The days spent in the ancient walled city of Pingyao have been fabulous, the traffic-free roads have been silent and relaxed perfect for resting and preparing for the next leg of the journey. The fingers of the wheelman had been crossed that I had finally seen the last of the foul coal dust, but alas this wasn't to be, almost immediately it was back in all its choking glory, sticking and clinging to me as best it could. When the Yellow river arrived I had hoped that in its crossing green pastures would appear of lush crops and scantly clad young maidens tending their oats. Unfortunately, it was more like riding into Dante's inferno of power station ally, the thick smog adding to the dust of the foul city along the poisonous banks of the river. My nose, eyes, and lungs burn as the wheel rolls onward, but finally, the coal starts to lesson and it's just the smog that has to be dealt with now, happily, it keeps the sun off my back, haha, sun I vaguely remember what that looks like. A few days out from Xian the scenery starts to slowly change and scrawny wheat fields start to appear, many of these have already been cut and they now burn off the stubble just to add another mix to the cocktail of smog. The Chinese people have taken up a notch or two the level of curiosity shown in the wheel, constant attention is received in a million stares wherever the tyre rolls. I'm happy to recount though that even in the smallest towns this curiosity comes with nothing but smiles and friendliness. They can drive you mad with all the staring, but its just plain and simple interest. When Xian arrives the magnificent walled center is found after a long hard ride into town, and with the Wheel stashed away in the hostel it's off to see a very special local Army of the Terracotta variety..


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