Every day, I’ve been doing research on the internet and in a resource book I’ve got about the Silk Road countryside we are due to pass through. Today, I’ve discovered that southwest of us is the temple where Lao Tsu wrote the “Tao Te Ching,” and also taught his students by lecturing. We decide to go there on this, our second tour day, instead of following our itinerary, which called for us to go northwest, not to the south. It means we will be thrown a day off our schedule, but we will make up some of this time by not cycling today. Since Tali is unfortunately feeling worse today, this decision makes sense, as I doubt she’s well enough to get on her bike anyway.
Our guide, Jason recalculates our routing by using the Garmin program he has for his cell phone. This makes him much more flexible about changes we decide to make in our schedule. We spend most of the day getting to Lou Guan Tai, and visiting it. There is a calm and peacefulness to rural temple sites like this one that make it easy to forget we are visiting the most populous country in the world! Because they are often high above the surrounding countryside, the air is clean and fresh, much less polluted than the busy cities, with their factories mixed into residential neighborhoods.
On the drive after seeing the temple, there was an adventurous delay on a narrow detour from the main road, when a trimotor hopelessly overloaded with hay, flipped up on its back wheels, blocking the traffic in both directions for almost two hours, until an earthmover came and pushed him out of the way. This detour, wet and muddy, had no guardrail, and a big drop off to the right if we had skidded the wrong way! I got ready to jump out of the van if necessary, but fortunately, all went well.
Qianling is the town we stayed in tonight. Our hotel room is pretty nice (a suite), but noisy from the incessant honking of cars and trucks in the street a few floor below our windows, which are not even airtight, let alone soundproofed.
Hopefully, Tali feels better tomorrow!