Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #53

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #53


For this multi-blog update please scroll back to blog #42 and read upwards to here. 

Sorry for falling behind in this blog. I delayed because I missed three or four days walking through Hong Kong and then the first week walking in mainland China. Part of the delay for getting these updates up was because I had hoped to write up the missing ones first but I never did. It's a bit hard to motivate myself to write old stuff. I have the notes so hopefully some day I will!  They are based on my Facebook posts. 

Twenty-one kilometres to the ferry port and then I discovered that my ferry to Taiwan is suspended until the following  Tuesday due to high winds. That's a five day wait. As I planned to take a few days off somewhere in Taiwan to catch up on stuff I waited for it in Pingtan. 
I had an enjoyable time waiting in a nice hotel and playing my music and having a great time! I'm also looking forward to the mouthwatering prospect of watching my team, top of the Premiership... Liverpool take on archrivals Man Utd on Sunday night. Shortly after the final whistle, around 3 am I will walk the seven kilometres to the ferry port.
China is the most difficult country I have ever travelled in. There are so many challenges to getting even the most basic tasks done. For example even the need for a VPN which unblocks blocked websites. I downloaded several VPN's before I entered the country as occasionally they decide not to work. When I get one going it sometimes crashes. Another issue is that I mysteriously have a bad internet signal or no signal at all and there is no point in calling the customer service as nobody speaks English. Another reason why VPN's sometimes don't work is because of that poor data signal. So as you see that's a catch-22 and when a VPN is fully connected I'm told it drags the effective signal strength down further. 
So I went onto the ferry companies website which is obviously in Chinese. I pressed the English translate option and it's a mess! One thing I did pick up is that it doesn't appear to be possible to book a foot passenger ticket online and someone mentioned they may not accept foot passengers. Yet when I was out at the port I was assured by two employees that its possible. I don't believe in worrying about something that may not happen, so its back to the music 😂 🎶🎤🎸🎹🎵
China is one of those places where one needs a lot of time, and of course patience and to be prepared for the unexpected. 
Having said that, I'm afraid that I do not agree with Chris De Burgh here because for peace of mind if I could, I would pay for my ferry ride before I got to the other side. This week my YouTube song of the week is his classic: Don't Pay The Ferryman 😅

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #52

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #52


27,000 kilometres have now been walked. And fittingly that day I walked 27 kilometres 😂🇮🇪
Between my world run and my world walk combined distances, I'm now at 77,000 kilometres. From memory, I think I am 555 kilometres behind the record for the most lifetime verified expedition kilometres on foot. I had been thinking of Christmas Day to claim the record from my fellow world walker friend, a Japanese man called Masahito Yoshida who is taking a bit of a hiatus from the road. At my current pace, it would be a bit of an ask. Possible but why bother and besides  I may need a day or two to sort myself before setting around Taiwan so why push it like that. How about New Years Day 😂
Today I had a bit of hassle trying to find a way across the non-pedestrian bridge to get from whatever island I was on and onto Pingtan island as the bridge is part of a motorway, the S15. In the end, after wasting a couple of hours and making a seven-kilometre round trip from the motorway entrance down to the seafront via route 305. That meant a backtrack (as there was no ferry from where it should have been as indicated on the map) I decided to take my chances and make a run for it on the six-kilometre-long bridge. Those seven kilometres were not claimed in my total for the day. First I had to sneak my way past a toll booth and I did that by waiting until it was dark. Then I took my high viz vest off, turned off my lights and hid about a hundred metres from the booth. When a truck came I ran alongside it and sheltered myself out of view of the toll booth attendant. I wasn't worried about the truck driver giving the game away as I suspect he didn't know I was there as they don't seem to look in their mirrors lol, 😂
As soon as he was done and took off I ran like the clappers alongside the truck until I was out of view of the booth. Then I put on my vest and flashing red light.
The wind was fierce on the bridge, almost gale force and as the edge was only about hip high I had to be careful that I wasn't blown into the East China Sea. I leaned down as far as possible and if necessary I was ready to dive onto the ground on that four-metre hard shoulder. It was a six-lane divided highway, three lanes each way. With less than two kilometres to go a cop car with four officers pulled up. One of them spoke a little English and asked me what I was doing. So I just said I was nearly across and they probably just decided it was easier to escort me the rest of the way than to call out a truck to transport Karma and then do all the paperwork. When I took my phone out and before I could turn on my camera to request a picture he told me to get going. So I did with no photo. Perhaps they were going off duty or rushing off to see a big table tennis match. Either way, I was delighted to complete my crossing without even a passport check. I wouldn't fancy pulling that out on a windy bridge. I ran pretty hard. When I got across the officer suggested that next time I cross that bridge that I take a bus or a car. I noted he did not mention a ferry but I did not want to get into a discussion, I just agreed.
Later I noticed that my Spot tracker hadn't tracked me. I did take a few screenshots of my locations, see photos. Note they are in car mode and not pedestrian mode. That's because pedestrians are not allowed across and the Google man refused to go there, obedient fecker that he is.
I was discussing this bridge with my friend Benjamin in Berlin last week and he joked that the 'Google Man' doesn't want to cross as he is either a coward or is lazy. Then he tried to trick him into the crossing. I wasn't sure how he did that. Did he leave a few German beers there for him on the map, lol, 😂
Personally, I would love to give the Google man a good kick in the arse!
Anyway, I got across and didn't have much to eat all day so I stopped at a burger joint and celebrated 27 thousand with two Pepsis, a burger, fries, a wrap and a small chicken. That meal special was a little over five Euro.
By that time it was almost ten pm and I had no idea where I was staying. I'm near Beicuo Town on Pingtan island. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day I can catch a ferry to Taiwan.
A little later when I ventured out from the burger place I discovered there was a shopping centre adjoining it. So there was little point in tramping further and when I told the burger manager my plan to sleep in a sheltered corner he brought me into a warm indoor area! Thanks, mate. You too are playing your part in helping my world walk for cancer awareness, After all. Life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives www.myworldwalk.com

