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The Trip Starts July 3, 2005 and ends August 25, 2005 (see route & schedule)
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The Six Questions - 152 kilometers
Lanzhou -- Tue, Jul 26, 2005
As I have mentioned earlier -- when we stop for drinks, food, really anything -- a crowd of 20 or more usually forms within minutes. The type of crowd varies: there is the staring type with little interaction like I am some sort of facinating creature from outer space; there is the aggressive/non-communicative type pushing to touch the bike, pinch the tires, play with the computer while not asking or saying a word; and then there is the questioning type. Sometimes its a progression, they start out staring, then a brave soul sends out a question -- usually one of six.

I have become very good at answering the six questions. There are sometimes others but I just have to shrug and say I don't understand. But the six questions -- I know them well:

It usually starts with (1) Where are you from? America I smile. They smile too. They like America. They don't like Japan...

Then after the obligatory compliment of my Chinese and my canned response of yes I speak a little but very poorly they may ask (2) Are you a student? Nope, not a student; I am a teacher, I say proudly. It's fun to be a 24-year old university professor. They love teachers in China so its a good gig to have.

Ah, a teacher they ponder -- still warming up, not wanting to be too intrusive they might ask (3) How old are you? Twenty-four I say. They nod and say yes, I thought you were 20-something.

Now things are comfortable they think. It's time to ask what I really want to know (4) How much money does your bike cost / how much do you make / how much does the trip cost? Hum, it was a present I don't know or how much do you think / not sure, you? / don't know -- if its a taxi driver, I might humor him with a response -- but never the bike question, they would think I'm crazy that I have a bike that costs more than they make in a year.

Ok that's good in all, you don't want to talk about money, but what about your love live, (5) Do you have a girl friend? Nope.

And then we can close it all with an easy one (6) Do you like China? My answer: China is very good. Chinese people are very, very good. And I mean it!

Biking Update
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Huge winds today -- coming into Lanzhou there was a cloud of dust/pollution swarming overhead. Looking forward to sand storms ;) Are they kind of like tornadoes but with sand? I've never seen a tornado but I want to...

We got on the highway (even though we weren't supposed to) and cut off 50km from our route into Lanzhou. Went through some great tunnels. Lanzhou is cool. Surrounded by mountains.

Crossing my fingers that I can get a new visa tomorrow -- say a prayer for me, if not I might have to go back to Shijiazhuang or Hong Kong, not fun.

 

Trip Diary
Pre-trip
Stage 1: Shanghai - Nanjing (7/3 - 7/6)
Stage 2: Nanjing - Hefei (7/8 - 7/9)
Stage 3: Hefei - Xi'an (7/11 - 7/19)
Stage 4: Xi'an - Lanzhou (7/22 - 7/27)
Stage 5: Lanzhou - Jiayuguan (7/29 - 8/5)
Stage 6: Jiayuguan - Turpan (8/7 - 8/16)
Stage 7: Turpan - Urumqi (8/18 - 8/19)
Stage 8: Urumqi - Korgaz (8/22 - 8/28)

Date Title Location
Aug 23 Sweet Pain -- We Made It Korgaz
Aug 22 Uphill to Wind Lake Salima Hu
Aug 21 Biking The Prisoneer Highway Along the Red Pepper Mountains JingHe
Aug 20 Chinese Mothers TunHe
Aug 19 The Final Volunteer Day Urumqi
Aug 18 Urumqi, What a City Urumqi
Aug 17 The Last Day for Wen Ray and Fang Wen Guang Urumqi
Aug 16 Rugged Desert and The Police
Aug 15 The Second Lowest Place in the World Turpan
Aug 14 Toilet Paper vs. Prostitutes QiKeTai
Aug 13 Sunset is Nice, Biking in the Dark Isn't YiWanQuan
Aug 12 Meeting Our Match Hami
Aug 11 Dry to the bone Hami
Aug 11 Gobi Down Hami
Aug 10 Small Town China Small town on edge of desert
Aug 9 Chinese Customer Service (Negotations) Dunhuang
Aug 8 Let's Talk About The Roads Dunhuang
Aug 7 Kao, Kao, Kao Lamb's Barn
Aug 6 Sick Returns Yumen
Aug 5 Volunteer Day in Jiayuguan Jiayuguan
Aug 4 Being a Chinese Wingman Jiayuguan
Aug 3 The Desert Has Arrived QingShui
Aug 2 Talking Politics in China Zhengye
Aug 1 Biking the Great Wall Zhengye
Jul 31 Where's the Beef... No Lamb? Small Village
Jul 30 A Toilet Seat Would Be Nice WuWei
Jul 29 Being a Celebrity TienJou
Jul 29 The Faces We Pass TienJou
Jul 28 Volunteer Day in Lanzhou Lanzhou
Jul 27 I got a visa ;) Lanzhou
Jul 26 The Six Questions Lanzhou
Jul 25 Why Bike Across China? HuiNing
Jul 24 The Mountain Climbs Begin LongDe
Jul 23 The West Has Arrived YongChuang
Jul 22 Sick or Not the Kilometers Must Go On YongShou
Jul 22 Three Stages Down -- Five to Go YongShou
Jul 21 A Full Volunteer Day in Xi'an Xi'an
Jul 20 Leaving Relics at the Terracotta Warriors Xi'an
Jul 19 And I thought I was ok... Xian
Jul 17 Longest day ever TongGuang
Jul 16 No Hot Water Until 6pm Luoyang
Jul 15 Volunteer Day in ZhengZhou ZhengZhou
Jul 14 XuChang to ZhengZhou ZhengZhou
Jul 13 Zhumadian to XuChang XuChang
Jul 12 News Clip from Nanjing Newspaper Zhumadian
Jul 12 10 Days Down Zhumadian
Jul 11 Chinese law is not always written Xin Yang
Jul 10 Biking at Night Huang An
Jul 9 Easy Day to Lu'an Lu'an
Jul 8 Sad I Don't Have the Answer Hefei
Jul 7 The Chinese Countryside Quan Jiao
Jul 6 Teaching English in Nanjing Nanjing
Jul 5 Rain is a beautiful thing Nanjing
Jul 4 Happy Independence Day in China Changzhou
Jul 3 Hot, hot, hot in Suzhou Suzhou
Jul 2 Autism in Shanghai Shanghai
Jun 23 Autism In China -- An Amazing Day Beijing
Jun 18 Training -- Beijing to Baoding Baoding

 

   
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