From city to city
Kangding, surprising city
After the crazy day of bus only We tell you the last timeWe had all weekend to rest and visit the city of Kangding. We were very surprised by the very presence of Tibetan culture in this city Sichuan which starts yet to be far, Tibet. Everywhere in the streets we crossed Tibetans and their beautiful typed faces and their characteristic clothing. We crossed also many monks (and nuns) in their Burgundy robes, as the city hosts many temples and monasteries. In a temple elsewhere, was surprised to see a picture of the Dalai Lama, image we think yet strictly forbidden in China!
Renewal of visas... IEA, IEA, IEA!
Last weekend, students present themselves at the outset to the PSB (police security office) where we want to renew our visas: they expire the next day! We are always with patches released.
The police look on his computer and tells us that we have never been registered in hotels previously and it needs 5 records! With one or two recording, it can give us only 5 or 10 additional days. In all the information that had been taken, it has never been question of it! She finished by telling us to go to register for the hotel where we are and come back at 2 p.m., may be that it will be good... We pass the end of the morning in another police station to register. At 2 p.m., a little stressed, we go back, assistance for translation by the Manager of the hotel, a lovely Tibetan. The police who gave us venue is not there and no one knows to tell us where it is "it will may be back, wait a bit". After a while, we ended up getting that they call him: it has turned off his phone. We spend the afternoon trying to Parley with other agents, we will even at another office where the police work; There also no one knows where she is! At 1630 hours an a little more understanding colleague out of her children's school to try to find; new failure. Embassy of France said on the phone that they cannot do anything for us, that's it, Chinese administration...
At 5 pm, not wanting to leave the office before there was at least a paper certifying that we were there in time and hour but that they are not able to/wanted to redo our visas, we arrive to speak to the head of the PSB. It now offers us a 20-day visa if you come back the next day. Denied, no longer have any confidence in them - and knowing what to Leshan, we can have a month!
So us gone the next day, April 14, last day of validity of our visas, for 7 hours by bus to Leshan. We realized that to be all four, it does help to withstand the galleys! In the bus, we hardly managed to make it fit the bikes in the bunkers, with a good shot of shoulder, it ended up close. It is spandrel in passing also of 50 yen for the driver who took his commission (unlike the 200 ¥ requested), after mine do not understand 10 minutes, and of course without the trace of a ticket for the bicycle.
You arrive at Leshan at 14.30, found a hotel that accepts us (with some difficulty) and on file at the PSB. We filed our records, it is not at all question of 5 records this time; It is 4: 45 p.m., it closes at 5 pm! Phew, it was hot!
We have 48 hours to visit the city. On the edges of Wharf, full of grandparents playing mahjong, Chinese and other failures unknown games. At the end of the docks, you can see a little the giant Buddha which made the fame of the city: 71 m in height and 28 m wide!
At the dinner, in a small restaurant, a Chinese who speaks English moved to our table to discuss. He then invites us to take tea in his office. It has the right to the traditional tea ceremony! We realize that it is not fallen on anyone: bump it in the estate owns vineyards and a beauty salon. We leave the arms full of fruit and a manicure kit!
But Leshan is also a big city, and with the city there are also vendors, of the traffic noise, the Chinese life. Back to reality after the last few weeks in the mountains!
Chengdu, the city gray multi-faceted
After retrieving our visas, on file at the station of Chengdu bus (Xiaoba station: South at 5-6 km from the centre). Once more they want us to pay for the bikes, and once more the "no receipt no money" technique works perfectly! 2 h later was in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Yet Chinese large city: 10 million inhabitants!
We have 4 days left on Chengdu, greeted at Angelique, a French warmshower! She welcomes us all four for three nights in his living room. With all our business, it is a bit obtrusive... Thanks Angelica for your super home!
Chengdu, we visit the Giant Panda centre: a centre for protection and reproduction of the pandas. Well, it's still more or less a zoo! But it will keep in memory the feeding of adults and especially the bath time of 7-8 months, really too cute small!
It also passes in the Tibetan neighborhood, which takes back us quickly in the atmosphere of the past few weeks; and the "false old traditional town Han", built for tourists in this modern city. The monastery Wenshu seems it more authentic, and it is impressive to see these tens (hundreds?) of people of all ages who come to pray.
Otherwise Chengdu is a city quite little exciting, very gray and Communist, architecture with huge supermarkets at every big intersection...
Resumption of the bike!
