Who knows what they were thinking.  But I can tell you that Big Brother fears the internet and this was a form of control.  We went back to our hotel and pretty much stayed there the rest of the day.

We went out to dinner with the Geologists and had someone else do all the ordering.  It was great, we tried a few new dishes and learned a Chinese drinking game.

 
Aug 11 Bautou - km 11 Hwy. 210. We left for Dong sheng, we asked directions from numerous people.  They all pointed us east, 13 km later we realize we are not going in the right direction and swing back west.  25 kilometers down the road we are finally on the right road out of town, ok we are now 10 km out of town we took the scenic route.  We stopped for what we thought was lunch and it turned out to be where we stayed for the night.

The rain hit while we were eating lunch, we were lucky we had stored out bikes under an outdoor porch.  Three hours later we negotiated a room for the night.  It was basic and better than going back to Bautou.

35 km
Aug 12 km 11 - Dong Sheng.  It was a partly cloudy day and the wind was from the southeast.  We found highway 210 our road all the way to Xian.  We rode on the highway until 18 km from town where a police officer told us to get off the highway and then changed his mind and said we could stay on the highway.  How confusing.  The next exit we got off the highway and took the frontage road into town.  The road actually by passed the city and we had to meander through a back road  surrounded by brick houses until we made our way to the city.  Our guide book said that Dong Sheng was a small town of 70,000 people, but not any more.  There must be a half a million people living here now.  New wide streets, new apartments.  We stopped at the first hotel we could find and they took foreigners.  We even got wireless in the room.  The towns people were pleasant and the room comfortable. 90 km
Aug 13 Dong Sheng - Genghis Khan memorial.  We were tempted to stay in town another day, mostly because of the wireless, but it was not working well so at mid day we decided to ride the short distance of 50 km to the Genghis Khan memorial.  Again the wind was coming from the southeast and we were riding to the south east.  Well finding our way out of town was a nightmare, everyone pointed us in a complete circle, by the time we reached the intersection we needed we once again took a wrong turn.  I think we both go turned around by going in circles in the city.  We ended up riding an extra 20 km, what were we thinking. It is strange how difficult it is to find the road in and out of town and then even more perplexing to find that many people do not know how to leave town.

We thought we would come across the memorial at any time and it turned out that we still had 27 km to go.  I was having stomach problems once again, seems to be common here in Inner Mongolia.  It was getting late but we decided to push on anyway.  The late evening is a pleasant time to ride, but it did not give us much time to find a place to stay.  We passed what looked like the memorial all covered in scaffolding.  We asked about lodging and a guy on a motorcycle took us down to the Yurt camp ground.


Photo of a Yurt Village.

He took us to the farthest one, at least a half a kilometer away from the bathroom.  I did not want to stay there and it was starting to rain.  We picked out another Yurt closer to the bathroom and moved our stuff inside while the sunset.  The Yurt, a round structure covered by a canvas had a concrete floor.  It is the modern day style not the kind the nomads used hundreds of years ago.  The nice thing was we had room for our bikes inside.  We ate some Mongolian beef and eggplant for dinner and slept well all night.

85 km
Aug 14 Genghis Khan memorial.  We walked back to the memorial, 2 kilometers away and paid 20 Y ($2.50) to go inside.  Much to our disappointment, the entire memorial is being redone and we could not even go inside, instead that had a few Yurts set up to show Genghis' silver saddle.  One Yurt had a statue of Genghis and Tim was going to take a picture of him when he was told he could not.  Genghis has reached a god like status, similar to a Buddha.  I would not recommend visiting the memorial for a couple of years, the construction is moving at a painfully almost deliberately slow pace.


Photo of Genghis Khan's Mausoleum, under construction.

We had lunch at one of the restaurants near the memorial, we had our standard tofu and eggplant.  The eggplant was the worst we have had in China, pan fried in oil (probably used) and no seasoning.  I asked the price of the tofu but forgot to ask about the eggplant.  When we asked for the bill the girl said 50 Y ($6.25) I asked her three times, I thought she said 15Y ($2.10).  OK so the tofu is 10 Y so that makes that eggplant 40 Y. I do not think so.  I gave them 18 Y, 10 for the tofu and 8 for the eggplant.  That is the fair price.  She was yelling at Tim all the way out the door.  So I do not recommend that restaurant either.