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #51

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #51


My first book about my world run is titled:  "The Irishman who ran around the world. Part One.- Dublin to Tierra del Fuego."  is now on sale! Well kinda 😂 

(Please see the link on this website to order)  http://www.myworldwalk.com/world-jog-book.html

 Due to so many queries from my friends and supporters I have decided to sell the pdf of my unpublished book as a fundraiser for my world walk. It's still a work in progress and there are many spelling mistakes still to be corrected. It's going to take me a while before I can correct this so the sale is under that condition.

It will be sold for a suggested minimum donation of 20 Euro, (circa US$22, Aus/Nz$30) paid to the Paypal link on either of my websites www.myworldwalk.com or www.theworldjog.com/blog You don't need a PayPal account just a credit or debit card and are welcome to donate whatever you like above the suggested minimum 😂 Thank you so much. Also please leave your email address in the donation comments 

I will use this towards funding my world walk as I have expensive ferries, flights and travel insurance coming up. For each sale/donation, I will make my own donation to a poor person I meet on my global walk. 

It is sold under a condition of trust that it won't be forwarded on willy-nilly. I recommend it being printed out and ideally bound. Then you can give it to your friends or family to read, just like any other book. You can also just read it directly off your mobile phone or laptop. 

I have given it to a few close friends to proofread and their feedback has been encouraging. Note to my American friends. It's written in English - English! I was not aware of so many differences between our different formats, word spellings etc until I started the book!

It has been wonderfully edited by Lindie Naughton who is one of Irelands leading athletics journalists and an author in her own right. As previously mentioned I haven't had time to make her recommended corrections due to me being on the road.

Perhaps you may consider this to be a Christmas read for yourself or the runner or traveller in your life?

The countries I ran across in part one: Ireland, Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. My run distance in this part was just over 25,000 kilometres/almost 16,000 miles. The entire world run was 50,000 kilometres/31,000 miles.

The foreward which Richard Donovan kindly penned is printed below.

Thank you for your kind support!

"The world of extreme sports is often subject to exaggerated claims, making it difficult to decipher the nonsense from the real thing. Make no mistake, Tony Mangan is the real thing.

 In 2007, Tony set an official world record for 48 hours. He ran around a track for two days covering a total distance of 426km, or 10 marathons, more distance indoors than anybody else in history, and beating the world’s top ultra-distance runners in the process. Yet, despite the magnitude of the achievement, it came as no surprise to the ultrarunning fraternity: Tony had already set a 48-hour world record for running on a treadmill and represented Ireland with distinction at both European and World Championships at 24 hours.

Tony had actually become inextricably linked with ultrarunning, it defined his life, and the longer the distance the better he became.

Ultrarunning, the sport of running distances longer than a marathon, certainly has no place for pretenders when it comes to running for days or weeks or months on end. When the body screams to stop, the mental side must somehow override this physical resistance and push on, far beyond the normal levels of physical tolerance. With scarce energy or simply pure exhaustion, it’s not unusual for ultra runners to experience epiphanies of sorts. They question themselves, their reason for running, indeed their raison d’etre, and they must come up with a good answer. In this sport, older runners routinely outperform younger ones, and women are on an equal par with men over vast distances. Ultrarunning is, after all, an endurance sport and not a power sport.

