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mate’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 13 Jul 2005

Location: Gongshan - top Nujiang valley, China

MapI've made it from Dali to the top of the fabled Nujiang valley. Trip has been hard in parts but roads have been pretty smooth compared to what I had to suffer in southern Yunnan. Some tough climbs and an incredible 30km+ downhill to Luiku in the Nujiang Valley.

The valley is lovely and pretty quiet but like most parts of China there are still small settlements. I guess those 1.4 billion gotta live somewhere...more like everywhere.

Just finishing Paul Theroux's "Riding the Iron Rooster" about his rail travels in China and it's a good read - especially if you live here and can relate to some of his poignant observations. It's an amazing country and the Chinese are truly bizarre - so different from westerners in general. Terrified about finishing my book - just 47 pages in fact! No way to get books here - unless I crash course reading Chinese. No that keen!

Anyway my leg is giving me trouble, has been since the climb up to Luiku. Not sure what it is. Left shin very sore when I ride or walk. Shin splints? I can't really ride at the moment and I'm surrounded by mountains. Need time up here though - one of last wilderness areas of China - fascinating local people - Tibetans, Nu, Dulong and more.

Hadn't met any foreigners for a while and no Aussies since Jinghong and guess what? Just ran into 2 in this tiny little town! One is here to do research and the other is wandering about a bit like me - looking for weird places and wild roads less trodden.

Terrible about bombs in London but relieved my folks and sis are okay but more news of bombs and death in Iraq again. So bloody sad and it
's hard to imagine this abating now. We're fast becoming used to the news. No bombs needed here - the land just gives way, the roads fall down or the cliffs fall on you. It's wet too, making it worse. I get slightly nervous riding around here but the risk is slim - I think.

Resting for a few days and might try to head out in the back of a truck to see some more scenery. Pretty wild north of here.

Just spent 4 days holed up in this little Inn in a remote village called Bingzhonglou ("Bingo" to locals). Mountain biked it to a village further north - Chulaotong? Tiny, beautiful place. treacherous exciting ride! Bike and boy very filthy but a wonderful 32km trip into the mountains.

A world record?
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Ate 21 eggs in 3 days! Place I stayed didn't seem to have much food variety and the granny - a Nu woman - served me 5 eggs with rice for dinner. Hold on! Eggs are for brekky - I'm a firm believer. Sure enough 6 deepest fried eggs for breakfast the next morning. Lucky the Tibetan bread is so bloody thick (and tasteless) to absorb some grease. WOW! Call me "Cool Hand Cook" (for Bill Collins)

I'm back in a town now and they have some different food. Also have pool tables and beer. Guess what I'm doing tonight?