HAVE REACHED SHANGHAI!!
The last run was about 200 km. I was told that there are time restrictions for riding bikes in Shanghai so I was to reach at 20:00 hrs. I thought I could after so many days, sleep late… but the excitement wouldn’t let me! Woke up at 5:30 and lay in bed tossing and turning. Finally got up, studied the maps I had, searched the net for additional information, and a lot of futile stuff. At 9:30 set out to look for a fabrication workshop had to get the mud guard altered and fixed, the weather search for Shanghai predicted rain in the evening -did not want to be caught in a similar situation like last evening.
The first welder I found said he couldn’t do it because as I understood he did not have the right equipment. The next two that I found had shops within a stone’s throw from each other. Surprisingly they were extremely rude and both shouted at me and almost asked me to get out. This was the first time I met such short fused, foul mouthed people in the trip. I was very shocked and upset that both had treated me so badly…so to feel good, I decided they must have had a fight with each other over marital fidelity! Decided to go back to the first one, he seemed nice. I thought if I could even borrow a drill and a hacksaw, then I could do something myself with a bit of wire. This young man I realized was telling me earlier that he could not handle the equipment. Now his seemingly elder brother was there, and they agreed to do the job as per my directions.
It was 13:30 by the time we were done, and a good time to leave. I left the hotel feeling satisfied and confident all was under control and the road today to the capital city HAD to be good.
Well I still had to give my final test in patience …just as I reached the outskirts of the city… my back tyre went flat!! This time I couldn’t help but laugh! This was the ultimate… on the last day last leg!! I wheeled the bike to a truck mechanic’s garage that was the nearest. Two young chaps were busy with a dumper’s engine. They couldn’t do the job… but their mother, who was minding the spare-parts shop, came out and instructed one of them to fetch the right person. Ten minutes later the puncture guy came with his kit and fixed the tyre in 20 minutes flat. The mother then instructed the son to drop me off to ‘sai ya ba’… if the boy had not led me to it, I would have never found it and would have been going around getting frustrated… so there was a silver lining.
Save the first 20 km which was a moonscape, the rest of the road was really satin smooth.
Reached Shanghai at about 20:00 hrs.
The hotel Simon has booked for me is in the suburbs and the ‘Shanghai 0 Km’ is still about 37 km away. A little disappointing, but he has promised to take me there tomorrow evening!