This day’s cycling was supposed to be 112kms. Should be over before tea time. Tell us another.
We left the hotel in Baise after a mediocre breakfast. John was decidedly unhappy as there was no fresh milk and he had to raid his stash of Tetleys. He didn’t have dinner last night and his breakfast consisted two boiled eggs and a slice of water melon. Not the best diet for a chap about to cycle 80 miles. This will haunt him.
It takes us more than an hour to get out of Baise and find a decent road for the boys to cycle. We elected to find country roads which although hilly would give better cycling conditions and we could stop every 20kms to give drink and bits. This worked well for the first half of the morning’s ride, it was decided to find somewhere for lunch around 12 to help John replenish his carbs. By 11am he was having issues with his legs, they had lost all power and strength so a short break of mangos and bananas with plenty of water was consumed.
We were in prime baby mango and peach country and as we travelled through this area we saw whole hillsides of mango trees with ripening fruit to be picked. Having tasted some from road side stalls they compete in taste with the grapes we a few days earlier. After three hours of arduous uphill cycling in high humidity the bikes were loaded onto their car racks and we went in search for lunch.
We had veered off any sign of busy roads and were ambling through beautiful Guangxi countryside when we came across a small market town of Kunping, completely off the main maps and living in its own world. We parked up and went for a wander.
The market stalls were still busy after their morning’s work and the place was bustling. Sang thought it a good idea to buy some fresh produce and he would persuade a canteen to give him use of their wok and burner. So he was filmed buying some liver, vegetables and beans for the fair and of course the big chap in the funny hat with his equally big video camera started to cause a following and before long the market place was full of children and their parents following us as we caught on camera the essence of the place. They of course had their mobile phones and were recording us recording them and this turned into a kind of joke. they were wanting us to film every stall and its vendor although the lady butchering the live ducks and chickens was too busy directing the blood into vessels to become a movie star… John bought some drinks from a vendor who then wanted a selfie with him. He then tried to buy six bananas from another stall which cause a bustle of ladies wanted to copy his words 1,2,3,4.5.6! Meanwhile Sang was creating in the kitchen and of course had to be filmed which again caused interest and laughter. We sat down to a great meal of duck, sauteed kidneys and beans, vegetables and noodles in stock washed down with Red Bull! We really think the community hadn’t seen people from Outside of China before, or probably outside of the county, it was so isolated and when we turned up looking like a film company doing location cooking they got very excited. Eventually we had to bid them goodbye and allow the boys to to some more up hill and down dale cycling which led us into deeper Guangxi country until we stumbled upon a major construction project extending the trans-China highway, and in this part of the world on stilts. Our road out of the area and towards Bama had been decimated by construction traffic and it took four hours to cover 30kms including 30mins digging the car out of mud and creating a surface for it to climb back onto something solid.
This is third world meeting 21st century head on with drama. An incredible sight which will be in evidence when we produce the video. The greatest evidence of China’s might, focus and affluence to build such colossal projects. it was breathtaking and at the same time gut wrenching to see it scar outstandingly beautiful countryside and settlements.
We arrived at our hotel in Bama at 9pm. Today has been like no other. But that isn’t surprising as no other on this trip has been replicated. The wonderous journey continues.
To view the high and low lights of the day caught on video go here: