Posts Tagged ‘Zhenyuan’


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


My piss is red! A quick google. The dragon fruit is the culprit. I ate two of them just next to where they were growing. The woman was asleep at her table when I arrived, in the shade under the umbrella, next to the plants. I’m cycling through dragon fruit land!

Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit

The road follows the river, rising above it, then dropping down, only to rise again. Above the river I cycle through dense greenery, in the cool shade, with the cicadas. They are almost deafening, their call rising to a crescendo and then subsiding in waves. I hear the hoot of a bird – unknown to me, but, it sounds tropical. I can just imagine its bright colours and impressive plumage. The hills around me are very pointy, rising steeply from the valley. They are all densely covered in tropical green. The air is humid, and a comfortable temperature in the early 20s. How everything has changed from the barren, cold mountains I have left.

River

River

River

River

Field

Field