Against this backdrop, and at 53 years of age, Tony Mangan, a former construction worker from Dublin, decided to test the limits of his endurance, indeed the limits of human endurance, by undertaking one of the most audacious modern-day adventures on foot….

 Tony conceived of a global run and in 2010 he made it a reality. Tony’s ‘World Jog’, as he called it with self-deprecating humour, was not merely going to be a run around Planet Earth, it was going to be the longest run in history around the planet, covering 50,000km in all.  The scale of the overall trip was mind-boggling: forty-one countries, five continents, six deserts, numerous mountain ranges.

This book, the first of two on his epic four-year journey, details the Americas. It is a no holds barred, candid account, which gives a remarkable insight into his fears, his doubts, his encounters, and ultimately how he triumphed over distance and adversity. Tony rarely had a support vehicle, running mostly with a backpack or pushing his small cache of necessary items to survive in a cart he called ‘Nirvana’. He ran more than a marathon a day, every day, stayed in remote villages, survived on near subsistence, and yet encountered some of the most wonderful people and acts of kindness along the way. His experiences of extreme temperatures, severe dehydration, potential journey-stopping injuries, and mental and physical exhaustion, are as mind-boggling as the overall geography itself.

Tony is a remarkable man, yet a modest and straightforward man. This book will convince you that anything is possible when you put your mind to it and persevere. Tony is proof."

Richard Donovan is a former Director of the International Association of Ultrarunners. He organises some of the most extreme races on the planet - the North Pole Marathon, Antarctic Ice Marathon, Volcano Marathon and World Marathon Challenge (7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days). He was the first marathoner at both the North and South Poles and holds the current world record for running marathons on all 7 continents at 4 Days 22 hours 3 Minutes. Richard ran 5,000km across North America in 2015 and 3,000km across Europe in 2016. He then followed that up with another 3,000km run across South America in 2017.

Ps Thanks to Amanda Younge for the following review. 
"I was one of the lucky ones who Tony asked to review his first book. It is absolutely gripping. I have read many running books by now but none are quite like this. Tony has found the balance of detail to keep the reader involved and interested as well as being able to imagine the experience for ourselves. I loved hearing first hand how he dealt with the logistical issues and how he overcame obstacles and difficulties (sometimes legal issues, weather-related events, wild animals or simply trying to get a good meal in the right place at the right time at a reasonable price!). You can smell the sea air and feel the gravel beneath your feet as you join Tony on his journey. 

What jumps out too is the passion with which it is written. It's raw and that adds to its charm. I've no doubt it'll fly off the shelves or the laptop or tablet! Best of luck Tony!"

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #50

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #50



6th December and 36 kilometres took me to a small village called Dongyuanzhen which was just off the highway. So many nights on Chinas east coast have been like this. With nowhere suitable to camp due to excessive vegetation, paddy fields, tracks, and urban activity. I just kept walking as hotel accommodation is also not as plentiful in Chinese villages.  When I stopped in a grocery store for some pot noodles the kind people there topped my tub up with some fish and meat pieces. The real reason I stopped there was that across the road I had eyed up a sheltered area with two wooden benches. It would be ideal if I could lay my sleeping bag there for the night. No sooner had I settled down when a motorcycle cop pulled up. I hadn't realised that I was beside the small villages police station! For my explanation, I just referred the nice officer over to my friends in the grocery store and then he returned with two cans of Budweiser for me. I strongly refused but he pulled rank on me, so I stuck them in Karmas pouch. 
Then a stellar 45-kilometre day walking to near Jieshanzhan. Much of that was into a fierce headwind.  The last hour I walked in the dark and on some nice pathways and eventually came out onto the main road. Google Maps told me to walk on what looked like a desolate track. Obviously, I didn't fancy that late at night. What to do. Once again, camping possibilities were pretty crappy so I stopped for refreshment but this time at a restaurant which was conveniently placed at that junction. I asked if I could shelter under a secluded area. The lad that was on duty called his boss and a little later the owner's son came out. He is called Hai bin Xu and he took to my walk with keen interest. We communicated via our translate apps and he asked intelligent questions including how do I promote my cancer awareness message about the need for early cancer screening. Next thing I was given a room for the night. Many restaurants have private rooms with a toilet and are ideal for small private functions. It was there that I slept on my air mattress. I did accept a bowl of soup but not a substantial offer of cash, so large it shocked me, thanks but no thanks. We discussed my route and I planned to walk along the waterfront the next day but my host suggested that was a bad idea as the roads were in a poor state. Whereas I listen to local advice I don't always take it for 'bad road' for a motorist can be a small discomfort for them and pretty minor for me. I pay particular attention when it's suggested that I should walk an extra twenty kilometres for a more comfortable walk! It may seem illogical to some readers that what seems like an endless walk that I should care about such a distance! Well, sometimes I just want to get to my daily destination quicker. It's a bit like.... As much some runners love running marathons, well most of them are glad to see the finish line and wouldn't relish another twenty kilometres.
Setting out the following morning I zoomed in on my map and walked a couple of kilometres along the waterfront. Then I noticed some back roads that took me through a couple of small townships which eventually led to the parallel S306 highway and away from the so-called bad road. I was away in a hack as we would say in Ireland. That was another steady walking day and once again it was into a headwind with so much smog from thrash fires and road construction dust. That night I made it to a nice hotel in a large town called Huangshi which I was able to find with the guidance of a kind soul, bless him. 
Then another 31-kilometre day. It was December 9th and the second anniversary of my brother Brian who died when I was walking here in China.
(China Part one)  two years since I reached the Great Wall of China and I remembered one of the last things he asked me before I started the walk would be if I was going to walk past it. I don't think he saw the picture as his usual cheerful comment was missing. RIP bro. 💚🌷🍀

