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mate’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 07 Jul 2005

Location: Yongping, Yunnan, China

MapSitting in an internet cafe one day away from reaching the Nu JIang Valley. It's become something of a holy grail for me since I changed my plans.

Thus I won't ride to Hong Kong - a bit boring and too much trouble with landslides. Besides, chances are that I'll be living on the east coast which is largely devoid of any nature. That's precisely why the west of China is so special, particularly Yunnan. So I thought this could be like a last hurrah.

Had a beer last night and didn't really want to go to bed but the days are hot and sunny up here and it's at some altitude so exposure is a problem. The alarm always goes off at 5:30AM. Some of you out there couldn't cop that I know! (No names...)

Unforunately the Tour de France was on when I wandered back to the Hostel in Dali and I met a nice bunch of Chinese students from the East. SO I got to bed a little late 2am and had to get up shortly after. Slight temptation to relax another day but here I am in another Chinese town (which are largely much the same)

For days I'd been catching glimpses of the new Expressway that runs from Kunming to Ruili in the west of Yunnan. Unfortunately bicycles are forbidden on it as I found out each time I tried to run the toll gates!

SO..I'm always on the old highway which can be pretty bad in places. Today I started out on the old road but was getting annoyed with the rough cobblestone effect and energetic dogs. Anyways, saw this little old road that appeared to butt up to the expressway. Indeed it did and just had to jump across a culvert, a bit dangerous mother, carrying ones loaded bike!). Did so and spent the next 3-4 hours and 90km on the wonderful new road. Mind you going up, up and up. Shorter though, of course.

I was paranoid about being caught and sent back, or fined (or shot by firing squad) so if I had to stop for a call of nature or anything I'd wait for some bushes and hide in there. Guess that's what a good boy always does anyway? It was enjoyable being more sneaky than Chinese authority.

Eventually it was time to exit and I knew this might be dodgy. Saw the gate, put the head down and sprinted through, hearing a woman's shocked and panicked cries. Funny.