It was a fairly uneventful day. We cycled up a hill, stopped for lunch, then cycled up another hill, and stopped for dinner. So instead, we’re going to share some of our experiences of the road. Today was the day I decided that I had to stop getting angry at Chinese drivers. It’s pointless. They just don’t understand. I was swearing loudly at a man who had just passed dangerously close, and he looked back at me confused and slightly hurt because he had no idea why I was angry. ‘Because you just tried to do a high speed triple overtake down a wet hill, you stupid fucker,’ I thought, feeling slightly sorry for him at the same time. It wasn’t his fault really, any other of the pirates driving those three wheeler trucks would have done the same. Nick has had a couple of similar experiences – in Xi’an for example, where somebody pulled out straight in front of him so close that he smacked their window in frustration, or today, where he stopped to slow clap somebody who did the same. In both cases, they waved obliviously back, smiling faces all round. In London he would have been knifed. So the resolution from today is to keep my cool when next faced by the next duel between juggernauts, duking it out to be king if the road. My carefully cultivated selection of bad driving curses and gestures will stay unused, my middle finger will remain resolutely uncurled. A new dawn in Anglo Chinese road-rage is here.
Oh, and we passed our first road sign for Shanghai!
Something did happen today after all, inconveniently after I had written the blog. I learnt to count in Chinese through a drinking game of such beautiful simplicity that I hope to bring it back with me. Look out for it in a drinking den near you soon. It was getting dark and we had rolled off the road to find somewhere to pitch the tent, when we came across a group of guys milling around. It was singles day in China, and these men intended to drown their sorrows with copious quantities of baijiu, accompanied by some delicious duck and mushroom dishes. They very kindly invited us along. As for the game, it went like this. Two people guess a number between five and ten and simultaneously hold out their right hand: if one guesses the total number of fingers correctly, the other drinks. Simple. Watch out London, I’ll take all comers in Chinese.