We take the bikes with pleasure Monday, April 20. Like any big city, out to bike is not very funny: at the end of the 90 km of this first day, we finally leave a little Chinese urbanization... More wind is not in the right direction, and it was a bit of breakage on my bike - a welding of the rear rack that unleashes (repaired with our magical Paracord) and a nice puncture.
Le soir au dîner, je vais (seule) chercher un plat de nouilles à emporter : je passe 20 minutes à expliquer que j’en veux deux… en vain ! Les joies de la communications en Chine ! 🙂
The next day, the frame is a bit greener, but the road is still a big national. Bored... We stop for the night in the city of Wenchang, where a hotel that Thomas negotiates at 50 yen. the comfort is not top but it's still correct. When the hotel tries to register on his computer, it can't and call the police for help. A policeman comes; He says that it cannot stay there, doing our business and follow... In fact, there are no surveillance cameras in the hotel at the time it does not have the right to welcome strangers. It perhaps explains the many unexplained refusal that we had in some cities! Explains the officer cannot pay too expensive hotel. He said ok and we follow his pickup truck. It stops in front of a chic hotel... ghanekar! We are on our guard, how much it's going to pay? The policeman called the boss of the hotel, negotiating... and eventually announce 60 yen the night in a room that's worth 220 yen. in honor of the foreign travellers home ! A hotel of luxury for 60 yen; we jump for joy! And it is not over yet: the breakfast is offered!
After that good night in this cosy bed so great, should be back on the road. Sniff, at that price, it would be well stayed longer!
Through the forests
Third day of road are found a small road very nice and little bandwidth. It alternates between villages and forests, on a road that goes up and down gently. After what has been in the mountains, 4-5 km climbs it seems easier! For a long time, it passes between the cypress trees in China. The Chinese stop for taking pictures with larger trees.
It is the tent at the end of day in this so green nature. The next day was rather on slopes of mountains, with a few points of nice views. On the road, we encounter a young Chinese cyclo of 19 years who goes down in Lhasa. We finished the day together, but the discussion on the bikes is complicated because he does not speak English. But together we admire the beautiful surrounding landscapes, if-green gorges in which one passes. On camps together evening, made a camp fire. The hands released could more easily discussed, mainly using HypostomusEnglish/Chinese dictionary on the phone. Asked why so many Chinese go to bicycle to Lhasa: replied us that it was for "find" and realize a dream...
Friday, April 24, we do with regret our last kilometers on Chinese roads. With all what we have wanted to do and the time that is not extensible, must take a bus to Xi' year, where we will join Beijing in a few days, then from there the Mongolia. We leave our Chinese friend continue alone, disappointed by not being able to share more and leave already.
A few anecdotes and more:
How to choose what you want to eat when the waitress hands you with a big smile one card all in Chinese? (Oui, oui, ils n’ont toujours pas compris qu’on ne pige pas plus le chinois écrit que l’oral ! 🙂 ) -> plusieurs possibilités :
-The most often used by us: since the turn of the tables where to eat people. It is nice, it is often the occasion for meetings! But sometimes good y' not many people in the restaurant, then to do otherwise!
-Go in the kitchen, show them an eggplant, beans, a piece of tofu, in short, the ingredients we love well. They are doing and if they are good cooks, they make you three delicious dishes! You add them "mi fa" (rice) and you have a super meal!
-Choose randomly on the map: the guesstimates, it's full of suspense and it sometimes makes beautiful discoveries! Travel, it is also be surprised.
– Live my life Star : Yes, the premises always ask us pictures of us. And it applies to all kinds of people, including police!
– The Chinese riders of Lhasa : are you spoken the last time. We thought their journey was 'Chengdu-Lhasa', but between Chengdu and Xi' year, continues to encounter very many Chinese cyclists. They are in a group or solo, often at bottom in their stuff but sometimes a small "hello" fate, but there is a consistency... they are very responsible. Just what to put a few clothes and business of toilet (in general they sleep in guesthouse). But it is impressed to see both this season when we know that some passes at 4000 m are still under the snow! And especially that many have air to suffer physically in the sides as they are many, those that grow the bike at the beginning of the climb...
– Censorship in China... Daily, it has not too felt it, except for some sites blocking. In the big cities, you might think in a free country and open, often not bad looks to Europe. However, those who have lived there for some time see it. Ahmed told us that his students at l'Alliance française lack of knowledge and openness to the world: they ignore events such as the recent "revolution of umbrellas" in Hong Kong; and even the events of Tian' Tiananmen in 1989, i.e. their own history, are not studied. The filtering of the information reaching them is important. For example, they have well Baidu, their Google Chinese, but the number of results for a same search would be much lower than Google.