The trip has started, and we are landed in north central China in the coastal city of Qingdao. We will spend a few days assembling the bikes and gear. Hoping to be ready to ride on Monday morning. There will be plenty of work to do, not really a sight seeing trip while Colleen is with us.
What you see above, is in fact Pine’s breakfast on the flight over. It is what is called Congee and it should be said that there are indeed many types and flavours of Congee. It is in essence the Asian version of what a good Scot calls “PORRIDGE”………..although you maynot know i, nor believe me. Congee is made of such grains as Millet,Rice and even beans. To that many things are added depending on region and flavour desired. This is rice Congee with steamed Pork strips, green onions which they eat tons of over here, and a slice of salt cured Tea Egg. Believe me it tastes a lot worse than it looks. I should say that I have had it more often than Pine, and I really dont mind the Congee’s at all, my own favorite is the Pumpkin Congee.
This is taken as we are leaving our home town of Coalinga, we stopped by the Church to get Prayed over and travel mercys. My Pastor is Mike Marley on the left side, Pine, Jeremiah and our youth Pastor Bruce Yeager. Thanks fellows for taking the time to send us off proper in God’s eyes.
So, we began the day with a Durian Pie and coffee, bit of a taste bud assult in my tongues opinion. Let me explain, the pie is a small round pastry covered concoction of maybe 2.5 inch diameter. It arrives to your table with a fruity sweet smell, and combine that with coffee aroma………and your thinking heaven, right. The sweet fades away the instant it is bitten into, and what assails the tongue is a strong Onion/Garlic combined with a course grainy bean curd consistancy. My tongue rolled up like a cheap garage door, knocking solidly up against that punching bag thing at the back of my throat.Those first few words that exited my mouth, were those of a different being or person. Surely, I would not speak insuch phrases………the realization is……..yup,that was me. All this is followed by a distinct gagging reflex,, once that is reswallowed you ask where the nearist confessional is located. And the next bite is worse. Upon recovery you look over at that cup of coffee, it’s enough to cause words of praise to fall from a disbelievers lips……..”thank you God for coffee”.
In China you que/lineup for everything, heck in some ways you even que in your cars while driving in China. So, we are back to getting used to Chinese lineups, thats were you stand in loose assembly waiting to be cut off or be shoved hard enough that nine offenders can slip thru. I really think that queing in China is the birthplace of that now infamous saying- “Stand firm and be a rude American”. A few more days and we will have it mastered me thinks.
Had agreat visit with a computer tech Prof last night on the plane. He was born in Xiamen,China, now teaching at Cal State Northridge. It was interesting to hear his perspective on how US students achieve in comparison to those from out of country. His words not mine, that the more affluent a society becomes the less ambitious each generation becomes. Life eventually becomes so robust and rich within a Nation as a whole that all desire for upward mobility are lost as it pertains to the largest part of the population. Sadly, this has already begun in China.The newer student arrivals do not do so with the same vigor and focus of even just a few short years ago.
It’s now Saturday morning, we will get started putting the bikes together today. Certainly looked like the bike boxes took a severe beating on the trip over. My box was badly torn open so we are all Praying that nothing is missing. There are a fair number of folks who maintain the best method to ship a bike, is within a large clear plastic bag………..seeing the results at hand makes me think I would have had a bag full of bike parts. We might put this notion to the test when Pine ships home frm eastern Europe at the end of the summer. He would like to make it as far as Romania…….we shall see how it all pans out.
Well, we spent the day putting the bikes back together, took a lot longer than we had thought. Several parts got bent and busted during the trip over. We are somewhat jury-rigged as we leave but determined to make it all work. Really un-phappy withthe brand new Son hub and the very questionable wiring method used. It looks to us to be basic poor engineering and not to well thought out – but hey it’s a german manufactured item and they usually excell at well planned items.