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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great Wall Bike Ride Dragon Boat Race

Hello everyone. Thanks for dropping in.  I have been pretty busy the last past three weeks or so. Out of that business has come a lot of amazing adventures.  I think you will enjoy them all. So here goes nothing. John i promise I will do my best to keep the grammar sufficient. My brother is a little crazy when it comes to that stuff. It's not my thing. I am sure you already knew that. haha.

The first adventure was to the great city of Beijing to see the Great Wall!  There was some friends here for awhile checking out Xi'an. They blessed me with a fully paid experience to one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.  We took a train there and back. On the way there we had a hard sleeper. Basically there are six beds in a space that is 5ft wide by 8ft high and hardly enough room to fully extend your body. Depending on how tall you are. It was "hard" to sleep. I was by myself with five other Chinese people and one of them snored louder than i can describe. I wanted to hit him with my pillow. So we got to Beijing at like 9 in the morning and headed off in two vans to the Wall. Once we got to the wall we made our way up to the chair lift that took us all the way up to the Wall. The Wall was so incredible and mind boggling.  Over one million people died building this structure that was built to protect people. It's crazy to think about. Definitely was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  The real highlight was getting to luge from the top back down to the bottom.  You get on this sketchy looking plastic sled thingy with one hand brake. So I take off, then realize I got the slow luge cart. That always happens to me. It wouldn't hardly move and I was getting so upset. Then the track got more steep. I started hauling. There was little checkpoints where Chinese guys would stand and make sure you were going slow. At everyone they yelled at me to...who knows what, haha. In America I would have had no excuse but since I truthfully didn't understand them I continued at my wild pace. It was so much fun.  Big thanks to Darren Mcarthy for making it happen. 

Thats the Bagota.

The second adventure was definitely the most challenging. So my friend Aaron from Britain tells me like 3 weeks ago that he and a few friends are going to go on a bike ride out to a village. He tells me in the most convincing way that it is only 60 km, or 37 miles away. I am thinking I could to that, it might be a little challenging but i am up to it. I have never rode over 20 miles at a time. We take off from Xi'an at around eight o'clock on Friday Morning. The plan was to ride there then camp and ride back the next day.  Oh and he said it was flat the whole way there. Shame on you Aaron, haha. Anyways, the first hour was all up hill, slightly. We had rode about 15 miles and we had made it to the base of the Ching Ling Mountains. I was feeling good, not to tired not to hot. We make it to a spot to eat some amazing Chinese street food, haha. No it wasn't bad. We had prob gone 30 miles by now. It should be seven miles away right, no. It ended up being 55 miles.  To anyone who rides seriously that isn't that much. For your average out of shape joe, that is a long ways. It was almost all up hill. My legs were so done. On top of it all I had Aaron, my British friend, who rides 1000 km in six days, telling me to man up. I love you Aaron. Him and another American guy Jake had all the gear on there bikes, and they could have done the ride in half the time. I felt so out of shape.  So we get there and ride up a side road to the Bagota, look it up, It is kind of hard to describe. We end up camping right at the base of it. Sleeping didn't work out so well. With four grown men in a little tent and rocks digging at your back it just doesn't happen.  So the next morning we pack our stuff up hike down and load our bikes.  We stop at a convenience store and get some snacks and water, both necessary.  One kind of scary thing slash blessing that happened on the way back. We were headed down a big hill going probably 23 mph. And some of Aaron's load fell off his bike, and at the time we were drifting so we were all really close together. Definitely a miracle that no one got in a wreck. Most of us didn't have helmets on. We made it home. 105 miles in two days, yikes. When i got home I felt like I was paralyzed. It was rough. I am so glad I went though. So many good memories. There was a lot more little fun details that I had to leave out for time sake, I I will tell you the story sometime if you ask. Thanks Aaron D.
Thats Aaron. Enjoying every second of my suffering.

The last, but not least adventure was a school paid trip to An Kang to watch Dragon Boat races. A city south of Xi'an about 3 and a half hours.  We were told that we would get athletic clothes and shoes for free. Sounded a little fishy. And that we would be able to sit in a dragon boat and have our pictures taken. Sounded like an amazing time. Learn this in life and you will go far. Nothing is ever what it seems.  So we took a bus there and drove through the mountains, literally through them. We went through a tunnel that was prob pushing ten miles. It was so long the Chinese put trees in some scenic spots in the middle, haha. We got there and checked into our hotel. Then they tell us that we have dragon boat practice. Whoa, hold up a tick. Dragon boat practice, they must be joking. Nope, they were shooting us straight. So we walk down to the river and see all the Dragon boats and all the lehi(intense) Chinese guys that were going to row them. We end up having to sit and wait in the scorching heat for about an hour. Then our captain a sixty year old Chinese guy that had smoked a million to many cigarettes, tells us how to row the boat in Chinese. To me it means nothing, just an old guy waving flags and ores around in a crazy way. haha. So we board this boat, about 20 of us. There is a massive drum in the middle that is pounded so the people row together. I was lucky enough to sit right next to it, yay I will be def by the end of this.  We start to row to the beat, well we thought we were doing it right. Our over zealous captain was waving his flags with an intense look in his eye screaming something along the lines of row row row. While he was probably thinking, these pathetic foreigners couldn't tie their own shoes, let alone row this majestic boat. By the time we had rowed a quarter mile upstream and back down he was waving his flag like he was asleep. He had given up on us. I don't blame him. It was hard work.

So the next day we are supposed to lead the boats out in front of a crowd of a few thousand. No big deal, we were doomed.  So we led them out, slow as ever. Then they started blowing off fireworks off all the boats. They were like colored smoke grenades that were falling all around you. You can only imagine. People cheered us on like we were special, they forgot it is never what it seems, haha. So we get forced to the bank in front of all the people, because we couldn't steer our or control our boat, yeah we were pretty pathetic.  So we sit there while they perform up on the stage for awhile. Then all the boats started coming from the other side of the river, as fast as they could. While they were in the middle of the river five or six speed boats came out up stream from the dragon boats and started throwing ducks out there boats.  Then what I thought would happen did happen. Each Dragon boat had two divers with speedo's on. They dove in and caught as many ducks as they could in a frenzy of quacking, flapping, and choking. Once this insanely crazy spectacle was over the boats rowed by the crowd holding the ducks in their hands screaming wild chants. You can't even imagine this. It was so funny.  That was the gist of the trip. And let me tell you it is one I will never forget. I think that is all I had to say. I hope you have enjoyed my stories. Until next time.

1 comment:

  1. Dan! I was laughing so hard reading about the Dragon Boat races!! Imaging your head next to a rattling drum cracked me up. Your Pal, Ryan