I'm sure it's getting boring folks, another grocery store veranda to sleep on with little else on the highway. The less daily distance one covers the fewer possibilities one has, be it for food, water or shelter. To me life is so easy, so simple for the 160-kilometre-a-day cyclist with all their possibilities, and so many cyclists say they have it tough, lol 😂
I followed that up with a pleasant 26-kilometre day with most of it walking on backroads. I walked through valleys and along some nice pathways. However, that pleasure was disturbed by the occasional charging vehicle breaking my meditative state of mind. There have been many places in China when I felt I was in somewhere like in County Wicklow, picturesque Sally Gap in Ireland. Instead of the blanket of bog set amidst spectacular views here I often came across rice paddy fields in pristine picture postcard valleys. There have been many days in such locations when I rounded a bend that I walked towards what would be called a city elsewhere, here in China where numbers always astonish they are called villages on my map. We are talking about residential areas in the middle of nowhere, just like the aforementikmentioned Sally Gap and often there are as many as forty or fifty high rise buildings, please see photo and video.

I continued making my way towards a peninsula of islands all interconnected by bridges. Although with the help of my friend Benjamin in Berlin we had done my research for the ferry to Taiwan. Nevertheless, I was becoming a bit concerned when a couple of people said there was no ferry service from Pingtan Island to Taiwan. Did we have old information of a now-defunct service I wondered. If so it would be a few wasted days. Well, walking around this beautiful area is not really a waste... But as I said before that sometimes one may want to get there quicker. 
With all this in mind, I made a fortunate stop at a store near Dongzhu where a man called Qun Chen worked. He speaks a little English and kindly called his brother Hank on Skype in Australia. Hank who speaks really pretty good English works in Sydney as a painter and offered great help with some further route advice and indeed confirmed that my research is accurate. ... And then as a kind afterthought, the two brothers sorted out a bed for me in their father's office for that night! A little later Qun Chen came by with a kettle, coffee, water and even cans of beer! Lately, I have been paying back such hospitality to less fortunate that I meet on the road. 
 Here I was in a small industrial estate. Being remote I started some catching up on my writings and had a pleasant evening blasting my Spotify music. 
I'm meeting the most amazing people.
26,963 kilometres of myworldwalk.com  bliss in 782 wonderful road days. It may take me a couple of days longer than expected to reach Taiwan island as the roads in this part (near the East China Sea) are not great and other issues regarding the ferry timetable etc. I plan to take that ferry from Pingtan island, perhaps Thursday, but I'm not pushed or on a schedule, whatever happens, will happen for a good reason 😂
Please remember that early cancer screening saves lives.

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #49

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #49

Reaching Anhai it was time to start thinking about my beauty sleep. I avoided the bypass and walked through the throbbing town. The first two hotels I tried were mad expensive so I obviously walked on. In the third after I handed over my eleven Euro and passport, I was sent away as my passport was not printed in Chinese and she couldn't be bothered to write my name down in an unfamiliar script. I wondered what my buddy Confucius would have said to her. Perhaps his suggestion would be that: "Its easier to hate than to love. All bad things are easy to achieve and good things are harder to get." So all is forgiven my darling, I love you.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise and no doubt it was my karma being returned as you will soon see. 

