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Tour de China – Day 6

Location: Dengfeng, Henan, China (34.46308°N, 113.04591°E)

Mile: 398 (at bicycle club meeting)No sleeping in with this crew. At 6:30am we were up and going to breakfast before going for a walk. It was clear day, showing off the surrounding mountains, which resembled the Teton mountains in southern Idaho. The guys first wanted to climb up the mountain. So after about 40 minutes of trying to get through the brush, we went back to the main road. We ran across a tourist group getting lessons in Shaolin martial arts in one of the parks at the base of the mountains. Shaolin is a “method of kungfu based on eight postures and five animal forms: dragon, snake, tiger, crane and leopard.” It certainly looked as if they were practicing the eight postures, but I couldn’t tell which was which.

After this, we broke up and I continued walking down the paved road at the base of the mountains until I came across a Shaolin school. The Shaolin kungfu schools are what the area is primarily known for. I took a few pictures of the teen aged boys practicing incredible flips and kicks across a rubber mat laid out in the school courtyard.

Continuing on down the road, I hopped on the back of a common tractor found in China. I call them rotor-tiller tractors. You know the old rotor-tiller with the two powered wheels and long handle. Imagine a larger version of this without the blades (or a snow blower if that’s more helpful) and attach a cart to the back. This is the Chinese rotor-tiller tractor. It’s not only used to till fields (with a plough attached) but also to carry loads of grain/vegetables as well as for general transportation. It also goes slow enough to hop right on the back, which is what I did.

The farmer carried me a little ways up the road and dropped me off near the UNESCO Geopark monument. In 2004, the Songshan mountains surrounding Dengfeng were given this recognition as geological wonder. I also passed by the Songyuan Classical Academy which was built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD). Here Chinese scholars were trained for service in the government. I’m sure we’ll get to visit this during the meeting.

We did register for the meeting today. In our registration packet was: a book listing the attendees of the meeting, artwork and poetry off of the area, some tourist information for Dengfeng, meal tickets, a pass (for getting in the sights), and a jumbo-brim yellow hat with the 13th annual Bicycle Club meeting written on it. In a pinch, the hat might also work as a bonnet.

Well, off to bed for an early start tomorrow!

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