Day 8. Yixian to Baoding
With the whole group together again after almost a year since the last trip, we were eager to get the trip officially started (as a group).
We were more than happy to leave the dirty city of Yixian behind
us, although the road in front didn't offer too many rewards in the
way of scenery either. The freeway was overrun with heavy
traffic and pollution. But despite the obvious traffic
related issues, we made decent progress due to good roads and
relatively flat terrain.
At midday we stopped at a dingy street side café (if you could
call it that) and ordered some food and tea - although after
struggling to get our point across, we decided to skip the food and
instead buy something at the next corner supermarket.
Sometimes even the phrase book and dictionary aren't enough.
[Stopping for Lunch]
Travelling on the bicycle allows you to take in far more of the
little details besides the street, and in this particular instance
Bill noticed a small kitten, very hungry scratching a living out
from the rubbish. He went inside a shop and bought a can of
meat which he began to serve up to the kitten; much to the
amusement of an onlooking baby and mother. Eventually, we
left the can and the kitten in the hands of its newly adopted
[Bill with the kitten]
Further down the road we came across a junkyard with masses of
green beer bottles stacked in neat heaps, and on the opposite side
of the road, we could see thousands of red bricks drying in the
[Green bottles ready for collection]
At first the only curious visitor who gave us any attention was
a small boy. I grabbed one of David's lollies and approached
- he wouldn't have anything of it. He ran away towards
mum. Shortly afterwards, he came back, this time with mum in
reserve. But still he would not take a lolly from a
stranger. I passed the sweetie to the mother who then handed
it to the boy. There must have been some weird chemistry
between the two of us because he kept a close eye on me all the
[Little boy taking the lolly from mother]
As the roads got wider and now sprawled into 6 and 8 lanes we
could see that Baoding wasn't far away, and secretly all of us were
hoping that it would be a far more enjoyable experience than
It was still daylight when we arrived in Baoding and it made
finding a hotel that much easier. We settled on a small but
posh place just outside the main thoroughfare.
[Baoding - On the way to Main Market]
We went out to dinner and to explore the big market nearby,
however given our intake of food that day we were quickly overruled
by our stomachs and found a nice restaurant.
[Baoding Red (Blue) Light District]
By the time we got out of the restaurant we noticed that our
hotel was literally glowing blue; and given what we found on the
second floor, it's no surprise to us now. Perhaps the funky
blue is Baoding's version of the Red Light District.