China – towards the South by bike

Km 8222 – Ha Noi, Vietnam
Author: Alex



With 20 traffic deaths per 100.000 people per year, China gets a pretty high score in the world statistic. Is the traffic law „the stronger one is right“ related to the one child policy? Extensive honking (screaming) will get you through? According to this we choose small country roads with little traffic and appreciate the beautiful landscapes and the human encounters. The climate slowly becomes warmer and more humid. All in all it was usually sunny. Although, shortly before entering Vietnam we had three days of pouring tropical rain.



  • After some pleasant cycling days through a fertile, green canyon, we arrive in Xichang. Dawid, our Polish host, receives us like old friends. A person, who seems to bring good nature to perfection.
  • Dawid doesn’t want to be a prisoner of his life. He wants to be able to change his life at all times, if he wants it to be so. No bonds, no obligations. His life philosophy: „The world is my country, the people are my brothers and sisters and being good is my religion.“
  • One evening, as we talk about people and conflicts, he makes a smart comment: „People are not like pieces of a puzzle – they don’t fit together perfectly. Therefore, communication is essential and shall never break away. Communication – only even a hello – helps to ease and solve conflicts.“
  • Besides having deep conversations with Dawid, we spend our time with a little excursion on a motorbike. This ends miserable. With the try to earn money on the streets. Miserable end as well. With a wedding, our visa extension and an interview regarding our life philosophy. After a little „intermezzo“ (= crack of Alex’s back axle) we finally manage to leave Dawid and cycle towards the South.



  • Our way leads us through many villages where especially people of the Yi-minortiy are living. And as destiny wants it, we just happen to be there during the festivities for the Yi New Year (mid November). Just at the side of the road, the big pig slaughter takes place. Cycling is slow enough to experience every single step of the process. Starting with the screaming of the animals, the stab in the throat, the bleeding – from the whole in the throat liters of dark blood flow outside, the prepartion of a little hill made of dried fern, the lighting and burning of the bristles, the scraching off of the left carbonated bristles, the outtaking of the innards and so on. Everything live and in colour. Invisible for anyone standing in front of the plastic wrapped filets in the supermarket and trusting the happy farm picture on the packaging.
  • Sometimes a situation which seems to be annoying at the first glance turns out to be a case of luck: our personal invitation to the house of an Yi extended family (minorities in China are excluded from the one child policy) could only take place, because we needed to go back to Xichang to organize a new back axle. Only that way did we meet Dawid’s friend Lada you gave us his nephew’s phone number. If one door closes in life, another one opens.
  • In Kunming Annie welcomes us with a hug. With her husband Jonathan and their three kids, we will always remember them as the „backpacker family“. We are invited to take part in their active family life and are pretty impressed as the 11-year-old Joany tells us that she has already travelled about 30 countries (most of them during their family gap year). Already now the kids do seem to be prepared quite well for life. Because of the family’s migration history the children have three nationalities (U.S.A., Canada, Taiwan).



  • We have 400km left to reach the Vietnamese border which we cycle quite speedily. An endless downhill through very small jungle villages, sleeping spots in abandoned huts, as well as banana and papaya plantations accompany us to the border town of Hekou.


Here you find recent PICTURES and the ROUTE we took (just click on the respective word)!

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