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Day 6. Fangshan to Yixian

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 permalink [Permalink]

Out of Fangshan and towards Yixian - we managed to hit some of our first hills and even find some roadside drama with the police. Oh, and let's not forget the amazing peanuts for lunch.

With no breakfast facilities at the hotel we needed to find something to eat.  On gut instinct, we thought perhaps the place where we'd eaten dinner might serve something in the mornings.  A restaurant was open and filled with people - we inspected what was on offer in the large cauldrons and started to point at everything that might look good.  The taste test proved some items to be edible while others proved more challenging.

Yixian Breakfast
[Yixian Breakfast]

The road out of Fangshan quickly turned into rural farmland and all of a sudden we were surrounded by green fields and perfect roads with very little traffic.  The road between Fangshan and Zhangfang was a real pleasure to ride.

Cycling Through the Hills
[Cycling Through the Hills]

It was here that we saw a number of police cars and 11 or 12 police officers manhandling a farmer.  Both his arms bound, kicking and screaming.  Dave yelled out to me to take a picture - and so I did.  I snapped a couple of pictures and then stopped to take a few more.  It was here I made a mistake.  One of the police officers not involved in the scuffle quickly approached and said that I should stop.  Foolishly I continued to talk with him instead of just getting on with the ride.  A second officer approached and instructed me to show him the photos I'd just taken.  He then said "delete" in English.  Had I known more about my own camera, I could have copied all the photos into temporary storage, deleted the actual pictures to satisfy the officer, cycled off into the distance and copy the temporary storage back to the memory card.  Next time.  Of course, while all this was going on, not once did I see Dave taking out his camera.

Cycling through a village
[Cycling through a village]

We cycled on and into the hills, the road now completely devoid of any traffic.  With the exception of a single cyclist, the only other thing we saw was a truck which had toppled over while manoeuvring a tight corner on descent.

Truck Accident
[Truck Accident]

By lunch time we were running out of water and starting to get hungry.  When we arrived at a small village, we were able to order some juice drinks and a plateful of water soaked peanuts.  I'm not much for peanuts usually, but that day I must have eaten half a kilo without so much as blinking.  Gorging ourselves on 3 litres of drinks and a kilo of peanuts we were ready to move on.

Peanuts for lunch
[Peanuts for lunch]

The hills continued on through rural areas but the roads were in impeccable condition and we made good time.

But this picturesque day wasn't to last long.  Towards the end of the day we were on the outskirts of Yixian, and we could already see the China we'd heard so much about - bathed in the polluted waters of its own prosperity.

Quality of the Yixian Air
[Quality of the Yixian Air]

That night we sent a text message to the rest of our crew who had just flown into Beijing the day before.  We would arrange to meet here in Yixian and then push onwards together.

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