I woke up and I noticed there was this banner facing my hotel:
“Wishing good luck and success to the 2008 Olympic Paris-Beijing cycle tour!” – in Chinese.
Okay, this was China after all, so Mandarin was obviously the language of choice. But just how many of the European cyclists would be able to understand only a single word on that banner? Maybe it wasn’t really directed at them in the first place?
…I was still pondering over that question when I ran into another group of bikers going to Beijing – only this time they were from Germany:
…I don’t think this particular part of the road has ever seen or will ever see this many Germans again.
We had fun exchanging stories and commenting on the design of my beloved Caboose.
Then we said our “Tschüs” and “viel Glück” and parted ways.
…the desert was waiting, and it didn’t look that pretty today:
I was doing my thing – walking – quietly for a little while, when suddenly the sky changed its color in the West, and something big and dark and yellow seemed to be moving in my direction:
…I got so scared I even made a funny squealing sound I think:
…not that I could have heard my own voice anyhow – it was all wind and dust and noise, and I had this strange feeling of being in the way of something very determined and very big.
There I was, the sandstorm-virgin from the German plains:
And not only did the thing pop my cherry today – it even tried to take off with my Caboose too!
…then, as suddenly as it had appeared, it was gone again, moving on eastward, leaving me and the caboose alone.
Ha, it’s looking for the other Germans! I figured, and cleared the dust from my camera.
Then I continued to walk.
When I got to the next small settlement, my first question was about the sandstorm of course:
“Was that a big sandstorm just now?” I asked them, and I knew that the answer would probably be no.
“Sandstorm?” they said, “what sandstorm?” and then they seemed to think for a while, “you mean the little breeze a few minutes ago?”
The Xiaheqing area is famous not for its sandstorms, but for its watermelons, which have been awarded prizes in agricultural trade fairs before:
Oh, how much I would have liked to have one!
Had to stay away from fruits though – bad stomach.
So the only thing I got to eat all day (except for some dry crackers) was this:
Rice and rape – a lonely dinner for heroic heroes and devirginized virgins.