Strange the things you find on the net isnt it…

5000 pounds cash prize… the only big problem is that it is running the wrong way and entry is 3000 pounds… Without bags those distances are not that bad… and with only 100 people in the game hmmmm

So anyway, I am in Chengdu and I am in a very nice hostel eating as much food as possible. the day we got here I must have put 6000 calories down my throat and I was still hungry. The roads here are taking it out of us.. 8 days straight up down, up down. It would appear to be like this all the way south so from struggling in the granny ring to bombing the other side appears to be the way.
In terms of the area… well I would by lying to you if I said Chengdu has taken a special place in my heart. Another huge chinese city (try 13 million people..) lacking any charm as anything old has been ripped down to be replaced with gaudy neon concrete buildings… sigh. My abiding memory of this country will be concrete mixers. From the countryside to the cities they are everywhere. That and seeing old shapers and lathes that have been delivered here from the west. I knew that our tools where being shipped out here but to see them. That really hurt a lot.
A different kind of pain is sure to be experienced by the two welders I saw working in a shop on the way into this city that spilled messily into the road with cardboard welding masks… It defies belief.

Anyway on a lighter note the hostel has been good in that we have met some people who speak english at last. A number of brits here who have reinforced my belief that some people should not be given passports… (”Uruguay isnt that in europe…?” and “****ing hell you cycled here from england, did you have a rucksack on the whole way?” and my favourite “you don’t sound very scouse, you sound german, you speak weird”) and a sense of concern that south east asia is going to be full of, how can i put? well you know what i am thinking dont you..

Other very good news, Martin got a discount off Hilleberg after contacting them for a new tent. Please never buy anything from Vaude, not only do they produce bad equipment they have appalling sales support. Buy Hilleberg and have done with it they really are the best tents in the world..

And D showed up again. The japanese guy who started in Cape Town… Small world no?… Hopefully we can catch up again in Kunming and cycle into Laos together. D went through Tibet from Golmud to Lhasa and then due east. Apparently 30 military wagons where going against him on his way out every day… funny how buddhists need to be watched is it not?
Best not talk of such matters till I am in Laos. However I will mention that there is a very very large statue of Mao on the main square here. there are also huge hanging banners with the hammer and sickle on the way into the city. If somebody could please explain to me how you have the communist flag flying proudly on the way in then having a 50 meter hanging Dior banner within sight of the statue of Mao (along with a mcdonalds and a starbucks…) then I would like to know… the epitome of conspicuous consumption next to a man who.. well Mao is Mao. Cognitive dissonance must be experienced by a large number of people here. Either that or they just go with the program. Best not to ask too many questions eh…

To add on a positive note I have seen another indication of a future trend…

Is a bad example as a number of the ones that are EVERYWHERE here look a lot better… want one? less than 200 american dollars…
You could not make them for 200 dollars if you wanted too? Incredible.
Oh yeah the record so far for number of people on one of these is three grown adults.

tip to self do not post drafts… :)

If anybody can translate what the below is I would like to know… More strange adverts and wall paintings to come when I get the chance to upload them…


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