At least the family at the Yurt was honest and pleasant.  Not everyone is trying to swindle us.  Again, it is important to ask the price of things.  We went back to our Yurt and had a nice dinner with them.

 
Aug 15 Genghis Khan memorial - Yulin.  It rained last night and the wind had changed completely.  It was now coming from the northwest.  Yeah, we were riding south.  When we left it was sprinkling but we decided to move on.  Yurts do not have showers or bathrooms, a couple of rustic days are OK but I really want a hot shower.

This part of hwy. 210 is narrow and full of coal truck traffic. We stopped 18 km from the Yurt and had breakfast.  The road eventually turned to dirt and we could see that a section of a new highway was finished.  We jumped on the highway and we were glad we did because the road went through some very deep mud puddles.  Then we crossed from Inner Mongolia to Shanxi province and the road immediately improved.  The wind was strong from the north and the sky dark, we continued to ride.  We debated on whether to ride all the way to Yulin, it was an easy decision.  We did not see any hotels, barely any restaurants on this entire stretch.  It would have been difficult to find enough water to camp in this desert.


On the road to Yulin, riding through the sand dunes.

The weather looked too bad to even think about camping.  So on we pushed.  Luckily the first hotel we stopped at took foreigners and we were inside before it really started to rain.  The room cost 80Y ($10) per night and included breakfast, hot water and a western toilet.  Ah the luxuries in life.

132 km
Aug 16 Yulin. Rain.  A good day to take off. We finally found an internet cafe.  They wanted our name, passport number and payment before we got on line.  Then they gave us a card to put in the computer.  Such tight control on the internet seems to be normal in this area.

In the middle of the night I got extremely sick with diarrhea. It was not a one time affair, more like continuous.  This alarmed me so I decided that it was time to take the citrpoflaxin that I carry with me just for such an occasion.  I thought that I would be better in a day or so.  I did not realize how sick I was and that it would wipe me out for three days.

 
Aug 17 Yulin.  I was wiped out from the night before so I just stayed in bed, all day.  I was amazed how much I could sleep.  My body ached all over and I realized that I was not battling a simple case of travelers diarrhea. 

Tim on the other hand worked on our web page.  I basically keep up my journal and he does the rest.  We have been getting a lot of email lately asking how we make money on the internet.  That is really Tim's department and he works hard on it every time we stop and take a break.  He is constantly updating the web page, adding pages on equipment and answering email.

 
Aug 18 Yulin.  I am still wiped out and sleeping most of the day and I have no appetite.  I have restricted my diet to noodles and eat in the room.  I am hoping we can ride tomorrow.  After all it is Tim's Birthday.

Tim did laundry today and we hung the clothes up on the railing outside.  We are in the back of a fancy hotel.  We took a cheap room in the back where the staff live.  They were doing their laundry too.  As bike tourists we do not carry that much but compared to what people have here, we are wealthy.  We washed three pairs of socks, two tee shirts, one jersey, two bike shorts, and one pair of pants for Tim.  I had three pairs of socks, two bras, five pairs of underwear, one bike shirt, two bike shorts, one pair of pants, and two tee shirts.  We took up most of the railing.  The staff brought out their laundry and each one had two or three pieces of clothing.  That's it, nothing more.  It made me sad to see that was all they had, at the same time it made me feel like a glutton with all my things. They did not see all the things we had in our room, although they wanted to come in and clean all the time. 

We (Tim and I) appear to have a lot and I can only imagine what the rest of the USA looks like to them.  They know we are buying all the things that are made here in China.  Do we really need all these things that we buy?  I can easily say no to buying things because I have to carry them on a bike but I know before I left on this trip I bought whatever I thought I needed, now I ask, do I really need this and most of time the answer is no.  Will I go back to being a big consumer when I return to the States? only time will tell. I do know that I will continue to ask myself, do I really need this? and think of all the people I have met who live without all the things we can buy in the USA.

