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August 12th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China (Gansu),China (Ningxia)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 25.6 miles / 41.2km
Average speed / ????: 7.3mph / 11.7km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 3h 30m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 6009mi plus 377mi (?) / 9671km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 570m
Descent / ??: 170m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N35°37′18.6″, E106°07′07.0″

As I was leaving Chingning this morning, I got a spot of rain. The first in a few weeks. According to Mr. Steve, a fellow human-powered traveller, a typical August pattern for eastern China is a dryer spell of weather. This is no good for him where he is in South East Asia however, as all the wet stuff has been pushed his way, it seems!

The rain did not last long however, and I enjoyed the muck and mud as I pushed on into Ningxia Autonomous Region. Standards of living here seems to be noticeably lower than in Gansu Province, as does the standard of the roads. With the exception of the provincial roads in Qinghai Province, this part of China has had the roughest roads so far (still smooth, compared with Texas however!).

Locals sorting the hay out near Chingning, Gansu Province, China

The surrounding landscape still fails to bore me however. Flowers are blooming, produce is ripening, bees are buzzing…the land is alive.

Flower near Chingning along China National Highway 312, Gansu Province, China

Roads long and straight, flanked by pine trees.

Straight gradual uphill east of Chingning on China National Highway 321, Gansu Province, China

I had decided at the beginning of today to make this a short day. A short 50km push to Londe. I made it to Londe at about 2pm, and stopped in at a small inn along the main China National Highway 312 near the bus station.

Longde, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China

The inn was run by a couple, whose son, Haohao (19), happens to be deaf. Haohao is on holiday from school at the moment, and so we were able to chat for most of the remainder of the afternoon. It was an awesome chance for me to practise my Chinese character writing skills…something I haven’t done in a few years since leaving Japan. We would write line by line our questions to each other, and then the answers. They were mostly the same questions I get asked all the time, but it was a thrill to communicate with Haohao. His enthusiasm was infectious. He was stoked to be talking to a foreigner.

Communicating with letters in Longde, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China

“I have never been able to talk to a foreigner before now,” he wrote. “They cannot write Chinese or sign in Chinese, and I cannot write English or sign in English.”

Communicating with letters in Longde, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China Communicating with letters in Longde, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China

With Haohao in Londe, Ningxia Autonomous Region, China

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    Permanent Link     Comments (3)

Comment by Aunty Les — August 15, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | post a comment

What’s with the musical staves behind you in the photo with HaoHao? Do you play the keyboard and the notes write themselves on the staves?

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 16, 2008 @ 3:56 am | post a comment

Aunty Les, Haohao's father is a musician, and the staves are on a blackboard.

Comment by Allen — August 16, 2008 @ 9:45 am | post a comment

This post is all so fantastic that I am not sure I can describe what I am feeling. After all the people you have meet and written about your method of interaction with Hoahao just seems so different yet another great example of what one can experience when the put everything aside and start to view humanity on a personal level. Knowing that the father of this deaf man is a musician just adds to the tail. Is it irony, tragedy or just one more example of how our cards are dealt to us? Any idea of how Hoahao's father took all this?

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