We were hoping there would be no repeat of the night before and managed to get onto the expressway pretty quickly. And the toll gates were unmanned.
It’s the May Day long weekend, so all the toll collectors have been given the time off, so no one collects them. Interesting concept. As we had 700k on toll roads we were particularly pleased for this little gift from the Chinese People.
Plus, the mountains had evaporated. The landscape was as flat as Flanders. Rice paddies were all full of water and crops sprouting across the horizon.
As the morning wore on, the traffic built up and became more problematic. If you move to overtake a slow truck someone will be coming from behind faster, pull into the kerbside lane and try to beat you around the truck. You drive with one hand on the horn to blast those that continually try to make incursions into your lane and safe space, and always ready to hit the brakes. Unfortunately with the distance we had to travel we were always pushing the speed limit and on alert for the local mavericks. Luckily we all came through unscathed, but all had near missed. I am not sure what we have install for the next few days as we head towards Shanghai and the remainder of the long weekend.
Jingdezhen is the centre of pottery and ceramics in China, and probably the world for that matter. They have been using the local clay for hundreds, if not thousands of years and I understand that the original name of the town was corrupted many centuries ago to China to mean porcelain for this town.
It’s a pretty, thriving town, with wide streets and promenades, especially down near the river. Fireworks are being let off spasmodically and I expect we will hear more of that in the days to come.
As we wander the streets after dinner, the locals pay no attention to us. They have clearly seen Europeans before and some even speak English.
The other noticeable factor is that as we march east the sun is rising earlier. When we crossed the border from Laos we were lucky to see it before 0700, but now its bright at 0530. As China is on one time zone from east to west. So in Shanghai and Beijing, we will be up even earlier, but not sure what it will be like when we get to Horgas on the western border.
Tomorrow we visit one of the porcelain studios with some potter friends of Tony who live and work here for part of the year.
I understand there were a couple of articles in today’s Financial Review about our group. I have not seen them yet as internet access it up to its normal standards.