The bed bounces as the grating sound of poorly sung karaoke seeps through every corner of the room to make sleeping a far off dream. This relatively expensive Chinese hotel room provides little comfort to tired cyclists.
Chinese hotel rooms will have, without fail, cable TV, free soap, comb and shampoo, dirty walls and condoms. Bath tubs, air conditioning, vibrators to quote: 'make your pleasure with or without your sex partner', buzzing switches, mosquitoes, nightclubs and noisy sex next door are all part of the surprise when you get to the room (or try to sleep). The price varies wildly depending on who you ask, what is written on the wall is never the actual price and the price has no connection to the quality of the room, this is China!
A month in China was enough to see that this is a country full of history and cultural diversity. I had been a bit unsure about cycling here as I had heard lots of stories of communication difficulties and hassles with hotels etc. This certainly wasn't the case for me. People reacted quite differently to a hairy white guy, many just stared as if I wasn't human, these people usually reacted to a wave or hello. It became a bit of a game to try to guess who wouldrespond to my "Ni hau" (Hello) and those "or nots" who chose to ignore me and leave me wondering what they were thinking as I whizzed past. The Children were shy but wonderful as always, and if you could break the ice, which didn't always happen, were very curious and generous with their affection.
China was a wonderful combination of good food, good people and very tough cycling. I hope to return some day for more.
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