Published: April 11th 2012April 11th 2012
As if my sore bottom were not enough, I awoke during the night with a case of "the runs". It might have been due to the lettuce served with our meal last night (if not washed cleanly) but others ate it too. Anyway, I just had dry toast for breakfast and took a couple of Imodium.
Today's adventure was a 53km ride to Jin Bao and Baisha. The first challenge was negotiating the roads near our hotel, the Li River Hotel. The roads are a mixture of trucks, cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians, in order of priority. It's really amazing how I have not witnessed any actual road accidents given the way people drive over here, I guess they're just used to it.
The road took us to a countryside area where we ascended some very high hills. The weather now is quite warm and the sun plus the hill-climbing was quite a change to previous days of rain. The views from the hilltop were stunning, as was the fact that there was not much guardrail to prevent a fall.
We then descended the hill, passing through a small village where donkeys were carrying loads
of gravel. They were loaded at one end of the street and they then walked, unassisted, to the other end to deposit their load.
The ride kept going and we were all separated due to different riding abilities. Just as I thought I was lost, our van passed by and offered water. We regrouped in a nearby town where school children stared at us foreigners. "Just another 5km!" said Frank as we headed up an even steeper hill. We were eventually rewarded with lunch and "Just another 10km!". By this time, my bottom was starting to hurt again, but at least the Imodium had worked.
This part of the ride was flat, but physically difficult due to the heat and my bottom. When we reached the van, out came another "Just another 3km!", which I tried to ride in a standing position. I'm not too sure if the scenery on that final ride was any good because I was concentrating hard on avoiding any bumps in the road.
Our reward was an afternoon off, the first break we've had on the whole trip. I looked around town at all the tourist shops with Lyle, buying a few
toys for the kids (Plants vs Zombies pens!). We regrouped for dinner where we tried Thousand Year Eggs (Google it!), then headed to the waterside, boarded a boat and watched a cormorant fisherman with his flock. I had seen this on Amazing Race - the cormorants have string around their neck so they can only swallow small fish. If they catch one that is too big, the fisherman pulls them in and extracts the fish from their throat. We also had a photo opportunity with the cormorants.
Tomorrow is our final riding day, with a bonus hike!