 
Aug 19 Happy Birthday Tim well it was not a day of celebration.  I am still weak and can not get out of bed.  I was hoping I could ride today.  Instead, I stay in bed while Tim goes to the store and buys me noodles, drinks, and crackers.  For Tim it was another work day on the computer, he is working on making a short video.  Our new camera is very compatible with our computer so viewing video on the computer is easy.  Tim also has software to make video so sometime in the future we will have a short video for viewing.  Where Tim gets the energy and motivation to do all this stuff, I have no idea.  I just want to sleep all day.  
Aug 20 Yulin - Mizhi. I was up and determined to ride this morning.  I am still on antibiotics but I definitely have a case of four wallites.

We crossed back over the Great Wall today.  I did not see it but I could see the difference immediately, desert to the north and fertile crop land to the south.  The people have changed to Han Chinese and Muslims.  We no longer see Mongolian on the signs we now see Pinyin (something we can read).   Our guide book said that Yulin was a small town with old gates and the Great Wall going through town. Now there are high rises that can hold 5,000 people and construction all around.  It is one of the fastest growing cities we have seen.

We rode south southeast along a river and into a head wind. Tim kept us moving along over 20 km an hour, not bad for a head wind.  We rode past a Buddhist Shrine and had to stop and take a look.  Interesting.

We arrived in Mizhi in search of a hotel.  We asked someone near a round about where a hotel was located.  Suddenly there was a huge traffic jam in the street, everyone was rubber necking to see who had arrived in town.  We quickly found the hotel and I took a look at the room.  It was 50 Y, not a bad room, I am sure the locals pay less but I can only bargain so much.  The room was nice and clean. We shared a toilet but it was clean too. However, they did not have a shower. They did give us a wash bin with hot water.  Strange, they have a hot water tank but no shower.  It was bird bath time.  I can not imagine doing this everyday.  I guess I would get good at it, but I prefer a shower. 

89 km
Aug 21 Mizhi - Qingjian.  We followed the river to Suide and then turned up into a canyon.  We steadily climbed 400 meters.  The canyon was populated the entire length.  Peoples homes were carved in the cliff wall with just wall across the face with windows and a door.  The roads were made out of stone, the green houses were made of stone and mud, and the gardens were terraced.  The whole area had a medieval feel to it.  Some areas were high in the cliff.  It reminded me of the cliff dwellers in Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff, Arizona. Only here they are still living in the structures.  It was a fascinating way of life to see, I doubt it has changed much in years.

We arrived in Qingjian looking for a hotel.  The town was rustic, half the building were built in the side of the cliff and the streets were filled with people buying things from vendors. Where ever we stopped the crowds gathered only they were huge.  We found a hotel and put everything in our room.  The price was steep at 100 Y but I could not bargain her down any more.  The room was adequate a bit run down but a welcome shelter from the hordes.  I really do not blame people for being curious, it can be a bit intimidating to be closed in by a mob, but they are friendly and mean no harm.  We went out for dinner and were mobbed everywhere.  This is new, usually we are left alone when we are not with the bikes.  Such an interesting town with friendly people, I truly wish I spoke more Chinese.

