Rhino Cam #15 – China (Henan & Shandong)

It’s an odd feeling knowing the worst of the hardship of this trip is now behind us. We really don’t quite know what to make of it. There’s certainly a part of us that would quite like to be back in the desert again enjoying the simple life, but we are probably due a change of routine. Once past Xian we started our transition back into the civilized world. Camping was no longer an option due to the fact that every square inch of land was either a city or growing some sort of crop. So we had a bed every night, food and water on tap and even a beer or two at the end of the day. Luxury.

Life certainly got easier in this part of China, but also less interesting. The landscape was bleak with endless coal lorries and wall to wall maize plantations along the Yellow River. We rampaged our way through the hectic city life of modern China but also caught glimpses of a more mellow side of China at dawn and dusk, when people appeared in their thousands to ease away the stresses of the day through a mass dance off. We finished in the delightful town of Qingtao, home of Tsingtao beer and ‘facekinis’. It also happened to coincide with my birthday so we had plenty to celebrate…

The Chinese people have been genuinely lovely. Trust has been a big part of it. Leaving our bikes unattended was never an issue and we always felt that people were more likely to guard our belongings than try and take anything. This seems to be common to all countries outside the western world – petty crime just doesn’t seem on the cards. At the moment we feel much more apprehensive about our safety crossing America or cycling back in the UK than we do out here. Weird. The country is vast though and it seems unbelievable that we have nipped across in just under 40 days. It all seems like a bit of a blur. There’s still so much we haven’t seen though, so a return visit is definitely on the cards.