Following Red river.
Day 7: 129 km. First thing to do in the morning was to have a coffee. What a fantastic experience it was! Mr. Iik heard that Vietnamese coffee is renown, and now he can say it is with good reason. The coffee is delicately served in two cups, slowly filters from the top pot into the bottom cup where it mixes with melasa. The best coffee he ever had! All that in solemn atmosphere while watching on TV the funeral of a general that fought French in Dien Bien Phu. After the coffee, he went to have his last pho. Great food too! He exchanged what was left of his 2.8 million dongs and then went across the border. The Chinese let him into the country through the passage in the back stage; the entrance through the big stage is not appropriate for someone on a bicycle. The Chinese border town is Hekou(河口), a big town like all Chinese towns. He takes the road that follows Red river, rides through banana plantations and finally arrives in Xinjie, a little crossroad town which is like a plug: traffic that comes from various directions is stuck in the middle of the town in disordered mess of trucks, cars, buses and motorcycles. Thanks to his lightweight concepts (like carrying bicycle over his head) Mr. Iik is out of this traffic mess in few minutes, leaving less fortunate participants to wait in heat and exhausts for hours. After Xinjie the road G326 becomes X102, a road of lesser grade, but much, much better, so Mr. Iik makes fast progress until the wild camp below a viaduct.
Through banana plantations.
Traffic plug in Xinjie.
Day 8: 109 km. After Nansha (南沙)Mr. Iik takes right turn to the north to one of the biggest climbs: 1850 m of altitude gain in 40 km. There's much less water along the road then in Vietnam. The villages are, also unlike in Vietnam, self-centered, houses closed, no restaurants. The region is very industrialized: means dusty and dirty. Entrance into towns is usually accompanied with small traffic chaos and wet mud on the road. And his Achilles's is swollen. He doesn't sound too optimistic today, and it's exactly how he felt.
Beginning of a ...
... climb.
Day 9: 133 km. He spent last night in Jianshui (建水). To start the day with, he orders a big bowl of soup with noodles in a workers restaurant. There are all sorts of things swimming in it, including pieces of liver and a bone with something similar to meat hanging to it. The way out of town is not difficult to find, you just have to ask a few times. With Mr. Iik's cue card, having town names written in Chinese, it's a piece of cake. He rides through Tonghai (通海) and ends the day in Yuxi (玉溪). In the first hotel he was refused, and after five policemen (two in blue and three in black) and a translator came to resolve this big problem, he was advised to check in a five star hotel. In the end he did find something more suitable.
Jianshui. Practicing taiqi in the morning.
Every piece of ground is used to grow vegetables.
Day 10: 119 km. Huh, what a day! He fills his morning energy reserves with a bowl of dumplings. He will need a lot of it this day, as he is about to break his way through dust, dampness and mud. The habit of frequent washing of the truck is disastrous, as it renders the road covered in a layer of black mud and you can imagine what that does to your bike and clothes. Fortunately, the part of the road follows a lake where he can clean himself to a respectable degree. In Anning (宁) he loses way in a labyrinth of new rising suburbs, talks his way out through some minor local roads and roadworks on a highway. He has another puncture. And is refused in another hotel. He's now used to these things and it doesn't bother him any more. A drizzle starts just when he finds a place for the night in a small hotel (a truck stop). 20 yuan for a room and the same for a dinner. It always ends good.
Through dust ...
... and mud ...
... with a smile.

Day 11: 128 km. In the middle of the night he woke and saw a white cloud in a colorless sky. "Maybe it will be clear tomorrow", he thought, but in the morning he sees that it is a cloud coming out of a factory chimney. More peaceful day today, as G320 splits into separate roads for each direction, with a couple of short but dark tunnels.
A village on G320.
Day 12: 121 km. Diarrhea! Iik spent half of the night in the toilet and second half in bed, pondering what to do. In the morning he decides to move on. Before leaving Chuxiong (楚雄), he changes some money in the bank. A very long procedure indeed, so much longer because he left his bike outside the bank, unattended and out of sight. This is one big disadvantage of traveling alone. After 40 flattish kilometers the road starts to rise and asphalt disappears. He notices big increase of traffic, it's like a rush hour. He soon discovers the reason: portion of the highway that was running in parallel was closed for repair, so all of the traffic moved to Iik's road, lifting clouds of dust. A Chinese cycling comrade, that Iik met in this leg, wasn't satisfied either: "Bu hao" was his comment. Mr. Iik couldn't agree more, it was "the bu-ist hao", "buissimo hao". He enjoyed the revenge on the downhill part, where he overtook all the cars he met earlier, the cars being stuck in a long queue, waiting for the entrance to the highway. 90 km before Dali he sees a hotel and bargains down the price to 60 yuan.
New residential blocks are springing up everywhere
- is new baby-boom expected?
Stone works are in high demand.
Day 13: 103 km. At dawn he listens to a mystical rite: a short accordion sound followed by a lonely shriek, everything repeating for an hour. Finally an enjoyable day, with two climbs and two descends on decent roads and in fine weather. Across the restaurant where he had a lunch stop was a swine stable and the pigs were having a loud parliamentary debate. Mr. Iik thought at first that it was too annoying, and wanted to leave, but then he listened more carefully to what pigs had to say, and eventually found that quite bearable, even soothing as a background music of a meditation session. He made an early stop in Dali (大理). He tried to make an international phone call, but after inquiring at the hotel and in the police station, he realized it was a task reserved for only a few privileged ones. He was even refused in an internet cafe, and he couldn't pass the security procedure to connect to his personal e-mail at the receptionist's computer. The informational blockade in China was almost perfect. Or was he just the last living mastodon, travelling the world without a cell phone, GPS, computer or i-something?
Waiting for a lunch (across a swine stable).

Day 14: 98 km. Diarrhea returned last night! In much worse form. Mr. Iik doesn't feel quite well in the morning, but still chooses to carry on toward Lijiang (丽江). He had to make around 10, not very pleasant "pit-stops", until he finds a rest in a hotel 98 km from Dali. Toilet attacks followed to the evening, when he finally concludes that it is time to consult a doctor. On his way to the hospital he stops at the pharmacy and after a mime session on the subject of diarrhea, he gets  two boxes of pills administered. He spends another night making innumerable excursions between the toilet and the bed, where he lies with cramp attacks, sweating and wondering what to do. He wouldn't be surprised if he lost two kilos that night. The disease was sucking water out of  his body; in the morning his legs looked like two stilts. He decides to end the tour.
Fishing boat.

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