96 km
Aug 22 Qingjian.  We hung out in this funky little town for a day.  It was interesting to meet the locals and try and communicate with them.  It is very frustrating trying to communicate with the locals.  My Chinese is rudimentary at best and some locals can speak some English.  We have found that they are usually very timid about communicating with us.  On the other hand we try to speak Chinese often and some people can understand us.  It is funny when the entire restaurant is helping us order our dinner. More than once our waitress just did not understand us but someone else in the restaurant did.  
Aug 23 Qingjian - Yanan.  It was a long day but a pleasant day of riding. Well almost, I once again had stomach problems.  It seems that eating vegetable is too much on my stomach and that is what we had for lunch. String beans, delicious and tofu. It was all very good but for some reason my stomach is still torn up.  I am planning to get tested in Xian when we get there. Who know what I may have.  Suddenly everything has taken on a big Yuck factor.  I scrutinize every restaurant for it's sanitary practices and walk away from many.  I have resorted to buying noodles in a package going back to our room and adding hot water. 106 km
Aug 24 Yanan.  Our health insurance is due so I have to print a PDF file off the internet.  I go to the internet cafe, they do not have adobe reader and they do not have a printer.  So we come back to our hotel.  They have an internet connection with adobe reader, and a fax machine.  It turns out that the fax machine is for China only.  We try to print my file after we hook up the printer cable, (they could not figure out that the cable was unplugged, I had to show them) it turns out that the printer is out of ink. Simple solution, put more ink in the printer.  They say wait a minute so we wait.  Then I ask if they are getting ink and they said no the printer was broken.  We explained, no it is not, it is just out of ink.  Ok wait a moment.  We wait. Ten minutes later we ask if they are getting ink.  They take us across the street to another hotel.  They do not have an internet connection so we can not print.  Then we said that we would buy the ink.  They said that it was not allowed.  So Tim makes me a disk with adobe reader and my PDF file. I go searching for the fanciest hotel I can find.  I go to their business center.  I look up the word print in my phrase book and it is not there so I have not way to explain what I want.  I get on the internet, download adobe reader to their computer and printed my file.  They did not understand what I was doing but they did not stop me.  Unlike the internet cafe that threw us out and threatened to take our computer because I made a phone call to the USA.  Tomorrow I get to go back and try and send a fax to the USA. Wish me luck.  China can drive me crazy.  
Aug 25 Yanan. I sent a fax today from the fancy hotel in town.  First the girls did not know how to send a fax abroad, I tried to show them but they did not want my instruction.  The manager who spoke English finally showed up. By this time 10 people had been studying my fax ( they could not read English and were very suspicious about what was on the paper).  The manager read my fax and said he would send the fax.  He had a bit of trouble getting an outside line but finally did.  I told him I wanted a copy of the transmission and he did not know what I wanted.  Luckily the fax machine was in English and I could go through the menus and print out my own receipt.  In the end I was very grateful to the manager for all his assistance.  In my old job I printed many pdf files and sent faxes all the time.  I never gave it a second thought that I could accomplish this task in a manner of minutes.  Here in China it has taken me two days to get a fax sent.  A frustrating procedure to say the least.  China may be emerging into the first world but it has a long way to go to get the lines of communication with the rest of the world going.  Until these things are worked out business will only go so far in this country.

 

Visited the Communist headquarters from 1939 - 47.  We decided to visit Mao's residence in Yanan.  The real reason I wanted to go is because I wanted to see what the bunkers looked like inside.  After riding through this area and seeing homes built into the cliffs with only the front door visible I was very curious to see what it looked like inside.  It turned out to be more spacious than I thought, although it still had a cave like feel to it.  Mao's residence was simple at best.  appeared to be elevated to a god like status here. 

 
Aug 26 Yanan - Fuxian.  The road was relatively flat and down hill.  We had a headwind all day.  I am still on antibiotics and feel a little out of it when riding. 79 km
Aug 27 Fuxian - Huangling.  The map did not really show it but we climbed over 800 meters through the course of the day.  Our first climb brought us up to a plateau and the apple orchard were bursting with fresh apples.  We stopped to take a photo of a farmer building a wall and he gave us a couple of apples.  He refused any money I offered him.  When we stopped for lunch they also gave us apples, about 10 of them.  In the evening I soaked the apples in iodine to disinfect them.  Once again we came across car wrecks on the road.  Today, we saw a coal truck that did not make the corner and slide off the road into the apple orchard.

We arrived in Huangling and looked for a hotel.  I found a cheap one but it was too dirty to take the room.  We ended up paying 130 ($15.75).  The room was not worth it but we had not choice but to pay the inflated price.

I have developed a cold and it is difficult breathing and riding.

