The Steel Belt of Sichuan

We had been told Panzhihua was an industrial city. We were only at the train station area, outside the city, but it was not aesthetic. No matter, really. Travelling for an extended period allows us to take things as they come, mining towns, hydro dams, factories, and all. It’s not just the post card bits.

09/02/25: to Mi Li 78 km
The last two days have been less than idyllic cycling, but the people have been wonderful. Stopping for lunch on the first day, the kindly woman, who clearly understood some English and could use my phrase book effectively, filled our water bottles with green tea. She also gave us some special yellow flower tea to take with us, insisting it would help us sleep and enhance our vision. We went out to a hot pot restaurant in Mi Li, and the waitresses looked after us, once I’d asked what they recommended ….really my only option. It was our best meal to date in China! Delicious cold fruit soup with rose hips to start. Squid, chicken, and more for the hot pot. As we finished our meal, a man who spoke excellent English came to sit with us. He was the local middle school principal, an the restaurant owner had sent for him to ask whether we’d mind having our photo taken with the owner. We were happy to oblige, as usual. When I asked for the maidan – bill please, the owner said there would be no maidan, that our meal was on the house. We tried to protest, but we were unsuccessful in being allowed to pay.

09/02/26: To Dechang 95 km
Today we made it to Dechang, and have been out for a late supper of BBQ skewers, this and that, followed by some french fries drowned in spicy sauce- a Chinese version of poutine. People are out strolling in a pretty pedestrian area, some kids are very elegantly dressed, and many are whizzing about on a variety of wheeled toys. There are articulated skateboards that you can scull in order to propel yourself forward. I don’t remember ever seeing these in Canada. Will they be the next big thing?

M

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