Hello all, right now we are in a hotel and on the internet- a bloody revelation. China is brilliant and frustrating in equal measures.
Things I like about China:
- the people
- the food
- the scenery
Things I dislike about China
- Dong Feng trucks
- the driving
- the road conditions
- the public lavatories
So overall China gets a big thumbs up and we seem to be settling into a routine of getting up and driving for long hours without too many grumbles. It would be nice to have a day off at some point in the next three weeks, but if we don't it won't destroy us. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and if you don't laugh you cry-oh how I love cliches.
Yesterday we visited Zijin caves, which were absoltely breathtaking. They must be one of the most impressive caves in the world. The length of the caves is 12.1km, although I think we covered about half that distance. There were no English guides and so we joined a group of Chinese. We didn't have a clue what the guide was saying, but she sounded like she knew what she was talking about. I have never seen such large stalctites and stalagmites in my life, some must have been about 60ft tall/long. I also learnt a new thing about limetsone rock formations created by dripping water, that when a stalactite and stalagmite join together it is called a stalacto-stalagmite. We have also created a new rock formation called a phlobomite- I assume that you can work out how this special rock formation is formed. The rocks were amazing shapes, with many looking like large jellyfish e.g. Portuguese Man of War. We passed through different levels of the cave and eventually came upon the huge main cavern, which was at least the size of a football pitch. I worried about a stalactite falling from the roof and causing an ignominious death for us both. I informed Ants that I thought it would be a very painless death and that it would make a good article in a newspaper. Unfortunately, we had driven in the morning and had a long drive ahead of us and therefore were too tired to enjoy the caves as we felt we should have done. In hindsight I am appreciating them alot more. I put on Ants' I-pod and was listening to some music, which inspired me to start cave dancing in a rather peculiar manner. What I had failed to realise was that a security guard was walking right behind me as I shook my little booty.
I thought I smoked too much, but the Chinese really put me to shame. I am not sure how the roads ever get built as there always seems to be someone having a cigarette break. They also smoke while riding motorbikes, which I am sure is quite dangerous. It wouldn't be hard for the ash to go in their eye, lose concentration and end up under the wheels of one of the Dong Feng army. You seem to able to smoke everywhere in China apart from the lifts and there are notices in all hotel rooms advising against smoking in bed, for obvious reasons. That just reminded me, in our hotel room today it is possible to buy a packet of blue pills, which I am sure must be the Chinese equivalent of Viagra. I suppose the population didn't reach over a billion for no reason.
Today we were on the road for 9 hours, which included an hour for lunch. We must be getting used to the long hours, because it was OK. Apart from Ants' incident with the rather cross Dong Feng driver there were no problems. Two strange things we saw today included a dead foal strapped to the back of a motorbike and a dead dog being dragged along the road by a small child- pet or lunch?
Tomorrow we are getting TT serviced. I will watch carefully so that I learn how to do the oil filter and air filter myself. I will change the front brake pad, but get a motorcycle mechanic to check my handywork. Changing the oil is something we will let a mecahnic deal with, because they can dispose of the old oil safely and we cannot. Also, we think her accelerator is starting to stiffen again and will get the mechanic to check that also.
That's all folks, time for bed as another long day beckons and the tired tukkers need their beauty sleep. xx