I walked on and wondered what to do as I had reached the town limits. While stopping on a traffic island waiting for a break in the traffic (and it was a long wait) I asked a man where I could find accommodation. He pointed me up a road to my right and I got the impression he was talking about a building about five hundred metres away with a red neon light sign flashing. It transpired that this road was another way back into the town I had left and he probably meant for me to go all the way back to the town. Though it was off my route I walked on and reached the building that I assumed the man was talking about. Hesitantly I walked up a ramp thinking I was approaching a factory. Actually, it was a posh restaurant and seemingly without any accommodation. Ah, what to do. I had my eyes fixed on a car port shelter that I could possibly sleep under that night as I didn't want to walk any further. Some of my most solid sleeping has been on my air mattress and tucked up in my sleeping bag. But it was still early and as I had eaten well earlier that day I just sat at a restaurant table sipping on a can of Heineken. I had already broken the ice with the staff and after showing my sleeping under the car port request by way of Google Translate I had been given permission by the manager that I could sleep there. For good measure, I gave him my walking card. I can usually tell when someone is checking out my website from behind a counter as they are usually looking back and forth from something they are reading to their mobile phone or laptop with the occasional glance in my direction. I was just about to order a bowl of soup when he brought me over a few large walnuts and another can of Heineken. A kind-hearted man named is Qilg-He.

Then his waitress served me a stirfry meal and two bowls of meatball, cabbage and beef soup. A little later when the customers had left I was invited over to the staff table for a chat and offered a bed in some accommodation that the restaurant has. One of the men called Kevin speaks decent English so that worked out well. Then there was a big push for me to stay for lunch the next day but as it started at noon I was a bit hesitant as I had to walk across China that day, as you do 😂 I suggested breakfast, they agreed but I sensed their disappointment so then I declared..

"Ah feck it! I can walk across China another day and tomorrow will be a rest day... What would Confucius say to that plan I wondered! Perhaps what he whispered in my ear at the start of my day. "It doesn't matter how slowly you go so long as you don't stop." But here mate, this is so confusing and you are well named. Because I'm stopping, I'm gonna stop for a rest day on Wednesday and everyone will be happy. Everyone except Confucius 😂
Please remember that life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives. 
26,794 kilometres walked in 777 road days

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #48

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #48


Confusing Confucius
I set myself up for a 28-kilometre day in the land of Confucius with a delicious omelette. That's always a tasty culinary change in China. Did Mr C really say that it doesn't matter how slowly you move as long as you don't stop? I know that some of my running friends are now wondering if he was the first tea running coach in history.  Well, I'm guilty on both counts and I'm a slow eater too.
My order was for a four-egg omelette and when the proprietor brought me a one-egg one out I wondered if he was going to bring me out three more and charge me for four breakfasts. Lol, Ah the joys of trying to communicate! It transpired he wanted to check if that's what I had in mind and with a big smiley nod of my head I said it was and I got the rest of my meal on a plate with another plate of lettuce. All that and a mug of boiling water to make my own coffee for a little more than a Euro, or a dollar and a half. As I tackled it I remembered that I recently read a ridiculous article about how a Shanghai fashion awards show was cancelled. It seemed that some Chinese celebrities were offended and screaming racism as the fashion company shot a promo video with people eating pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks! Not sure what they would say of me tackling my omelette with my sticks and I sure hope they didn't see my video of playing the drums with my chopsticks.
Another tough day and for the third day running I had to walk extra distance due to the unforeseen obstacle. No, I'm not whining, just informing! 

This time after meandering along route 201 it suddenly disappeared 😂 Well, actually it was closed for roadworks with a detour onto the much longer route 324. Then I ended up taking some minor roads and actually enjoyed the day feeling light-hearted and even forgave many drivers for their utter rudeness! "Ah, sir you have an important job keeping China moving... Me? I'm just on a walkabout so let me get out of your way 😂 What did my mate Confucius say? " There is beauty in everything, but some people just don't see it." Ah, come back you beautiful pot-bellied rickshaw driver that ran over my water bottle, all is forgiven and I want to give you a massive hug 😂

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #47

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #47


Thirty-one kilometres and I was going to walk on a bit more but it seemed pointless as the next town was focusing on is a similar distance away. Besides Google Maps suggests exciting the main road very soon for a smaller country road. Obviously not knowing that road which could be narrow, dangerous and busy it would perhaps be silly making a start on it with less than an hours daylight 
Thirty kilometres is a nice walking distance as one can still make good monthly progress and at the same time, an early start with a good steady effort on the road and the walker can effectively have a half day. 
Currently, I'm having a great chat with these lads in a convenience store. I went in for a snack and they invited me over to their table when I said I was going to pitch my tent on some grass outside. Thanks to the lads for this great hospitality. Then they invited me to tuck into some delicious food and bevvies. It seems to be a celebration of sorts. I don't drink much but occasionally I let my hair down. In the latter years of my competitive career, I didn't bother and also for my entire world run. Now it's nice to just have the occasional one!


