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Day 8. Yixian to Baoding

Friday, September 18, 2009 permalink [Permalink]

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.

Overloaded Truck
[Overloaded Truck]

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
[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 kitten.

Bill with the kitten
[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 sun.

Green bottles ready for collection
[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 time.

Little boy taking the lolly from mother
[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 Yixian.

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 Main Market Street
[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
[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.

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