We woke from our field when three schoolgirls came to shake our tent, keen that we should go to their school and be showed off to their teacher. We politely declined and decided to do some cycling instead, funny that. We went ten kilometres before coming across a pretty little temple we walked around. Another half hour of cycling took us to breakfast, in the sun, of multiple pastries, bean milk drinks, and noodles! The improvement in the weather has been majestic, I cycled in shorts!
We made it into Xinyang in the middle of the afternoon and found a hotel with wifi, conveniently located nice and centrally with respect to the food markets so I might really enjoy my birthday! We decided to take a rest day for said celebrations, did lots of reading, emailing, discovering of small streets and tasted our first roast duck, complete with trimmings. After this amuse-bouche we proceeded to the real business of the evening, that is, of finding a good place to have dinner, as a present from Lisa. After extensive polling of random people on the streets, we ignored their advice and found a grill in the city centre. It turned out to be a DIY affair, where you cook the dishes yourself at the table, which confused us so much that the waitresses did most of the cooking for us. After this, Alex treated me to birthday puddings (we couldn’t find cake) in a pudding joint. We entered, muddled through the menu, then decided to ask whether they had any birthday specials:
Me: ‘so today’s my birthday…’
Cashier: ‘that’s 74 yuan’
Alex handed over the cash. Work before play indeed.