Day 750 – CHINA (GANSU): From Huinishan to Chingning

Today’s distance / ???????: 49.8 miles / 80.2km
Average speed / ????: 8.1mph / 13.1km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 08m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5980mi plus 377mi (?) / 9625km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 645m
Descent / ??: 705m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N35°31′21.30″, E105°44′11.90″

Street-side shoe repair in Huini, Gansu Province, China

Keen Sandals get new rubber on sole in Huini, Gansu Province, China Keen Sandals get new rubber on sole in Huini, Gansu Province, China

The sole repair job on the Keen Sandals near Huini, Gansu Province, China

The day began with a repair job to the Keen Newport H2 sandals that I am using at the moment. I ditched my regular skate shoes in favour of the sandals, as my skate shoes were just too hot to wear in the heat of a Chinese summer.

The only drawback with the Keen sandals are that they are designed for watersports, so have have a very soft, super grippy sole. This sole does not handle foot braking very well, which is understandable. The cure has come by way of some old car tyre rubber, attached with contact adhesive and a few nails. The repair job cost me the equivalent of 0.20 Euros, so even if I end up going through a couple of these repairs a week, I should be OK in China!

The day, like yesterday, was either up or down. Long climbs up valleys, short and sharp, fast descents down the other side. The major pass today was over 2,000m, however I was only starting from about 1,500m.

Climbing pass east of Huini, Gansu Province, China

At one point during a long uphill climb, I stopped at a small watermelon stand for my morning dose of liquids. I bought one watermelon (0.10 Euro/kg) and sat at the small table under their umbrella to eat it. A family also stopped to buy some watermelons, and after a short chat gave me one of the melons they had bought. How generous, I thought, as I contemplated the extra 2kg on my trailer to pull uphill. As I was leaving the watermelon stand however, the watermelon man at the stand gave me yet another melon! I tried to explain that this was all a bit too much weight that I would rather not be pulling, but he would not take no for an answer.

For a while I resented the weight, but further up the road, when there was no one around, and nowhere to buy water, I was a happy chap with two delicious watermelons in my bags.

Chinese generosity can have its (weighty) drawbacks (east of Huini, Gansu Province, China)

Like yesterday, I was feeling strong, powering up the passes. The only things that slowed me were the interesting sights along the way.

Road side stalls approaching Chingning, Gansu Province, China

Pumpkins for sale (0.10 Euro/kg) on roadside near Chingning, Gansu Province, China

And a stretch of wet tar…not nice.

Wet tar on the road near Chingning, Gansu Province, China Wet tar on the road near Chingning, Gansu Province, China

It did not feel like long before I arrived at Chingning, my stop for the night. I checked into a small travel inn there near the east end of town.

A long term resident of the inn was an artist by the name of Zhu An Bing. His ink brush works were astounding. Apparently not only I felt that way either. One of his works had a price tag on it for 20,000RMB (2,000 Euro).

Chinese calligraphy artist Zhu An Bing in Chingning, Gansu Province, China

After chatting with Zhu An Bing for a bit, I went into town for dinner. Upon my return to the inn, it was clear that not all was well.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Robert,” the inn owner said. “You cannot stay at our inn. The police have told us you must stay at another hotel.”

“Well, I cannot afford anything expensive,” I told them.

I ended up being taken to another hotel, and given a cheap 30RMB dorm room bed. All seemed fine, until I went to bed at 9pm and was woken at 10:30pm with three police officers knocking on my door. Before I could get up and dressed, they were in the room.

I made it clear that I was not happy with being barged in on, and shooed them out. I closed the door, got dressed, and let them in again.

They only wanted to check my passport to make sure the details on the registration form I filled out were correct. Hardly worth waking me up for, if you ask me.

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