Friday on the road

Not too much to report today as it took 7 hours to get to Datong.

The breakfast offering before we left was pickled vegetables – a little early for me for the exotica – so I fell back on the hard boiled egg option. I am not sure how long they think it takes to boil an egg but the eggs give the impression that they may have been boiling for some time – may be days!

Initially the road out was busy with steep, tree covered hills on either side. Mostly the traffic moved easily although we did have one traffic jam due to roadworks, the universal cause of traffic hold ups. Eventually we emerged onto a flat plain where there were large fields of sweet corn.

The motorways seem mainly two lanes each way although they were much wider in and around Beijing. Out of town the two lane highways have tolls. Unlike the UK, food at the service stations seems very good. Loos are quite clean in the outer, hand washing area, although the taps do not always work and Mr Dyson is missing a marketing trick! The toilets themselves are mainly of the squatting variety – with all the hazards that usually accompany this mode of approach.

Perhaps in the absence of other observations a comment on our transport might be timely. The truck is reasonably comfortable despite the lack of air conditioning. With all available windows open it is quite cool once you are moving. Like all trucks, the cab is separate from the body – so we are separated from the crew while travelling. Communication is by walkie-talkie telephone.

The layout of the seating is mixed – some seats facing the front, some sideways and there are two sets around tables. There is accommodation for 20 people but we are only 11 so it is quite roomy. I think it could be a bit squashed if it were full.

Datong, where we are staying for two nights, is a large town that used to have a walled old quarter. In what we are beginning to learn is the Chinese style, deciding to smarten up the old area they knocked everything down and have started to rebuild it to look like the old town but it will be new! It now sports a pristine, approximately 20 foot thick, high city wall, complete with watch towers, entrance and exit arches and look out points.

The supper was roast lamb with interesting side dishes.

No pictures today.

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