Bei Dai He, 01/10/2005 at 23:00
Day 11: Chengde – Yingshouing, Ugliest City so far
This morning we saw another extreme example of cultural differences in the restaurant at breakfast. 30-40 Chinese who all chewed their food and drank their drinks or rice pudding – all with their mouths open. The noise was quite incredible! Roads were in general very bad today with holes, bumps, not to mention a missing bridge where we had instead to go via a very muddy path to cross the river. We went through several tunnels as well, which is slightly unpleasant. Imagine that you are very small and have a very small light in a several hundred meters long tunnel, and a HUGE truck is coming at you – honking. You get the picture…
At a certain point we really doubted whether we were on the right track. This is not so funny when the maps are undetailed and you have another 70 kilometers to go. We just did not need any additional kilometers on this day, which was extremely warm. We found the right way, though, and about half way enjoyed a very nice lunch at a by-the-road family restaurant. At the end they just wanted to make pictures of us, and didn’t want to charge us for eating. Towards the end of the day the beautiful country-side scenery changed into grim, industrial surroundings and we ended up in the coal mining mess of Yingshouing. We have never seen so many things being so black in one place, and felt actually most like staying the evening inside the hotel. You can’t imagine how black everything in such a town is – even the smell was black.