Monday, 28 September 2009
Thankfully it did not cause a resurrection of the Great Watermelon Controversy that raged for weeks between Hua and the others – which are the sweetest and so on ad infinitum – I did not previously appreciate that it was a fruit that could raise such high emotions – or is it a fruit? According to Hua it is not.
He was looking very perky after a short day walking, so we should be able to step up the mileage again pretty quickly. Here he is with Hua above a bend in the Huang He near Shapatou, to the west of Zhongwei, and still in Ningxia province. This is probably the last sight we will have of the great yellow river that we have followed for so long.
Hua on Bajiu – yes the little crumbling remnant at the top of the bluff is the Great Wall!
Having problems accessing my blog at the moment, so posts may be erratic – I am now having to e-mail text home.
Every so often we have the luxury of a shower. Some of the larger truck stops have shower rooms, and the photo below shows one of the grander ones, although the shower heads here were in fact taps! But who cares when the water is hot. Unfortunately at this premises the door to the shower room was only a curtain - as I did not want to give the truckers a nasty shock, Li May had to stand guard.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
So yesterday afternoon was spent sneaker fitting and we are now all padding softly along the road. Above is Bajiu being fitted - the guy in the orange helmet (was Bajiu really that bad!) turned up from nowhere and pitched in - apparently he was some sort of lay farrier of which there are a lot in China - happily he seemed to know what he was about.
Here is the finished product on Bajiu. They may look rough and ready, but the horses feel happy and comfortable. There is some overlap on Bajiu's set as he has a tendency to drag his toes and we were concerned about the wear on the front of his hooves - one of the reasons we opted to change to rubber - hopefully this will help solve the problem.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
However we have also had quite a bit of rain. The day before yesterday we had to abandon riding after only 11kms due to the wind and rain, though Peng found us a very clean and comfortable fish restaurant to take refuge in and spend the night. And this is supposed to be a desert area!
We are grazing the horses as much as possible as Peng is worried the hay supplies will not last a couple of weeks until we can pick up more in Yinchuan. However, if the worst comes to the worst, we can always buy maize stalks.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Yesterday we were filmed by local TV crossing the landmark Huang He - holding up the traffic on the busy bridge. Mr Jiang is deputy director of a big new stud farm to the south of the river, and we were accompanied there on horseback, riding along an earth track on a bund across the flood plain in the morning. Sunflowers, maize and a lot of beekeeping - one of our party was stung!
We stopped at a little town for lunch with Mr Jiang and the mayor, and then rode on through the sweltering countryside to rendevous with a posse of stable lads who escorted us across grassland and alfalfa to the magnificent new 'Brother Win' stud of which they are inordinately proud - both horses and humans are in 4 star accomodation so we were all able to indulge in hot showers again!
We are soon setting off to start riding westwards between the Huang He and the Ordos desert - just a short hop today to set us up for a longer day on Thursday. Li Jing has rejoined us - he is not fully recovered but able to ride sedately.