Finally after nearly 5 years it was time to return to my old track, where I left my bicycle and I went back to Iran. Almost 5 years passed, time goes by so quick and I would never expect to leave my bike there for 5 years.
In February 2009 I left my bicycle and all my stuff somewhere in Nanjing and I went to Shanghai to extend my visa. Following 2 dreams at night made me decide to leave and go to Iran without turning back to get my bike with me.
While I was in Iran in the very few months, my best friend went to Nepal and he drowned in a river while kayaking. I went there to Nepal to search for him and after 3 months I found nothing.
Last day before he goes to Nepal I called him and I told him which I might be away to China when he returns, he laughed and insistently asked me to do not go and wait for me. I was kind of shocked to hear that, but he resisted that don’t go back to China and wait for me!! I have things to tell you…
I waited 4 years and exactly 4 years from the time I talked to him last, I came back to China to my old bike which called Bamboo.
I kept that hope 4 years for him to return, but ..!!!
I flew on September 11 and arrived to China on 12th. After transferring 2 times I arrived to Shanghai and directly I went to Nanjing.
David was waiting for me there and I was so glad to meet him after such a long time. I also supposed to very curious to see my bike and stuff but honestly I didn’t go to visit my bike till next day. I was there and the desire I had to see my bike was already over even though still I haven’t seen it. That’s amazing how to finish a desire to reach a wish and how it would be after achieving. It is always the same and after we achieve our wishes then it is already gone !! that’s why I try to do not have a wish and just following my dream which would never end and will never take me to a certain point, it is all about just being on the way to achieve and there is not any point to approach or reach.
my first few days in Nanjing were just about to adopt to the weather which was so hot and humid and also time difference.
I stayed there 3 days and a full day I just spent to wash all my bags, cloths, shows and bicycle. It was under lots of dirt, dust and oil.
also it needed some repairs too. But I had everything there nad I was ready to move.
There was 1100km to Beijing and I decided to make it in 8 days to be in certain time there and have enough time to spend there for my visa procedure and visiting the city.
as always the very first day is not an early morning day for me and I usually leave around 9-10.
I was so glad, I was riding Bamboo and feeling the same as it was 4 years ago. It was great to have my own bike back again and of course to have it run smoothly. I had no farther fear for broken spokes as I had in Europe. ( in Europe I had almost one out of 5 days ) which was quite hard and tiring.
After 3 months I was cycling again, it wasn’t that easy of course and my bum was hurting. For the first day I decided to cycle just 100km and no more but I would have more 7 days each day 150km which could be quite hard.
cycling in a very hot and humid day was not that easy and I was sweating a lot. I just kept cycling till evening and then I saw a little track getting off from the main road, I followed it and it leaded me to a little village.
There was a guy and I asked him is it possible to put my tent here and he pointed a room. I looked back to see it! Oh NO…it was a room with locked door, but it was very clear how dusty it is inside and I was not so pleased to stay there. After a long time I would prefer to sleep in my tent and I just wanted doing it. So I pointed to that room to be sure if I am mistaken or not ? but he pointed a bit upper this time and he showed me roof top!! NOT that bad then. I walked to the roof top and I saw a very clean and flat area which was just perfect to pitch the tent. So I began to pitch my tent and soon after I had my room.
Now it was time to find some water to take shower. The old man pointed again to a well and he brought me a buckle with a rope.
I pulled out some water and straight away I pure it over my head. It was so fresh and cold and temperature of my body dropped quickly. It was so pleasant and nice.
I climbed the stairs to the roof top to cook some food but the man followed me and he brought me some food. This is Chinese hospitality even if they are quite poor but they are so kind. They never let you alone and they look after you so well. I hope it does not change during the time.
It was a very simple food but a good feeling behind it. Honestly I wanted to have some different food as I was eating Chinese food for some days and needed a bit changes. I opened a trek and eat food but my body still couldn’t take food the temperature was still high in my body and I couldn’t eat.
so I left the food for breakfast and I lied while looking outside at moon. I couldn’t continue looking at moon from inside, so I came outside to see it directly. I was there again, in my tent, following my dream and living joyfully. A huge peace and calmness even in that busy China. The weather was so cool and I could feel the fresh air in my face which was like a treat after a hot day.
finally I went inside again to sleep and I did.
next morning I woke up and of course looking for a toilet,!! it was quite hard to understood an old lady what I am looking for and finally she pointed somewhere outside in the field! Where I could have an open one.
back to the road again and cycling again, another day, the second one and it was hot again. during the day I went inside a shop to buy a drink which I saw a group of people playing card. There was a beautiful light and just a perfect place to take some pictures. I began to shoot some pictures and it was a way to communicate with them as well.
It happens a lot to me in China which I went to a shop to buy a drink and they didn’t accept money !! That’s exactly the way people do in Iran with a foreigner. The similar culture between Iran and China makes everything so easy for me and I really feel comfortable. Here people are so hospitable and kind and they offer you food, drinks and they just don’t let you alone and the look after you so well.
I cycled 136km that day and again needed to camp. It was dark totally and I should pass a big city before I camp. Then there was a little path leading me to a village. A light caught my attention and I went to the door and after the guy came out because of the noise I made! I asked him whether I am allowed to camp in front of their house? Kindly he said yes and of course after I camped they invited me to their house for dinner. He could speak a bit of English and it made everything much easier.
