Friday, 23 September 2016

The Shit that goes Wrong/Bad Shit #2

Shit that goes Wrong/Bad Shit. Part 2.

I’ve updated the title of this series. Mostly because shit doesn’t always go wrong, but sometimes bad shit just happens, - it’s a nuanced distinction but one I think is necessary - and, partly because the distinction gives me more crap/shit to waffle about. In my mind that’s always a good thing, often to the abject sorrow of others.

So once again, just to keep people up to date, (a bit like a “previously, on Shit that goes Wrong) this piece is about Shit that goes Wrong/Bad Shit, Meltdowns, and People who are Gas Tickets Altogether.

Shit that goes Wrong/Bad Shit.  The crux of this episode of Shit that goes Wrong/Bad Shit was written in terms of absolute irony in order to mitigate imaginative disgust overload!



Preamble: written without irony (Irony OFF)

Cycling for days through endless desert has its ups and downs, and very few lefts and rights (sorry). It seems like chronically slow progress, most of the time, mostly because the scenery changes based on the speed the clouds are moving. Sometimes there aren’t even any clouds! Then it just feels like a 10 hour spinning class on a balcony in Dundrum.  Luckily, being the imaginative folk we are, we kept ourselves entertained through those long days by playing; guess the road kill, who smelled the road kill first, or truck-or-bus (an ingenious game where you have to guess if there’s a truck or a bus coming behind you based on its engine and horn sound).  The unchanging countryside is especially unchanging in China where the landscapes towards the west are immense in size, and apparently on a clear day you can see your own backside at the end of some of the straighter roads. I could only see pain, and the sand that was blowing in our faces with the brutal headwind!

Crossing Northern China

We camped only a few times in China as the camping potential wasn’t the best due to the 1.4 billion people living, working, and farming everywhere - except for the desert which was either bloody hot or bloody cold, windy, baron, and mostly quite inhospitable. Also, accommodation was cheap as chips. So were sunglasses incidentally. You can get polarised Ray Bans that just haven’t been RayBanized with a logo, for 2 Dollars. But I can feel an irrelevant, fugue state of waffle about to consume me so I’m gonna take a deep breath and get right back on track here…. Shit that goes Wrong/Bad Shit.

Desert Camping

 After about 2 weeks of fairly relentless desert cycling we arrived at the border to the Xinjiang province. This area is unfortunately most known for the continuing tension and conflict that exists between the Han Chinese and Uighur populations, the latter wanting independence from China. For us, however, it marked the, delight filled, very last stretch of the unendingly massive cycle across China! So we decided we’d stay somewhere relatively decent. i.e. we’d spend more than a fiver on it! We couldn’t seem to find much in the bizarre, bustling truck-stop area we cycled into just at the police-border checkpoint. So we settled for a place that looked like it also had a decent restaurant. After food we were shown to our windowless room in the pits of what turned out to be an utter hell hole!

From here on this story is written in terms of complete and absolute irony for the sake of your safety/sanity. (Irony ON)

We glided down the salubrious hallway of the palatial accommodation to our room, which despite having no windows, was extravagantly decorated. It felt almost like we had walked into an alpine meadow on a warm summer’s eve. And luckily it didn’t smell at all, not even one iota! Fabulous. As we slowly unpacked what we needed and prepared for bed, in our entirely bug free room by the way, we reminisced on some of the more awful places we had stayed and felt a calm graciousness descend upon us: how lucky we were to have found this oasis of purity and comfort. 

A visual feeling of our wonderful accommodation

During the night I awoke and needed to use the toilet. A number two, don’t you know, chortle, chortle. What a pleasant experience it was, and in such a lovely, spacious, well ventilated environment. I left, on a cloud of flowers and summer winds which carried me back into the comfort of sleep's serenity.

Dreams of beautiful horses galloping through open meadows induced by the fragrances of the room

A little later we awoke, simultaneously to our delight, to a wonderful fragrance wafting through the room. It was almost as if Mr. Muscle had lifted us from our slumber with a Glade, Alpine Fresh, Sense and Spray. Wonderful. As we blinked our bleary eyes into focus on the waking world, we realised that, in their absolute competence and attention to detail, the guesthouse had built a beautiful, crystal clear, stream like, water feature right into our accommodation.  It sprung straight from the freshest depths of the spacious environment which I alluded to earlier, and ran like the purest brook across the glade like floor of our beautiful abode. Splendid.

Wonderfully fresh water pouring through a well designed water feature


Needless to say we slept like babies for the rest of the night and awoke to a feeling of alert freshness that one could only equate to sleeping under the stars on a warm summer’s night in paradise.

The stars under which we slept.


In fact the amazing night’s sleep precipitated No.2 (or number 19 if you're actually counting down) on The Meltdown Countdown 2016!


Meltdown #19 for Stef (Irony OFF)

“What the fuck is that smell”, blurted Stef, as she sprung out of bed, to the most horrendous, apoplexy inducing stench that might ever have existed!

It must be understood that at 4am in a busy truck stop that has kindly accommodated you and your overloaded bikes, there aren’t too many options for an upgrade. So, we were essentially trapped in Satan’s armpit, in a weird Mad Max outpost in the boonies of a desert in Western China. Also, the room initially didn’t look quite as bad as it eventually smelled. And, the Bug Liberation Organisation only really began their operations once the lights were out.

Anyway, in reality the entire escapade caused a double meltdown as neither of us could realistically handle the face-melting stench. But, in order to keep the meltdown countdown balanced I’m gonna give this one to Stef as I truly believe that hers was a far superior meltdown which included way more desperate expletives.

This meltdown was the inevitable result of tiredness, heat, and the X factor of the, apparently completely un-plumbed toilet, in a giant bug-republic of a windowless death-stench room. Not wonderful! And did I mention the stench! Oooohhhhhhh god the stench.

Moving swiftly along, the next section, People who are Gas Tickets Altogether, will be relatively short this week…

People who are Gas Tickets Altogether. (The Fountain of Irony)

The young lad who pleasantly greeted us at the desk of the death-stench room hotel: "Of course sir, we have a lovely room for you and your wife!"

Some ticket you are, buddy!