92 km
Aug 28 Huangling - Yijun 30 km
Aug 29 Yijun - Hwy 210 78 km
Aug 30 Hwy 210 - Xian. 87 km
Aug 31 Xian.  Happy Birthday Mom. Oh I wanted to call today but calling through our computer has proved to be difficult.  I am working on it and probably will call in a couple days.  For now I am recovering from a cold.  
Sept. 1. Xian.  We went to the train station to buy a ticket.  It was pure chaos.  Lines and lines of people.  Lonely planet said that foreigners buy their ticket on the second floor.  That is no longer true.  There are a few windows that say Ticket Office in English on the window and those clerks speak English, we used window 10 but Window 4 would work too.  We waited in line and purchased our train ticket to Chengdu.  We leave Sept. 3 at 1:00 pm. The cost for a hard sleeper, the upper bunk (for Tim) 182 Y ($22) and middle bunk 188Y ($22.78). 

We decided to take the city bus out to the Terra Cotta warriors since the bus left from outside the train station.  For 5 Y ($0.63) each we rode to the Terra Cotta warriors, the last stop on the line.

The complex includes a museum and Pits 1, 2, and 3. Pit 1 is the largest excavation and the most famous.  The larger than life terra cotta warriors and horses were all lined up in eleven columns with ten rows of rammed earth in between.   Each warrior is an infantrymen, archers, calvary, or general.  Each face is different, perhaps modeled after real warriors or the artists themselves.  Each warrior once had a weapon in its hands, the weapons are now gone, in some back room some where.  The amazing thing is that these warriors were buried with Emperor Qing, 2,250 years ago.  The detail and craftsmanship is amazing.

Pit 2. is not excavated as much as Pit 1.  Here is where Chariots 1 and 2 were excavated.  Many treasures are still buried beneath the earth.  Only four people were working on the excavation when we viewed the Pit. 

Pit 3 was the command center and the most looted.  There are some explanations in English but it really does not put the whole thing into perspective.  I did here guides explaining different objects at the Pits and believe that a guide would be a worthy investment if you want to get more detail on the warriors.  Otherwise there is plenty to look at in every Pit.  The museum is rather new and I found very lacking in detail. I know that there is more here than what is displayed. 

In the end I realized that the terra cotta warriors were not the only national treasure at the site, the real treasure to me is a glimpse into the past (2,250 years ago) and gaining an understanding of the military intelligence, social, political, scientific, and artistic talent of the era.  I am very glad that this national treasure was spared the cultural revolution that has affected many other historic areas of China.

 

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INDEX #3: SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to 9-15-06

1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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November 22 - December 15, 2004
Thailand
Bangkok, to Aranyaprathet, Thailand

Cindie's Daily Journals
Thailand #1

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INTRO Crossing Over to the Other Side: Relocating to Asia

LETTER Thailand: Landing in a Whole New World.

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- Bangkok, Thailand
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- Bangkok to Chanthaburi, Thailand.
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- Chanthaburi to Aranya Prathet and the Cambodian border.


 

 December 16- January 16, 2005
Cambodia and Angkor Wat
Poipet to Tien Bien, Cambodia

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Cambodia: Poverty Does Not Equal Crime.

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- Pictures of  Poverty in Cambodia: Poipet to Siem Reap
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- Temples Bayon, Angkor Thom
Ta Prom (Temple where Tomb Raider was filmed)
- Preah Khan, Neak Poan, Eastern Mebon, Banteay Kei, Ta Som, Pre Rup

- Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Tuol Sleng S.21 Museum of Genocidal Crime
- Killing Fields of Pol Pot Cambodia
- Phnom Penh to Tinh Bien


 

(January 16 - February 17 , 2005)
Vietnam #1.
Tinh Bien to Cau Ganh, Vietnam

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Online South Vietnam Journal

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South Vietnam Thumbnails

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- Chau Doc to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- Floating Market and Boat Trip Tour
- Vietnam War Remnants Museum
- Cuchi Tunnels, Saigon, Vietnam
- Cuchi Tunnels Cu Chi near Saigon, Vietnam
- Pictures from Dalat, Vietnam
- Bicycling from Dalat to Buon Ma Thuot
- Jun Village
- Buon Ma Thuot to Cau Ganh


 
(February 18. - April 2, 2005)
Vietnam #2.
Cau Ganh, to Lang Son, Vietnam

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Daily Journal for North Vietnam.

