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Tour de China – Day 7

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

Mile: 398 (at bicycle club meeting)

Today is traditionally a day of rest. However, I did so much talking in Chinese that my brain is fried. All I had to do was be anywhere outside the hotel and entire groups of bicycle club riders would see my meeting pass and come on over to chat, take pictures with me or both. Of course, I typically got asked these questions in the following order:

  1. Where are you from? (America)
  2. Are you a tourist? (No, I’m a student.)
  3. Where? (Hubei, Yichang)
  4. What do you study? (Chinese language)
  5. Your Chinese is very good! (Not at all.)
  6. How long have you studied? (9 months)
  7. Nine months! Incredible! You’re very clever. (Not at all.)
  8. Did you ride a bicycle here or take the train? (Bicycle)
  9. How old are you? (30)
  10. You’re so young! We’re all old people here. (So I see.)

Well, you get the drift. After these questions are answered, the sky is the limit for what I get to chat about. So I try my best and make plenty of mistakes. Once, I realized that I told someone that my bicycle is the one out front with no “table” on it. (I meant to say “seat”. I took the seat into my hotel room.)

So all in all it was a very good day of language practice and meeting people from all over the country. In addition to chatting, we moved into our hotel (the one that looks like the capitol building without the dome). The room is alright. No hot water in the shower, though.

Today is also the Chinese Moon Festival. One of the traditions is to give moon cakes to friends. They are small round shaped pastries filled with red bean curd. Some have compared them to fruit cakes, but I like a good fruit cake. They’re edible and I’m sure there are some out there that I might like.

The day ended with a Chinese opera and theatre performance in front of the hotel. Chinese opera, put rather bluntly, is full of stringed instruments, gongs and whiny voices. After about 30 minutes of it, I tend to get a little distracted. But it’s certainly an experience to try, like the moon cake.

Anyhow, tomorrow the real meetings begin. What adventure awaits!

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