Again I needed to take shower and again taking water from a well but this time with hand pump. It was cold and fresh and joyful of course.
In the morning they invited me to have breakfast with them but honestly I needed some little space for myself and have some not Chinese food for breakfast! So I try to refuse but I saw he is willing and he likes to show me the taste! I accepted and I tried some but returning to my tent to have some extra, some muesli.
Another day began! It was mid autumn festival and fire cracker everywhere. Chinese culture is so tight to fire cracker and they use it for any reason! From born a baby to funeral, in every circumstances they use it in a very exaggerated way! Which is of course a part of culture and I knew it, so I should be careful to have a place to camp that night which is a bit far from big communities, so I could have some quiet time then.
It was totally dark again and I cycled 30 min at dark which is not that good in China with lots of traffic. Then I went off the main road and I found a corn field which was already wiped off from harvest. I called the guy from the house next to that field to inform him which I am going to camp there, he kindly said ok !! and it was the only word we would understand both.
again I needed a shower, and I asked him! I showed him by all my body what I need and he directed me to big buckle and he filled it with water again from well but this time with electric pump. I was developing then. It was so fresh and cold and I took shower next to a little space they keep pigs. ( I hope I didn’t splash much water on pigs!!)
then I moved inside my tent to make a coffee…the guy showed up with a plastic bag of food and some sweets. I knew they were quite poor and still they were taking care of me in that beautiful way! I was surprised even though I couldn’t eat the food as it was totally away from my taste but the sweetness of their action was nurturing me, which was so pleasant and it is a way I never feel lonely while traveling.
Next day in the morning after I started cycling I had a bit sore between my legs but I kept cycling for 156km that day, I was pushing myself and it was a good feeling.
after 4 days of cycling I needed a better place to stay at night and a bit of comfort, also I just received some donation! So I could afford to stay in hotel that night.
after I arrived to the town at night I was searching for a hotel and I found a nice one with air condition which means I could have a cold and pleasant night to sleep.
I was absolutely tired but still I needed to wash all my cloths, prepare my radio report and answer my emails which took me a long time.
I had a smooth night and next day I was feeling such a pain in my legs because of sore I had.
I began to cycle and within 3:30 hours of cycling I could seat on saddle just 30 minutes and 3 hours just standing which made me so tired. It was so hard and I could not continue but still 100km to go..
at around 12 I was passing a little village with a lot of people who were working on the streets on their harvest of corn. Some cleaning, some pilling the skin and some packing. It was so lively and almost every body was working in that village. It was a nice place to have a little rest while taking pictures, so I turned inside the village and I began to take pictures.
an old lady took my attention and I began taking picture of her and then she invited me to her house to have a tea and of course later they loaded me with some fruits and they asked me to have lunch with them.
such a nice place to stay overnight and experience their life!! So I asked either I can stay at night there or not or they kindly accepted.
they offered me a room and then I changed my cloths and became a part of their family for a few hours.
at night we went to a gym to play some pingpong and to see my Chinese friend training box.
after such a lovely night there in the morning I began to cycle again and I had a big hope for my legs to be fine but it was totally wrong!! Still so much pain and still I couldn’t sit on saddle.
I decided to take a train to Beijing and have rest there and instead of cycling there, I could cycle a bit north into mountain where I could see at least some beautiful nature. I was kind of fed up with that busy road with a lot of traffic and dust. I really needed some nature.
I called Eve, my Swiss friend who I was going to stay with her in Beijing to ask if it is ok to arrive a day earlier and she kindly said yes.
Then it was time to find a way to get there to Beijing, so first I should get into a town and the first one was Taian.
I went there and I had no idea how to get to train station and it was also hard to communicate with people as so few people understand English. The only was was to find internet and find out through google map. I asked a shop and they offered me to use internet in their office and then kindly they printed out a map to show me how to get there and we could communicate through google translate..thanks to google!!
I went to train station but they said that I cant take bike with me neither bus!! Things were getting hard a bit and the only way was to send the bike with cargo and find a train myself.
I went to cargo section and hardly I could understood the lady what I am looking for, she called her daughter and passed the phone to me and I could talk to her daughter to explain what I need actually.
I was planning first to find a place to stay overnight then bring the bike but I was there and it was my only chance doing it with no problem even though I knew how hard it will be after delivering bike to carry all my bags with me!!
anyway I did and then I tried to pack my bags in a way I can carry them on my own.
It was absolutely hard to carry them and then I needed to go and buy a ticket first fro the next day. After I got it then I should find a place to stay and I went to the very first hotel and asked for a room.
Finally I was there inside!! Oh my GOD !! how hard it was. The first step was done but still next day I had to carry it to the train station and then from there to Beijing and I had to wait in Beijing for 7 hours before Eve is free and come to pick me. but I was fine there at that moment and it was the only thing which was important.
I was planning to have a very peaceful day and do nothing but as soon as I sat on my computer I began to work and I continued till 2am. Not having a little rest even in between.
again I packed them well and I carried them to train station. Actually my ticket was from another train station which I should take a bus to get there and then walk a bit to the train!!
but I was there anyway and later on I was in Beijing waiting for my friend who came to railway to pick me and helped me a lot to carry my bags…
I was there in Beijing and I could have some day off and rest and have some peace and quiet time there. So lets enjoy it then…
September 24, 2013