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North Vietnam Thumbnail Pictures.

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- Cau Ganh to Hoi An
- Hoi An, Vietnam
- China Beach to Hue.
- Marble Mountain
- The Citadel in Hue
- Impoverished Highland Market Can Cau.
- Poverty Village of Bac Ha.

Hanoi water puppet


 
(April 3 - May 21, 2005)
Guangxi, China
Pingxiang to CongJiang, China

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Finally in China!

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Three Years and Still Going

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Best Thumbnail Pictures of Guangxi, China

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- Pingxiang to Nanning, China
- Nanning, Guangxi to Liuzhou
- China's Karst Topography Landscape.
- Liuzhou to Yangshou, Guangxi, China
- Zhuo Yue English College in Yangshuo, China
- Li River bamboo boat trip in Yangshou..
- Ancient Chinese Stone Village of Fuli.
- Impressions light, dance, and music.
- Mountain biking through Yu Long Valley.
- Guilin to Congjiang Guangxi, China
- Reed Flute Cave Guilin China.
- Ping'an Guangxi, China.
- Dragon's Backbone and Rice Terraces.


 

May 22 - June 27, 2005

  Guizhou and Hunan, China
Congjiang to Zhangjiajie National Park China

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Guizhou, China

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Made in China: Free Birds in a Caged World!

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Pictures of Guizhou, China.

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- Congjiang to Kaili, Guizhou, China
- Kaili Guizhou - Wulingyuan National Park, Hunan.
- Wulingyuan (Zhangjiajie) National Park, Hunan.


 

(June 28 - July 15, 2005)

Beijing, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Beijing, China daily Blog and Journal

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Best and favorite pictures from Beijing, China

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- Pictures from Beijing, China
- Pictures of Forbidden City, China
- Summer Palace
- Great Wall from Jinshanling Simatai, China.
- Badaling Section of the Great Wall of China


 

(July 16 - Sept. 3, 2005)
Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, China.
Beijing to Xian, Shaanxi, China

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, China daily journal (blog)

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The Many Faces of China: Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, Provinces.!

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- Beijing to Jining, Inner Mongolia.
- Grasslands of Jining, to Wuchuan (near) Hohhot
- Hohhot to Bautou, Inner Mongolia, China
- Wudang Lamasary
- Bautou to Yulin, Shanxi, China with Photos from Genghis Khan's Mausoleum.
- Yulin to Yanan, Shaanxi, China
- Chairman Mao's Headquarters and Residence in Yanan, China.
- Yanan to Xian, Shaanxi, China.
- Terracotta Warriors #1
- Terracotta Warriors #2.


 

 (Sept. 4 - Oct. 29, 2005)

Sichuan, China
Chengdu, to Zongdian, China

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Sichuan Blog

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Into Occupied Territory: Tibet!

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- Giant Panda Breeding Center #1
- Red Panda  in Chengdu, Sichuan, China #2
- Chengdu to Kangding.
- Kangding, Sichuan, located in Southwestern China.
- Mugecuo Lake near Kangding, Sichuan, China.
- Kangding to Xinduqiao
- Xinduqiao to Tibetan Home Stay.
- Tibetan Home Stay to 4718 meter (15,475 feet)
- to Litang, Sichuan, China.
- Litang Lamasary Tibetan Buddhist Monk Monastery
- Litang to Sumdo, Tibet
- Sumdo to Xiangcheng
- Xiangcheng to Derong, Tibet.
- Derong, Sichuan Province to Tibetan Shangri-La, (Zongdian)


 

(Oct. 30 - Dec. 24, 2005)

Yunnan, China
Zongdian to Mohan, China

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Yunnan daily blog - journal

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Out of China: slipping past the watchful eye of censorship.

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- Shangri-La, - Lijiang - Dali, China.
- Dali to Jingdong, Yunnan
- Jingdong to Puer
- Puer to Jinghong, Yunnan, China
- Xishuangbanna Tropical Flowers and Plants Garden.
- Mengla to Mohan, Yunnan, China (border with Laos))


 

December.25, 2005 - January 23, 2006
Laos
Boten to Vientiane

Cindie's Daily Journals
Laos daily blog journal

Click here for our first downloadable video called
 "LAOS: VIDEO POSTCARDS FROM THE ROAD.

