Start: Dali, Yunnan, China
End: Diannan, China (Yunnan, still)
Distance: 107 km
Avg: 17.3 k/h
Max: 45 k/h
Total: 8755 km
Total riding days: 96
Riding hours: 1225 - 1850
Well my excuse for lurking 'n' posing in Dali for so long was this: I was waiting for delivery of a parcel. The good people of GoreTex offered to send me a nice warm windstoppery jacket to keep me warm in the mountains.
Monday. Dali Post Office, poste restante section.
Me (in best pidgin-Chinese): Hallo has my parcel arrived yet?
She (behind the counter): Nyet.
(She isn't Russian, but I could have sworn she said nyet. At least her body language said nyet. You know, the not-looking-up, not-interrupting-the-important-bit-of-nail-picking, sort of thing.
Tuesday. Dali Post Office, poste restante section.
Me (in better Chinese, I spent the night before practising with a dictionary): Hallo has my parcel arrived yet?
She (behind the counter): No, we will call your hotel when it arrives.
Me (silently): Yeah right.
Wednesday. Dali Post Office, poste restante section.
Me (cheerily, getting quite fluent at this now): Hallo, has my parcel arrived yet?
She (back in Soviet mode): Nyet.
Me (unfazed): Are you sure?
She (sure): Yes.
Me (still strong): How odd. It was sent over a week ago. Could you perhaps just check for me please, if you're not too busy?
She goes to a desk at the back of the room, and pulls open a drawer the size of a matchbox, inside which, to no great surprise, my jacket, being rather larger than a matchbox, is not.
She (pleased): I've looked, and still nyet.
Me (falling back on the old use-made-up-official-terminology ploy): I wonder if perchance my parcel might inadvertantly have been stored in the Parcels Slightly Larger Than A Matchbox Department?
She (worried): Unlikely.
Me (charming): Unlikely, I agree. But do you think, if you could spare a moment at some point, you could have a quick look?
She fusses through a door, to what I suspect must be the Parcels Slightly Larger Than A Matchbox Department. Moments later, she reappears.
She (shameless): We have a parcel here, we have been waiting several days for it to be collected. Is it yours?
Me (sarcastic, but I doubt she notices): Good gracious me yes I think it might be.
She (more shameless still): That will be 3 yuan storage fee.
So I am now the proud owner of a GoreTex Windstopper jacket. It is, incidentally, several times pinker than the pinkest thing I have ever previously laid eyes on. That, and very warm. I will wear it in solidarity with the Liberal Democrats.