To see all the pictures from this leg of the journey, plus previous sections, click here
The street before the rains
My day off in Macau was, quite literally, a washout. Waking to the sound of an argument in the room next to mine, I headed outside in search of a hot morning beverage. Within seconds I was in retreat, the heavens well and truly opening directly over the Rua de Felicidades (Street of Happiness.) No matter, there was a relatively comfortable bed back inside that I’d just vacated, and if I was quick it would still be warm. So I got back under the covers and went to sleep. There's no rules against going soft once in a while...
The universality of pictures!
From Dongxing I made my way east through the relatively small suburban sprawl of the city. The place was dead – locals were still enjoying the benefits of a national holiday. Officialy, the Chinese New Year had begun a few days ago, but it would be the start of the next week before the populace would recommence working duties. The country was essentially on pause mode, a bizarre experience in vast metropolis spaces. The soundtrack to my departure therefore was provided not by teeming streets animated by business and recreation; rather occasional firecrackers would explode erratically in some unseen part of the city sounding for all the world like machine gun fire. All in all, it was a rather unsettling morning experience, and so I was relieved to make it into the safety and seclusion of the countryside.
Ah, the old lapse into blogging delays! A quick update for a start, to keep you all informed. Firstly, I am now in China! I crossed the border from Mong Cai in Vietnam to Dongxing in the PRC. China is, so far, mindblowingly Chinese. By that I mean it instantly felt like China even though I've never been here before - there is an atmosphere that floats in the air like a foreign accent, a gait of the people that is quite unique. That said I haven't been here very long, but even just the scale of things is impressive. Dongxing is very small by Chinese standards, but even so the size and quantity of buildings is a sight to behold. Already I have encountered great hospitality - an elderly gent in the street gave me a map of the Guangxi province, while some giggling girls in a pharmacy managed to call a friend who spoke English and could direct me to a cheap guesthouse. I still, honestly, don't really know where I am, how to get out of here, or which roads I'm allowed on - but I feel positive about it. If everyone is as helpful as the folks here, I'll have no problems.