Day 90: Erlian , Running to stand still

A horizontal tear in a strip of toilet paper.
Shredding me softly.

I find that I am most positive after sleep and take from this that I need to sleep more.

Perhaps it is while sleeping that my subconscious does its best work.

Yesterday the stress of leaving Mongolia prematurely, coupled with the intense border crossing, left me feeling absolutely shattered.

Today, however, I feel rested and positive. My initial plans to escape the Chinese winter in South East Asia have been supplanted by a desire to make the most of my existing visa opportunities. I’m ready to rise to the challenge of what, on the face of it, seems like a less than ideal situation.

And taking the path less easy hasn’t been a problem so far. Discomfort, exhaustion, sickness and near-hypothermia have certainly been challenges, but I’ve had help whenever I’ve needed it. People seem to respond favourably when they meet someone who is going above and beyond the ordinary.

I’ve got 47 days to get to Hong Kong and over 4,500 km to cover. How that fits in with getting more sleep, I’m not sure. But, with the universe’s help I’m at least willing to try.

Up in time to cash in my breakfast tickets, I head straight to the dining room. Bright sunlight is checked at the window by ornate golden curtains. Breakfast is DIY and served onto metal plates reminiscent of TV dinners. Divided into sections for different food types, I’m not sure what goes where but I am sure to fill every section. Fried rice, noodles and boiled eggs go in the main section and the satellite sections are filled with a steamed bun, strange soup and several sweet bread treats. As far as breakfasts go it’s pretty damned exciting.

However when the afternoon rolls around, I have a fizzy throat, the runs and a heavy bout of deja vu.

It seems that, in my rush to eat all things Chinese, I’ve forgotten my uncomfortable lesson from eating all things Mongolian. Which was: don’t eat everything all at once, or you’ll have no idea which of the things disagreed with you. Or whether it was in fact the water?

Whatever the cause, I’ve at least learned that resistance is futile. I will need to stay here until the sickness ‘runs’ its course. This means getting intimate with the local rag which, like Mongolia’s, isn’t up to much. It tears into shreds rather than sheets, though mercifully it is softer.

At least the Wi-Fi is fast in the bathroom! I set about resolving my email issues, caused by not having access to Google apps such as Gmail. Forwarding my Gmail accounts to email aliases of domains that I own, I then set up my phone to download emails from my hosting provider. I’m aware that this might be confusing for people who send an email to my Gmail account, only to receive a reply from someone else, but it’s the best I can do for now.

A bit later on I have my second shower here and am disappointed to find that it’s as smelly as the first.

This adds weight to my concerns about the drinking water.

Although it’s blatantly wasteful, I use one-and-a-quarter tubes of the hotel bath foam to try and mask the smell. It works well but then I stay in the shower for longer and end up smelling like sulfur anyway.