Our Guide had kittens...over the unis

This is a Unicon report of sorts, I’l propadly churn out a few of these over the
next few days. No particular oder to them tho. This one is about our sight
seeing trip to Chengde after Unicon.

Only seven riders took the Chengde bus, it would have been six, but Barry failed
to find a train ticket and decided to join us in the Midi bus. With 20 seats the
bus just about fitted 7 unicycists and all our baggage in, we had been told the
air con was " not working" so stocked up on water and opened all the windows
before we left the hotel. I don’t think the bus had ever had air con to start
with, but we bowled along the happily with a warm breze keeping us company.

Once we left the fumes of Beijing and started to get a glimpse of rural China
the trip seemed to more Foreign than Unicon had been. This was really China, not
just a gym somewhere that could have been Bracknell.

We gawped at the over loaded bikes, marveled at the mountains and got really
excited when we spotted some more of the great wall. Then we headed trough a
tunnel and realy arived in THE MOUNTAINS. We also arrived at a toll booth, a
road side snack stall and the worst toilets I met all trip. The ladies was worse
than the gents, and the boys all looked quesy after their vist. For the strong
stomached only , think hole in floor draining to field, floor liberally covered
in dubious substances, paper, stains and maggots. I can’t describe the smell.

At this piont our driver was kicking the bus wheels in a suspisious way. 5
Minutes later we were pulling into a tiny tyre workshop in the village of Mytunm
( I think thats the sp). With 30 mintues to kill as a trye was patched we dug
out the unis and some juggling stuff and much to the amazement of the local
Police amused our selves. Mytunm is a one industry town, its Police station is
huge and it has lots of furniture shops ( well OK, it has two furniture shops in
a village less than half a mile long).

Tyre fixed we drove on, the views were stunning, the overtaking hair raising,
the Bang as the tyre blow apart scarey. Same tyre, huge hole, no village in
sight. We helped change the wheel and the driver took us slowly to the next
little tyre shop with an air line to put some pressure in the spare.

Eventuly we got to Chengde in the dark, rather late, very hungry and a bit
narked to find the hotel expecting two compleate strangers to share a room.
Eventully got me a room seperate from the boys, no offence guys , but I don’t
know you well enough. Nice Hotel tho, 3 real stars ( as opposed to the Unicon
hotels 2 pretend stars). Ate like pigs and set off to find a bar.

Chengde has one of the strangest pedestrian crossings i’ve ever met. The bar was
on the other side of it, so we crossed , looking in five directions at once as
the zebra stipes met and crossed other zebra stipes and meandered across about 8
lanes of traffic with a mid stream direction change and traffic lights that
don’t apply to bikes. Good beer then to sleep.

An early start he next day saw our Guide, the plesent but utterly girlie Yung,
meet her first unicycles. She nearly had the colly wobbles and informed us we
couldn’t take them into any temples or the mountain resort. So we left our
wheels in the bus ( still no spare tyre) and set off to see real monks and fake
Tibeten temples. Resisting hard we were persauded into one shop before she got
the message that shopping was not a thing we did. Then we visted the mountain
resort and managed to turn her 1 hour tour into a two hour meander with ice
cream stops. Nice muesum tho, and easy to take it in with a guide who really
knew her history. Royal families are paronoid and the ones who built this place
were no exception. Mean While Barry had done his own thing and taken his uni
into all the temples and the mountain resort…

Insisting that we wanted to ride around town, rather than “do” another tourist
spot we hit the road mid afternoon. Six mad foreigners on unicycles caused a few
heads to turn, and a few pedi cab riders to wobble alarmingly.

Next day we visted Hammer Rock, folowing our uni experience the first day, we
played it cool and only insisted on taking one muni up the chair lift with us "
for Photos" as we told Yung. " No ride, No ride " she said, " path very narrow,
big drop" Sounded great. So I shared my chair lift with Robert and a muni, then
pushed it up a whole load more steps before reaching the fabled " spot for
making scenic photoing". Here leo and I got on the muni for few photos and Yung
started to look very worried. Hammer rock is a big lump of rock perched onto of
a hill, its looks like a volcanic plug that got left behind Somewhat phalic and
very very big its rumored that touching the rock will make you live to 130 years
old, my Muni should last a long time now, as it had its picture taken with
several people, wheel bumping the rock.

On the way down Robert and I experimented with riding a uni whilst on a chair
lift, now Yung was having kittens, we were totaly mad in her eyes, and she had
the nightmare task of not losing any of us. I’ve never seen a guide so releived
to get her charges back on the bus.

Our return road trip to Biejing was less eventfull than the outward one, the
tyre mender had luckily gone home from work before we got to Mytunm, thus
depriving us of a ring-side veiw of a punch up with our driver. Most ly we
dozed and ate jelly beans, till we reached our ( wait for it) 4 star hotel in
Beijing ( for one night only). Best of all Didi was waiting for us, we took her
out for diner and a few beers on bar street. A very pleasent way to round off
our vist to China.


RE: Our Guide had kittens…over the unis

That was great! Thanks for writing, especially about a part of China most of us
didn’t get to see. Your descriptions were superb. I could almost taste, smell
and sweat it!

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone http://www.unicycling.com

“China put the ‘K’ in quality.” - Woody Hooten, USA Team member, commenting on
his experiences in China for UNICON X