August 21st; 0km; Jiayuguan
Woke up this morning and I wasn’t feeling much better (but not worse either!) so we decided to stop by a pharmacy for some Chinese medicine to try and beat off this cough that’s been creeping up. We packed the bike and checked out of the hotel but as we rode off towards the pharmacy down the street, Amy and I both heard a rattling sound from the rear wheel.
We’ve Got A Screw Loose
The chain guard had had a screw that got loose and fell off at some point yesterday, but other than that we couldn’t find anything looking at it. Luckily there was a CFMoto shop in Jiayuguan so we looked up the address and headed off. Not so lucky though was that the address didn’t seem to exist according to Baidu (Chinese Google), Apple Maps, or Google Maps. All three took us to a coffee shop on a different road that did exist but where there actually was no coffee shop.
The Coffee Shop and Repair Shop That Weren’t There
After about 30-45 minutes of back and forth calls and texts and chatting with a random man who squatted down next to us staring before realizing we could communicate in Chinese, the owner of the shop finally came to where we were to lead us to where we were supposed to be (about 4km from the café that was located somewhere between platform 9 3/4 and Pan’s Labyrinth).
We got there and everyone was very friendly and seemed quite happy to have us as guests. The owner had a few other friends there who also rode motorcycles and while the bike was getting looked at we all went to his office to talk and drink some tea. After about 20 minutes there, we were then invited to lunch nearby.
We walked down the sidewalk to a beer garden themed Chinese restaurant (they had a big tank of beer that made it look like they brewed their own) and had a Dongbei (North East of China) style meal.
The “Decision” To Stay Another NightOver the meal, somehow the group of them managed to convince us to stay another night in Jiayuguan rather than drive off after the bike was fixed. It might have had something to do with them inviting us for dinner at one of the men’s companies, getting a hotel for us, and mentioning something about a local minority dance (that part didn’t end up happening though).
They took us to our hotel after lunch (the bike seemed to be all better) so that we could rest before dinner. The Great Wall Hotel was apparently one of the first hotels in the city and the place where government officials stay (or used to stay) when in town for meetings and conferences. All this really meant is that it had a good reputation but was a bit old.
Dinner At The Cow Factory
Later at around 6 we got picked up by Mr. Liu, the head of the motorcycle shop, and his wife to drive to dinner. The company that we were going to see and eat at turned out to be one of the largest cow husbandry companies in the province, supplying high quality beef to the first tier cities in China. We arrived and were first given a tour of the premises by Mr. Liu who we had met at lunch earlier in the day, met a few other employees as well as the two presidents of the company before sitting down for dinner.
Dinner was relatively traditional Chinese fare, though quite fresh and well prepared including fresh fruit, roasted sheep, some kind of mushroom stew, a flounder like fish, and steamed buns. This dinner, being of a somewhat “official” nature, was of course accompanied by baijiu, a very potent Chinese liquor, the flavor of which can stay with you for hours.
All in all an interesting and unexpected experience. Everyone always seems to be very excited to have us as guests when we pass through an area; it almost can make you feel rude with how hospitable they are, like you might somehow be taking advantage of them.
A few of them, Mr. Li and another motorcycle friend, planned to come by the hotel again in the morning before we left to send us off. The other guy, who was actually a cop that worked inspecting trains bound for Beijing, had a CFMoto motorcycle himself and said he would ride with us to the expressway entrance in the morning before we continued on our way west!