I'm always told that I wear my heart too much on my sleeve. Well I ripped my sleeve off so it's time for a new direction and a new shirt 😂

"You wouldn't like me when I'm angry!" The incredible hulk after the road rage 😂

Two leisurely back-to-back 25 kilometre days since my last update. At that time I mentioned that I camped beside a cluster of shops in a kinda small industrial estate off the highway. When I awoke I got talking to a man called Wang who works for a tree and flower nursery factory and he was so good offering me hot water for my coffee and water to go. When he asked if I needed anything else I said "A shower!" And my wish was granted! That night I found a hotel near Chenyu and yet again as mentioned umpteen times... 'Always ask for a cheaper room than quoted..' I was not going to take a room for twenty euro but they had a secondary hotel next door and it was half price, all be it more basic. But I don't need much to keep me happy! 

A lazy Saturday morning with many stops including getting my wheel straightened and five spokes replaced. This is an ongoing issue as I seem to have to get it done now every six or seven weeks. Remember these carts are not designed for hauling lots of gear and the like, they are for intended for pushing children. I don't think the rims are very strong either. I'm just going to keep it going until I get to America and I will be able to get two new wheels much cheaper there than having them shipped out to me. The guy that did the repairs bless him spent about forty minutes and there was no way he would take money or even a soft drink! I will give his money to the next person I meet that looks like they need it. 

I walked on, December 1, happy birthday to my sister Ann Salmon 💚🌷 Have you seen the surprise video I posted for her in my last post? 

I walked through a couple of towns and didn't find anywhere to sleep as its tough sometimes trying to decipher what's what with so much Chinese scripted signage. To illustrate this let's just say if, for example, I am looking for a dressmaker to add pockets or whatever to a new shirt that all the signage in the world proclaiming that local Chinese dressmaker even if they are world record-holders, or do work for David Beckham, Ivanka Trump or whoever. That's no good to me if I don't see a sewing machine in the environs of their shop!!!

So I walked on further and got to a restaurant near Dongfuzhen and went inside for a beverage at around eight pm. I was going to walk on further but what the heck. The foyer will be a good spot to lay my air mattress. See the last photo. It's a nice mild evening, today was pretty warm.

26,709 kilomeI'mes for 774 road days.
And you know what I'm gonna say??
Life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives.

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #46

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #46


On Monday I walked 33 kilometres and much of it was in the rain as I crossed into Fujian province. 
How does that song go? "Nothing lasts forever, Even cold November rain!"
 A section of national route 234 was closed for roadworks. The resulting detour added several kilometres onto my day.

Sorry for any typos, it's two am and my eyes are closing 😪
Wednesday, 28th November I walked a steady 45-kilometre day to a small residential area just west of Dananban Town on Chinas National Route G324.
I left Waishuangshan in the morning rush hour accompanied by drizzle. Correction's its always rush hour in China. Electric bicycles, motorcycles and scooters routinely cut inside me at short notice. This is a relatively new problem for the foot traveller as they approach without any engine sound warning, except for when they press their horns. This is something I can't seem to get used to, the horn is constantly pressed for almost no reason. Sometimes they do this for preventive reasons, just in case anyone dares venture out onto an empty road and God forbid disrupts that persons progress. Other times horn blaring is a kinda of friendly 'I'm behind ya buddy, just to let you know.' type of warning. The ones I don't have any time for are the aggressive get out of my way types. Often they are going down the wrong side of the road or on a footpath and believe the honk of a horn gives them preferential treatment, right of way. Sorry mate, that's when I put on my best Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry expression! Make my day punk! Just about every bike and car goes for the quickest and tightest gap and almost never pauses to go around the back of me at a junction. Some of these have gotten too close for comfort and I've had a couple of taps to Karmas front wheel after their dangerous maneuvers. There are at least twenty times a day that I'm sharply cut off. The inference is that I should stop even when I have the right of way.
I can't remember a single time in all of my China travels in which I have had an apology, it's pretty rude, to be honest. However, one nice man, bless him, came down the road after me and asked me to breakfast with him but alas I was already a couple of kilometres past his house. 

