Made it to Lincang. Left quite late at 0930. Rolled into town at 1615 and straight to the bank to change some money before it closes. All good, cashed up again - Bank of hina seems to be the only one that does foreign exchange. Another tough day of climbing up and over a 2000m+ pass. Was going uphill till 1430 before the downhill started finally. Bigger town this one at about 1500m above sea level. Having a rest day here to recover from tough past days. Wandered around town - I'm still the only white guy - getting lots of stares.

24/03/12 - Rest Day, wander around town, changed oil in rohloff and adjusted brakes, chain tension. Going for late afternoon/night ride around town.

At Shuangjiang, a bigger town this one, middle of nowhere. On the road at 0830 after giving family 10USD for yesterdays hospitality - they wouldn't accept but I wasn't taking no for an answer - these random acts of kindness are the most heart warming and I believe they deserve to be rewarded. To my relief it was an easy day. I was expecting similar mammoth climbs and descents but no - just lightly undulating following the valley floor around the mountains around 900m above sea level. Arrived into town 1445. Set about changing money now as I didn't have enough for food even now. Again, no banks would change my USDs, so I explained that I have passed through all these towns and no one would change my money. The manager found a local that changed enough for me to get to Lincang - where I've been assured they will change money. Funny, I've been hearing this for a while - so we'll see. Anyway, I'm back in a hotel tonight - not really sure if it's any more comfortable than the tent though. The current climate is perfect for camping and it's actually quicker setting up than dragging all my gear up to hotel rooms.

Great road this - G214 - virtually no traffic, superb scenery , winding roads, mammoth climbs and descents - will be following this all the way to Dali.

Still haven't seen another white man! Can I get through China without seeing one? Now that would be an achievement!

Made it to Mengzhe, middle of nowhere China. On the road at 0800. Overnight temperatures are nice and cool now, was 15C when I set off and only reached 22C as it was overcast. First 55km steady climb up to over 1200m above sea level, then smooth and flat as I joined the main drag. Took the backroad again which continued to wind around the mountains. Bitumen was bumpy and slow - couldn't get bike up to 20km/h even downhill! There was a 10km unsealed section which was undergoing roadworks. Negligible traffic. Great scenery. Rolled into town 1445, found accomodation and wandered around town.

Made it to Shangyun, another middle of nowhere small town. Hit the road 0900. Another massive day of climbing and descending - the biggest of the trip so far with almost 1500m ascending and over 1700m descending. Cracked 2000m above sea level too! Magnificent mountain scenery - felt tiny amongst it all.You wouldn't guess riding through here that this place is one of the worlds largest economies and most populous place on earth. Looks alot like Laos with shabby houses, dirt tracks, people in raggety clothes, deserted roads - it's great cycling though! Rolled into town 1700 tired but still OK. I've only got cash now for food so rode around looking for a campsite. Found a deserted shed at outskirts of town, but 2 hobos had taken up residence already so headed back to try my luck in town. Went down an alley off a side street where I found a nice bit of concrete under an awning. A local family were cleaning their harvested poppy seeds nearby so I asked them if I could setup my tent here. They pointed to a nearby hotel and I explained that I didn't have enough money they understood and gave me the OK and began setting up. About a dozen family members gathered around to watch. A couple of policeman showed up too, I thought they were going to move me on, but no they just came for a laugh and didn't say a word. Camping is unknown here and in theory illegal - just like riding a bike through China - go figure. The lady of the house offered me a meal which I didn't refuse. I watched them seperate the poppy seeds from the husk using a couple of pedestal fans. They were putting them in sacks ready to sell to merchants I'm guessing. I helped them move the sacks into a storage room. Went for short stroll through town, we showed each other our photos, watched a bit of  TV before going to sleep around 2100.

At Jinghong now. Big town this one, complete with malls and fast food. On the road at 0845. First 23km continued on backroad. Undulating and winding around the mountains, nice and shady too the last couple of days. Back on the hwy after that, passing through about half a dozen tunnels. The road climbed streadily up to just over 1100 above sea level, then at 56km mark was all steady/undulating downhill into town. Arrived around 1500 and found some accomodation. These bigger towns require you to have a hotel booking which I don't have, but eventually found a place. Went for burn through town in late afternoon/evening. I'm in the quieter part of town - east of the river. Nice promenades on both sides of the river which I rode along. There are bike lanes in town, although not many people riding bikes - most are on electric scooters and motorbikes. Thailand had a culture of single speed/fixie bikes that would appear at dusk with their colourful bikes - not so here. Still haven't come across a foreigner here in China - went to mall where I was sure to find one but no. I did find a supermarket though. There sheer scale of the thing was amazing. About 4 times the size of a woolys back home, spread across 2 levels. There was a dedicated aisle just for oil and another just for soy sauce (another 4 for all other sauces) The seafood section looked like an aquarium, the meat section like a petting zoo, the sweet section like willy wonkers chocolate factory. Such a massive range of products - would take months to try everything only once.  Towns lit up nicely at night with lots of colourful lights. Alot of construction going on too with blocks of apartments going up. No one speaks english here, so just finding an internet cafe is proving challenging. I'm beginning to recognise the chinese characters for hotels and internet cafes though. Phrasebook is proving invaluable.

18/03/12 - Rest Day, wander/ride around town.

I have decided to bypass Kunming - as it is a very large city and the small towns here are big enough for me. I'll be heading north on backroad G214 towards Dali for the next week or so.

At Lancanglahuzu now. Another tough day with over 1000m of climbing and descending. On the road at 0830, up and over 2 big passes - each around 1700m above sea level. Bigger town this one, but surprisingly no bank will change my money. I'm obviously off the beaten tourist trail here. Doesn't seem to friendly either, I had a couple of people refuse to talk to me when I tried. Found accomodation, wandered around town and relaxed. Lots of stares but not many people dare to approach me.

Made it to Meng Xin, small town, middle of nowhere, China. Hit the road 0815. First 40km on hwy (Xiamo hwy) Actually bicycles aren't allowed here but the locals seem to direct me here everytime. Traffic is light and there is 1m shoulder so no issues - apart from the tunnels - I went through about a dozen today, shoulder dissapears and some have plastic bollards in the middle so larger trucks can't get passed me. Most are only a couple of hundred metres long  so I try to get through them as quickly as possible. I reached the town of Mengyuan  where I had some lunch and decided to try the old road. This has steeper grades and winds its way around the mountains, more scenic, local traffic and trucks mainly. Rolled into town 1400. Had some lunch then found some accomodation. Published room rate was 100Y, had a look and offered 40Y which was accepted after I did the old walk out the door trick and they called me back. The power went out for a couple of hours so was unable to access internet. Seems the internet is controlled by government as you need to present ID which is used to logon. Facebook is banned here, everytime I try to logon computer shuts down. Also fitted new chain as old one has stretched/worn out. Also applied some super glue to cracked sidewalls on tyres. Hopefully will get another 1000kms out of them.

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