Posts Tagged ‘De’an’


The high passes follow each other without a break in between. Climb 500m, drop 500m, then directly up 600m, then down. I stopped early in Ning’er leaving the next 600m climb for tomorrow – opting for an afternoon siesta instead.

The mountains

The mountains

The silence of the high plains has been replaced by crickets, cicadas and birds. The yaks have been replaced by water buffalo. The mountains have been replaced by.. mountains. I am inching forward towards the Laos border. My displacement each day from the day before looks small to me on the map, but I know what climbs have been conquered. This will not be a fast dash.

Water buffalo

Water buffalo


An imaginary line circles the globe at 23.43724 degrees north – where the sun reaches directly overhead on mid-summer day. I crossed this line today, and am now officially in the tropics.

On the Tropic of Cancer

On the Tropic of Cancer

I am on the couch out the front of the little shop in the tiny village. The sun is shining brightly, and I sit in the shade, devouring my ice-creams. Inside, in the gloom, the television is running – a daytime soap – in Chinese. The drama and suspense oozes from the television as the breathless woman’s voice pleads with her handsome lover. The music adds to the suspense, as I listen from outside. The little old woman who sold me the ice-creams watches inside with bated breath. Outside, the village is peaceful. The sun is all-powerful. Nothing moves. Then, a motorbike pulls up. The boy buys some cigarettes and then rides off into the glare. I study the map.
The woman taps me on the shoulder. She hands me a big chunk of gingerbread cake. She smiles and nods as I thank her with my eyes. In her eyes I see her inner peace and her kindness. ‘Good on ya, lad. This is for you!’

The up-and-down cycling was interspersed with stops in the villages. One village was fruit gorging time. A few dragon fruit, pears, apples and grapes. One village was ice-creams. One village was real food. It is slow going – it is never flat, and often quite steep. It is beautiful, though, cycling through this mountainous, tropical landscape.

The morning mist lifts

The morning mist lifts

River

River

The valley

The valley