I got lost in Yunaxio town for about two extra kilometre and didn't count that distance into my total. That happened because there was a massive bend  (see map photo) and I just walked straight on. When I spotted a burger joint and I went in and accidently returned to the main route via a longer way.
A couple of weeks ago I misplaced my red flashing light and when I tried buying a new one here the bicycle shops didn't know what I was talking about, just proves that safety is a low priority. I won't let any Chinese person lecture me on health and safety either when they tell me I'm walking on the 'wrong side' of the road as I insist on walking toward traffic and not with the madness to my back as per law. Luckily I found my flashing light again which was stuck in a corner of one of my bags. I asked my sister to send me one out here as she just mailed me a box of goodies for Christmas. I'm sure this lamp was made in China. Imagine I have to import my own one into China lol! 😂
I needed the red flasher urgently today as I had a problem when I came to a tunnel, about 600 metres long. It was two-lane and luckily one-way. This was scary as the narrow path was too narrow to accompany me and Karma, my cart. Which way to go.Towards the traffic or in front and brazenly hold them up? This decision always depends on circumstances. This time I ran towards traffic and of course there was overtaking inside the tunnel and all kinds of crazy stuff. There were times I was geniunly concerned as I waved traffic away with my precious red flashing light. A few times I had to jump up on the narrow path and hope Karma didn't get smashed but thankfully I was spotted by the drivers who steered away in time. I thought it prudent to move in front of her to avoid being hit by any resulting debris, just in case. 
My research told me that Taiwan which is a mountainois island could be similar. Please see map. Thanks to Benjamin from Berlin for this and helping out with my research. Because of this I will more than likely walk Taiwan with a backpack and leave Karma with my kind contact there, an American English language teacher called Tony Durben. Another reason for backpacking it is that I may not be allowed to push her, especially if there are complaints from drivers. I had similar issues when I walked New Zealand. There it was because of narrow bridges and I also ended up backpacking it.
More on that soon as I still have to finalise my route which will be in the region of 1,000 kilometres. 
Today, I also decided to honour a special friend called Jen who celebrated her 40th birthday today by walking 40 kms for her! When I got to km 40 there was nowhere to stay, so I walked on five more and I joked that I had aged her that amount! Hope you had a nice day Jen!
Upon arriving in this town I found a hotel but to be honest the guy was ripping me off and charging twice what his squallor dollar place normally rents for. Had it been lashing raining outside I would have stayed but I got irritated when first I was told to store Karma in an outside shed that didn't look secure. For some reason he didn't want her in the downstairs which was spacious. Instead as there was no elevator I was asked to carry her upstairs. In the end I just got my money back and walked on. Sometimes one has to make a stand. 
It was almost 9.30pm and luckily I didn't have to go far as I stopped for a snack at a grocery store and the nice people suggested I could sleep in their car garage, see photo. So I did just that and rolled out my airmatress and sleeping bag. As you can see from another  photo I made a cup of tea using my beverage heater. It's small, lightweight and handy for situations like this or in hotels where there is no kettle... And especially heating up water for a splash shower if it's a cold water shower!  
Yawn, time for bed! A long and enjoyable day!
Please remember that life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives. www.myworldwalk.com

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #45

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #45


Thanksgiving Thursday I walked a solid 35 kilometres and finished in a residential area called Zhaiyicun. Passing by a school just as the children were getting out I found myself surrounded by dozens of students on bicycles and bedlam ensued when they cycled up the wrong way of a dual carriageway with me once again playing pied piper. You may have seen the videos earlier. Here are the photos. Finally managed to walk out of their range and towards a large spread out city called Jieyang. Going down one avenue it looked like I was walking towards a tunnel but it was a small forest of trees with long branches spread across the avenue. I laughed when I saw a man strap a heavy washing machine on to the back of his 125cc motorcycle, see photos. Earlier I saw a child seat with a child attached to the handlebars of a motorcycle. I was too slow to photograph this.

Eventually,  I  made my way through the city and found a hotel with a huge room for ten Euro equivalent.
26,450 kilometres for 766 road days.
PS my Spot tracker device didn't update today. Anyone who wants to see my tracked locations please click on the orange Spot link on my worldwalk.com
Please remember that early cancer screening saves lives.

Black Friday, 31 kilometres. Sunny Saturday 36. Today, Slothy Sunday zero kilometres. I did what I sometimes do when I find a nice comfortable place - as I did just south of Qiandong on Chinas national route G234... I did nothing, nada, zilch and just ate pot noodles. 
Omg I would walk a long way for lovely big steak, or a tasty serving of fish n chips or even a bag of Tayto, Yum Yum 😂
I enjoyed every moment listening to my Spotify music and also a few podcasts 😂 
It was an inspired decision as later in the day it rained!

