Across Continents

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Eastwards to Wuhan

December 1st, 2010

Cold, penetrating drizzle. Dark. Walked for perhaps half a mile along the street. Clothes shops. Every one of them. Then a bakery. Mostly cakes. I was famished. Been a long day. But I wanted something more substantive. A brief contemplative pause, then continued on. Hopeful but not optimistic.

I’d reached Xiaogan late afternoon. Final stop before the city of Wuhan, the end of the two hundred mile leg from Xiangfan. Reminded me of my first cycle tour, Holyhead to Cardiff along the Lon Las Cymru route six years previously. Similarities mostly confined to distance. Impoverished the final section around Merthyr Tydfil might be, but reckoned it fared quite a bit better than many of the rural settlements I’d seen in China.

Zaoyang. Suizhou. And now Xiaogan. Cities. My overnight stops. And relatively straightforward to get in and out of. Chaotic yes. Of course. But with little climb to contend with each day, progress was swift. Frequently passing ambling electric scooters, the odd motorbike. And each and every bicycle. Edging ever closer to Hong Kong.

Plodded on for another half an hour or so. Quite where I was in Xiaogan I really wasn’t sure. City centres sometimes a bit hit and miss. Sometimes there’d be helpful signs – the likes of "Zaoyang proper" – and I’d learnt the corresponding Chinese characters. But not tonight. Prospects for dinner weren’t looking good.

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