I woke up before the sun had had a chance to work its magic on me and the frozen kit. There had been a barking dog during the night so I wanted to get packed up incase I might have been camping where I should not have. I pushed the bike up the steep slope that had concealed me during the night. I was about to wheel out to the main road, cycle a few kms, then find a good spot to cook some breakfast and thaw out. It had dropped to about –15 in the night and my wet boots and socks had frozen.
On my way the family of there that were driving their cattle up the road on foot waved and smiled at me. The seemed relaxed at my presence, the sun was starting to appear of the tree tops and warm things up, so I decided to stay put instead. Soon coffee and porridge were sat in front of me and my socks and boots were drying in the morning sun. I sat on my foam mat bare foot allowing my toes to air and soak up the suns rays. Half way through breakfast the family came over to say hello. They were so smiley and seemed to radiate happiness. Weather it was my presence or their life that was making them happy I did not konw or care. I relished in their good vibes, and we chatted as much as we could in Chinese and sign language. The father said that I should have slept in the small hut on the other side of the road, I tired to explain that it was late when I got here and I was not sure if there was anyone living in the hut and I did not want to wake them. Also I carry a tent and stove so am generally self sufficient. How much was understood I will never know.
They watched me pack up and check over the bike. I was worried I had cracked a rim on the rear wheel, but a clean with a rag and hot water got rid of the ice and mud revealing shiny rims with no cracks. I said goodbye to the family and cycled of down the road, wobbling around as I got used to the snow. As the morning progressed I gathered confidence and as was soon whizzing down hill over the snow and stripping layers of cloths of as the sun rose higher in the sky. My confidence took a knock mid morning when I hit a patch of ice and suddenly found my self being thrown of the bike and doing octopus style forward rolls over the snow. Eventually I stopped in a tangled mess of the snow covered ground. I did a quick mental check and realized that I had fallen of the bike but nothing was sore and as I got up I was relived to find nothing was broken either. I hopped back on the bike and carried on bouncing down the hill. A few hours later a few more falls and one puncture the snow had melted and I had hit tarmac. I was so happy. I took some pictures and pushed on, only 14km to town, a bed and a shower.
I arrived to civilization and lent my bike against a shop wall and celebrated with a coke and some biscuits. A crowd soon gathered around me, but only a few people seemed brave enough to come and talk to me, the rest just stared from a distance. I finished my celebration drink and popped into the hotel next to the shop, No Water! Undeterred I set of into town and found a few more hotels, all cheap but again without water. Eventually some young kids who had been following me and understood what I wanted, helped me to find the one hotel that had a shower and running water. These luxuries came with a 12 pound price tag four times as much as the other places that gave you a bucket to wash with if the water came back on.
The water at my hotel was not due to come on for two hours so I carried all my stuff up to my room and went to go and find some food. I found a small restaurant and was made very welcome by the family that run it. Yhey did not seem to have any of my usual favourites but they suggested I try this big round piece of bread. They assured me it was nice, so I sat down to drink my tea while they heated it up. The bread itself was hollow but inside was a meat stew, it tasted lovely and the top of the loaf was great to dip in the sauce. I finished the whole thing and then went back to the hotel to turn on the taps, hot water came out and I was soon underneath it scrubbing the dirt from my body.
I spent the next two days relaxing in the town, apart from a trip to the monastery there was little to do apart from eat and relax and get ready for the next adventure.