Bike Tracks

bicycle around the world

Bike Tracks random header image


October 15th, 2000 · No Comments

Hong Kong to Wuzhou

Day 289

One last day of travel took us up the Xun Jiang River to Zhaoquing, where we got on buses to take us an additional 4 hours to the town Of Wuzhou. The ferry ride started very early in the morning from Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong.

The ferry terminal reminded me of an airport, with it’s busy baggage checking and weighing system and all the stores. Apparently the People of the People’s Republic of China enjoy weekend shopping in Hong Kong too, because there were hundreds of passengers waiting for various ferries.

Bikes on the ferry in Hong KongAs we boarded the ferry, we all cheered at the site of our bicycles strapped to the upper deck. It had been 2 long weeks since we had seen them and I for one missed my bike immensely. It gave me a warm comfortable feeling to pick out my bike via the colorful handle bar tape, it was one of a kind!

Our ferry went very fast thru the harbor and up river, passing many ships in the busy port. TheAl and Dean various water vessels gave us a few hints as to what the country would be like next. They were in various stages of neglect and disrepair, all seemed to need a good paint job.

In Zhaoquing we climbed off the ferry and then up a rather steep cliff to the terminal. Our bikes were lifted by crane, set on a flat-bedded lift, then hoisted up the cliff to the terminal. The dock was crowed, mostly with curious Odyssey riders, watching this usual system. We all wanted to get “the picture” as the bikes fell from the crane. It didn’t happen.

Inside the terminal I snapped a few photos, one photo of particular interest was the sign illustrating penalties of traveling through the “Territory” without proper papers. It was a serious offense with stiff penalties. Before I could click the shutter a 3rd time, I was instructed by a uniformed officer, “that’s enough!” So I politely put my camera away. The last thing I want to do is lose my digital camera to China!

Once through customs and immigration, Al the Alien and I waited for the Odyssey trucks to get loaded up with all our gear. It was a mad house, with absolutely no organization. The porters were bringing huge hand trucks with gear 5 foot high and having to zig zag through the crowd. It was an accident waiting to happen. No one is prepared to deal with this large group, as usual we were straining the resources.

While all this is happening, a crowd kept growing. It appeared the word was spreading and people from the town were stopping by to watch the action. The action was us! They milled around and stared at us barbarians. We were Sunday Night Live entertainment.

I’m not absolutely certain, but would guess that our buses were built before I was born. They were still running but dilapidated and very low. As I sat down, I bumped my head on the rack above. Anyone over 5 1/2 feet had to duck in order not to bang their heads on the light fixtures in the ceiling. It was Lilliputanville all over again.

We stopped at a hotel for our rest break. In front of the hotel there was a stand, it was sort of a butcher shop, the only difference being it was a do it yourself type butcher shop, all the animals were live! They were fluffy white chickens with blue faces, ducks, turtles and many varieties of snake. Guess when you are in China, “What’s for dinner” isn’t usually beef!

I am seriously considering vegetarianism.

My fears of our first night’s accommodation in China were for naught. Our hotel room in Wuzhou was far nicer than the one we stayed in Hong Kong. It was a pleasure having an evening in a nice place, I hope all of China will be this way, but I know it won’t.

Tags: Cambodia