Christmas Card from Bangkok

Happy Christmas from Bangkok

Happy Christmas from Bangkok

Happy Christmas from Bangkok, from Bob and Claire and Lucky. P-bear, Lai Lai and Foster send their best wishes from Tucson.

We’ll celebrate by crossing the International Date Line on Christmas Day. Does that mean we get Christmas twice?

Happy Christmas

Claire and Bob Rogers

PS. See a video of us having a look-back at our Shangri-la journey from Bangkok, Christmas Eve day.

Lucky from Angkor Wat

Lucky from Angkor Wat

Lucky from Angkor Wat

We took Zippy to  ride yesterday to some place said Angkor Wat. Claire told it was a  important place. It is made of rocks people carved and piled up to make temples to a bunch of gods.

They have scary demons for gods to fight, or something. There is big snakes, elephants, and too, a crocodile carved into walls, and other stuff too.

There are whole armies fighting and different of their big important gods, including Buddha. I’m can’t know how they remember all these gods, but they must have been important for them to do hard work.

Oh, there are 1876 dancing nymphs carved there too, and Bob took a lot of pictures of them.

We went to several other temples that were just as interesting. Claire says we’re going to more today and tomorrow. I’m getting tired, and Bob wants a nap, but Claire says we’ll only be here once, so we gotta keep up to go.

Zippy and me liked the ride back best. It being dark and we no lights. Bob and Claire pedaled fast. We passed bicycles and tuk tuks and even cars. Then me and Bob talked to a little girl selling postcards while Claire got food.

Bob says they’ll put up some more pictures when he finds something called bandwidth. I don’t know what is, but he always grouches about it.

I having fun!

bye,

Lucky

Meeting the Yangtze

You might wonder why we don’t find better accommodations? The next Bingwan was 84 kilometers, and 1500 meters up the road, a hard all day ride. Sometimes the basics seem awfully nice after a long hard day, with another one waiting.


October 3
Shangri-la is changing as we drop in elevation. The yaks are gone, replaced by mixed breed cows, sheep, goats and donkeys. The high meadows, empty of human habitation, other than seasonal tents, with sparkling air and clear water, have been replaced with terraced fields of crops, villages with substantial houses, roofs filled with drying corn and racks with hay. The people remain friendly and vocal as we pass, our unusual mode of transportation a novelty still.

But there is a change. The prayer flags, stupas and monasteries are fewer, the flags more likely to be tattered and faded, and the architecture increasingly Han and not Tibetan. There have been a few instances of architecture new to us, indicating we are entering an area of more diverse ethnicity. Groups of women walk in brightly decorated dresses and several varieties of head dress.

Today was a nearly perfect cycling day: the road was smooth, and mostly downhill, with just enough cooling upstream breeze. We had a few hills, but none were long. There were friendly people, cute donkeys and goats, spectacular gorge scenery, and all our official interactions at check stations were pleasant. I’m beginning to think we just got a couple of bad eggs, on edge because of the 60th anniversary of Communist China’s founding. The army was even guarding a bridge, complete with sand bagged bunkers, though they seemed relaxed, perhaps because the day, October 1, has come and gone without incident, as far as we know. Unescorted foreigners are still blocked from the Tibetan Autonomous Region, though that was supposed to be lifted this week.

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Videos of our first days on the Tea and Horse Route

So many things go on during our days of pedaling that we thought it would be good to post a video of what we see in an average day so far. This is combined from three days, with lots left out!

Goat to market

Goat on the way to market.

Lucky says he is not ready to comment on this bicycle touring thing, or China. His white is turning gray like us, and everything else here, and the rough roads are taking a toll. He’ll reserve comment until the mountains, soon. I hope the beauty of the high country wins him over, and ends his silence. Claire and I have done this a few times, but it’s all new to Lucky.

The locals in Ya’an make steep uphill signs, raise their eyebrows and exclaim when we tell them where we are going. One man, in elaborate pantomime, told me we should take a bus.

It’s all a bit unnerving, especially the idea of the four kilometer tunnel somewhere ahead, and the rain last night didn’t help. Ah the pleasures of the unknown. It always works out, somehow.