Week 5 and 6 Photo Barrage!

We spent one night with a host from the website Warmshowers.org, which  is basically couchsurfing for cyclists.  Our host was an English teacher at “Baoding 1st Secondary School,” so we got a tour. The school was pretty nice – not high tech by any means, but clean and orderly and dignified, with lots of inspiring messages like this.  Cynicism sensors activated!  Exactly what kind of society are these kids being trained to take part in?  And are the leaders really examples of Noble Morality?

Mingyu takes does mid-morning calisthenics…with 5000 Chinese students.

Excellend candied mini-apples in even more excellent edible rice paper wrapping., courtesy of a friend of our new cycling partner.

The view one night from an old stone village up in the middle of nowhere.

Playing b-ball with some middle schoolers in front of the village school on one of our recent days off.  This may have been the first time in my life that I was the tallest guy on the court…

After tiring myself out playing b-ball, I started doing a little solo-frisbee practice, which of course attracted a horde of children.  About a third tried to play frisbee with me, a third tried to throw the disc as far away as possible, and a third just tried to chase me around.  At one point, I bent over to pick up the frisbee only to receive a swift kick in the nuts from behind!  Life on the road ain’t always pretty…

We slept in a nice little park just behind the intersection of the only two roads in this nice little down with a nice nasty power plant.  Anyone know how to tell the difference between coal and nuclear?  I want to say this is nuclear, but maybe that’s only because the stacks there resemble the ones from the Simpsons.

On our way to Yujia Stone Village we stopped at this restaurant, which happened to be having its opening ceremony.  This government official asked me for a $1 bill as an offering of good luck.  Not knowing he was an official, I joked around and told him it would cost three times the official exchange rate.  After I dug the bill out of my bag and offered it to him has a gift, he actually tried to give me the money!  I insisted he just take it, after which he gave me an incredibly awkward 5-minute long handshake, talking Chinese to me the whole time.  He offered us some “hospitality” should we ever pass that way again.    Enticing.

Also, he gave us cigarettes.  And then the whole pack.  Nothing to do but pretend to smoke.  And then stifle the coughs. 

Fantastic old stone village, so high in the mountains that nobody wants to bother tearing it down and renovating.  We had a nice, peaceful, much-needed rest day here.  

A surprising amount of kids for such a tiny village.  What cuties!

The shy one next to me whispered to her auntie that she wanted to take a picture together.

“Have fewer children,”

“plant more trees.”  Nothing like a little proverb to make the kids feel at home!

Absurdly friendly veggie vendor inspires me to laugh maniacally. We got ingredients for a salad for three for under a buck!

Mingyulee is a frickin’ awesome draw-er.  Ignore the part where I’m scratching myself.

Abusing park facilities.  Salad, cookies, beer.

Couchsurfing in Shijiazhuang with Snowy and Oprah.  They woke up at 4:30 the next morning to cook us breakfast before work!

English tests from the secondary school.

Our Warmshowers host’s daughter treats us to an old-school Chinese harp performance.

Day 1 of riding with Xiang Liang, our new compadre.

Whewwwww now I’m only a week and a half behind!  

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6 Responses to Week 5 and 6 Photo Barrage!

  1. Adaptasaurus says:

    9You look awesome and happier than ever. I often think of you. Take care!

  2. 나일 says:

    Christ, man. What an adventure!

    I bumped my knee off some wee high schooler who was getting out of his dad’s car. Unable to ride for a couple of weeks…
    Made a carrot and ginger soup last night with a SHIT TON of ginger. That was good for the guts.

    Take it easy, oh, and stop scratching your balls willya

  3. Stepp says:

    A) That pic of the sky is amazing.

    B) Look fora little dome-like structure to confirm nuclear (where the reactor is), but generally those wide stacks are cooling towers and coal plants have thin, tall smokestacks.

    C) Asian kids are by far the cutest kids on the planet.

  4. Louis says:

    I second Stepp in that the night sky is AMAZING!

    Also, I would say that the plant is a nuclear power plant indeed. I’ve worked in a couple. No dome is necessary. I worked at one that had the reactors and containment facilities in a giant rectangle and the other was two huge cylindrical buildings.

    Hoping for Thailand either first week of December or second week of January as tickets are cheaper at those times within my window of wanting to go. Have to speak with Thanissaro Bhikku again to get his expert opinion.

    Always looking forward to your next post!Travel well!! 🙂

  5. Yeah man, nulcear fo-sho – I hope your balls don’t drop off soon.

    Did I read something a while back about you and Mingyu picking up the harmonica and ukulele? Got a song for you – Neil Young, Heart of Gold.

    Also two thumbs up on the space photo. I bet Mingyu took that?

    Stop making your life look so awesome! You’re making me antsy.

  6. Mike says:

    Sunny: Thanks, I hope everything is going well at the nature school! Get those kids on bikes ASAP!

    Niall: I been listening to some Rubberbandits while on the road. “Bags of Glue” is a great morning tune.

    Stepp and Louis, thanks for the confirmation regarding the power plant. Now I know where not to sleep, I guess. Seems like those and coal ones are everywhere though.

    Chris: It’s only because I don’t write much about the bad stuff. Don’t get jealous, just enjoy your bizarre job!