Looking back: 4 weeks for 900km

from our memoirs cycling from Shanghai to Wuhan, February 2011

On the boat again! (back to China)
„Refresh and relax now!“ says the fresh drink machine.
„Refuse/Resist!“ (Sepultura)

Yes, we decided to emphasize on the political and environmental aspect of our project. Japan is a so socially submitted country, where most of the people consume without even a life — my hobby? shopping!
And China is a so extremely polluted capitalist country — the most polluting one since 2007, more than the US (wikipedia): here is undrinkable water because of coal ash:

and here is a Mongolian style river, however this is not a blue cloth, symbol of the sky, but a blue plastic bag like thousands of tons everywhere, symbol of the earth’s destruction:
(left, Mongolian temple / right, Chinese trash)

So it’s clear for us that a political and environMENTAL major change MUST happen.

Part 1 – Shanghai : theater workshop + cycling

Part 2 – On the road to Wuhan

a- concerto for tenor and soprano horns : „hing!hing!hing!“ „hong!hong!“

Horn‘n'Roll baby! After 2 months in Tokyo, we were ready to enjoy again the Chinese horning concert on the road.
That’s simple: Chinese don‘t honk just to prevent a danger or even only to announce that they are coming (required according to Chinese law) — no! Most of them also sound their horn to push you out of the way!! „F**k off! I‘m coming!“ Nice.

b- getting invited, being vegetarian, not talking Chinese : nihao!

Ah! the body language! and tyle’s broken Chinese!
When we ask people in Chinese or by gestures „where can we sleep tonight?“ they usually don‘t understand us. And it’s not much easier making people understand that some of us DON‘T WANT to eat meat and don‘t want to go to supermarket but prefer to eat local food.
(left, chicken in styrofoam water box / right, typical slow food)

Chinese are apparently more used to being loud (LOUD!) than to using their body as a communication medium.

However, we had beautiful moments in the countryside, playing in the street or in small villages where we camped for a few days, meeting people who had never seen foreigners and were amazingly friendly and generous with us. Hospitality still means something, not only in China, and especially in the countryside: it’s one of the enthusiastic lessons of our travel.

3- Riding overloaded bicycles and the visa deadline

We like to ride slow. We like to take our time. We like to meet people, get invited, discuss about China, have nice tofu and „baoze“ with small peasants. But the world politics of visa says something else! In a country as huge as China (the fourth largest one), when you ride several over-loaded tallbikes, even a 90-day visa is ridiculous. So our way will probably cross the train’s one again… what to do? NO BORDER NO NATION!

Our overloaded bikes:

No, wait, I mean:

No, that’s not ours, either… Here’s our staircase to heaven:

4- Chinese New Year

Fireworks are great! The first half an hour…

After 18 hours non-stop and in the daylight, and after finally 2 weeks of „Spring Festival“, it starts to be a little annoying. A bit ;-)