Friday, January 13, 2006

Day 133 - Riding to Mengku

Start: Shang Yun, China
End: Mengku, China (around 20 km north of Shuang Jiang)
Distance: 98 km
Time: 7'09"
Avg: 13.7 k/h
Max: 49 k/h
Total: 8034 km
Total riding days: 89
Riding hours: 0845 - 1800

I am very inconsistent in the writing of Chinese place names as one or two words. Would anyone like to expostulate grandly on whether one should write Mengku or Meng Ku? Everyone writes Shanghai, not Shang Hai, but then most people write Hong Kong not Hongkong.

Route notes: a few km gentle up and down on cobbles, then a long cobbled descent, after 20 km reach river at bottom. Road then follows the right bank of the river (ascending it, so river on rhs), unpaved but cobbles give way to hard-pack which, in dry season at least, is much preferable. On 27 km there is a rod going up/left, which maps show going up and over the long way back to Shang Yun. G214 continues gently up river, fording several streams. After 55km, bridge with army checkpost on north side, and perfect new asphalt road, left to Cang Yuan and the Burmese border, straight on up river to Shuang Jiang. Smooth road goes up narrow river valley c. 20km, valley broadens out and becomes bright green and yellow, full of vegetables, in middle of which is town of Shuangjiang, gleaming white tiles. Paved road continues another 20km up river, through a narrow gorge, to Mengku's wide valley.

My 10-kuai accommodation budget gets me a suite tonight, with a sitting room and a partitioned-off bedroom. Very plush.

The day began in Shangyun with the most depraved assault on the sleeping ears it is possible to imagine. The Americans' hard-rock blasting of Norriega in Panama had nothing on this. I think it was the wake-up call for pupils of the school adjacent to my hotel. Unfortunately it is not just the pupils who are roused from their slumbers - everyone within a 50 km radius, the quick, the sick, the dying and the dead, gets the full treatment.

In Shuang Jiang, the sugarcane harvest is in full swing; the buffalo are let into the field afterwards to mop up the straw and other detritus.

1 comment:

  1. 'To join or not to join' the question of Chinese names - I'm no expert on this either, however, I believe according to pinyin (the writing system of Chinese in Romanisation) Putonghua* names are joined together because all the characters (words) together form the name, e.g. the noun ‘Putonghua’ consists of 3 separate characters, 'pu' means ‘all’/‘general’, 'tong' means ‘connect’ (once combined putong means ‘common’) and 'hua' is ‘language’. In Cantonese however names are represented in the English language by the pronunciation of the individual character such as ‘Hong’ and ‘Kong’ thus the famous ‘fragrance harbour’ which is the literal meaning of Hong Kong - a legacy of Canton's colonial past.
    (* the official Chinese language and the lingua franca among all the different dialects in China)

    O dear, didn't mean to sound so serious but if the deffinition of 'bonk' is anything to go by, I think I'm ok.

    mikpiy & Co (the barber next to the chippy)