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Laos Thumbnail pictures

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- Boten to Oudomxia, Laos.
- Laos Wood Carving Factory
- Oudomaxi - Luang Pabong
- Luang Phrabang, Laos: Monks, Wats, and a boat tour on the Mekong River.
- Luang Phrabang to Vang Vieng, #1
- Luang Phrabang to Vang Vieng, #2
- Vientiane, Laos


 

January 23 - March 12, 2006

Northeast Thailand
Nong Khai, Thailand to Bangkok

Cindie's Daily Journals
Northeast Thailand Blog and Daily Journal

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Four Years DownTheRoad!

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- Nong Khai to Dan Si
- Dan Si to Lop Buri
- The Ancient Ruins and Historic Temples of Ayuthaya
- Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.


 

(March 13 - April 18, 2006)

Southern Thailand
Hua Hin to Satun, Thailand

Cindie's Daily Journals
Cindie's latest daily journal for South Thailand.  Now with over 4 years of entries!

5 minute Thailand Video
http://downtheroad.org/video/Files_Video/2Thailand_DownTheRoad.wmv

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Pictures from South Thailand.

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- Hua Hin to Ranong
- Ranong to Krabi
- Boat Tour of Ao Phang Nga Bay
- Ko Lanta Beach to Satun Tropical Thailand


 

(April 18 - Sept. 15, 2006)

  Malaysia #1
Langkawi, Malaysia to Parit Buntar

Cindie's Daily Journals Malaysia

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Two 1-Way Tickets to Australia Please

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- Langkawi to Nebong Tebal
- Underwater World Aquarium Langkawi
- Bird Paradise, Langkawi, Malaysia.
- Malaysian Home Stay and Cyclist Guest House.
- Traditional Tamil Indian Wedding
- Malaysian Home Cooking and Traditional Food
- Hand Made Pottery Factory
- Chinese Fishing Village and Party.
- Toddy Plantation Farm and Palm Oil Production.
- Malaysian Chinese Temple of Heaven and Hell.
- Malaysian Indian Hindu Temple and Religious Ceremony

 

(May to August, 2006)
Malaysia #2

Tanah Rata to Taiping, Malaysia

Cindie's Daily Journals

Video: Malaysian David's Cyclist Home Stay (5:35 min)
http://www.prescottyellowpages.com/Video/3Malaysian_Cyclists_Home_Stay.wmv

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Thumbnail pictures of Malaysia #2

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- Cameron Highlands Trails and National Park
- Butterfly Garden
- Boh Tea and Sungai Palas Tea Plantation and farm
- Mardi Research Center, Tanah Rata
- Tanah Rata, Cameroon Highlands, Malaysia
- Indian Fire Walking Ceremony at the Hindu Temple
- Our 8th Wedding Anniversary the Cultural Indian Way
- Chinese Cultural Opera and Traditional Arts Celebration
- Malaysian Indian Religion
- Malaysian Guesthouse and Homestay #2

 

(July - Sept. 15, 2006)
 
Malaysia #3 and Singapore.
Taiping, Malaysia to Singapore

Cindie's Daily Journals for Malaysia

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Malaysia #3 and Singapore

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- Penang hill Chinese Temple
- Taiping to Melaka, Malaysia.
- Taman Alam Kuala Selangor Natural Park
- Melaka, Malaysia, Southeast Asia.
- Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and Chinese Hill (Bukit China) Cemetery
- Melaka, Malaysia to Singapore


1North and
Central America
3-30-02 to 4-17-03

2 South America
6-3-03 to 6-17-04

3 SE Asia / China
11-22-04 to
9-15-06

4 Australia
9-15-06 to 9-15-07

5 New Zealand
9-16-07 to 5-2-08
6 Alaska, Canada, and the USA
5-3-08 to 4-30-10
7 India. Nepal, and the Subcontinent
5-1-10 to present
Where am I  now

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