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #44

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #44


Next morning the kind family who own a restaurant let me stay for the night in their  spare cabin gave me a traditional pork porridge breakfast while we had an interesting Google Translate conversation. The woman mentioned a local man who left it too late to go for treatment when he suspected he had cancer. He eventually went and is also using traditional Chinese medical treatment. We spoke into the microphone and Google gave back the appropriate translation via script and audio.
they told me via Google Translate that they met ten years ago in Sichuan province and got married soon after. Life seems to be comfortable for they now have three children, the youngest being just five months old. They then set up the restaurant and work a small adjacent hobby farm. We spent the evening watching children cartoons followed by a great movie based on the Marvel comic heroes called The Adventurers. 
When I was leaving they asked.. "So are you going to Taiwan by car?" Many people just don't get the walk even after long conversations 😂
My reply was.. "No, why would I do that because Taiwan is ONLY three weeks walk away and Shanghai is ONLY three months walk away!" Lol 😂🍀💚
Please remember my cancer awareness message: Life is precious and early cancer screening saves lives.
That day I walked 37 kilometres. 


Thirty-six kilometres the next day and all of it on routes G324/and 236. 

What I try to do when I receive kindness like this in poor countries is to give it back to someone who needs it more than I do. This way everyone is happy. 

 Normally I hand a similar amount of cash to the amount I saved from kindness to a poor person that I meet on the road. This to me is the best way to accepting hospitality in a poor country. Yes, I, know that not everyone is poor here and without diminishing their wonderful kindness it was just a spare bed and what would have been left over food from their restaurant. So it's not like I was freeloading and the way I see it is that when I help someone out who is less fortunate than myself or my hosts, then everyone is happy. The man I helped out today was seriously down on his luck. He was going through trash cans and was pretty ragged for one trouser leg was torn off. I have done this many many times in China and interestingly their reaction is almost identical for they usually just look at me with a bewildered stare and never utter a word or a smile. I say this not that I expect their gratitude, for I'm only too happy to help in my own tiny way, it's just strange that their reaction is always so predictable. 

Interestingly much of the scaffolding material used on construction sites in China and South-East Asia is made from bamboo trees as the poles are so strong they are a cheap replacement for expensive metal erections. 

 That night I got to a grocery store along the highway and went inside for some noodles which the owner kindly added boiling water to. When asked where I was going to sleep I asked if I could lay my air mattress and sleeping bag down in a secluded sheltered corner outside the shop. Thankfully they allowed me to lay my weary body there for the night.

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #43

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #43


My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #43
Another day I clipped along Chinas busy route G324 in eastern Guangdong province. I stopped at a store for snacks and watched a piece of a Chinese movie and marvelled at how when they shoot movies here that they make the roads out to be almost like a spin through Beverley Hills and all so civilised! In the movies one never sees a passenger bus pulling out in front of an oil tanker or playing chicken with a speeding truck. Or overtaking in the inside and in the hard shoulder where pedestrians, bicycles and small motorcycles are. Or coming down the highway on the wrong side 😂 I mentioned before that pedestrians are legally bound to walk with traffic to their back. What tosh! I want to see what bedlam is coming towards me as I don't have eyes in the back of my head. Only Indian drivers are worse! When it comes to dangerous driving Indians are in a super league of their own!
Anyway, I managed 31 km of this madness and made it to a small town called Ketang. The first hotel I went to had the cheapest room advertised as €30 and that was not an option. However, I showed my prepared Chinese screenshot requesting the cheapest room and I was pleasantly surprised when I was offered one at a quarter of that rate as it was a small room with just a 1.2-metre bed. That did the trick and when I brought Karma up to the second floor in the elevator as I always try to do and it was a huge effort to wiggle her in as the room was kind of a small cutoff. The room was just a small space between the elevator and the wall and when I want to go into the shower or out the door I have to step over Karma. I figured this room is probably only rented out when the hotel is full or if someone requests it. As mentioned in previous blogs, always ask for a cheaper room even in expensive places  No problem as all I wanted was a bed and a shower. Another day sorted. Current temperatures are a pleasant 25C.

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #42-A

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #42-A

 

This page is published blank so I can go back and add a few details later....Stay Tuned! & Check Back!

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #42

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #42



Sorry for falling behind in this blog. I delayed because I missed three or four days walking through Hong Kong and then the first week walking in mainland China. Part of the delay for getting these updates up was because I had hoped to write up the missing ones first but I never did. It's a bit hard to motivate myself to write old stuff. I have the notes so hopefully some day I will! 

My world walk blog/ China Part 2/ blog #42

I reached the town of Jilong and achieved another important requirement for the World Runners Association. 
The WRA who provide the most credible rules and guidelines for a circumnavigation of the world. They stipulate that the minimum distance for a world walk or a world run be 26,232 kilometres. What this actually means is that had I not chosen a long route that I would have been at Dublin's suburbs right now 😂
Then I walked on and due to my late start and many stops I had only amassed only 27 kilometres by dusk. Stopping at a restaurant which I figured might have accommodation attached I went in for a refreshment. No sooner had I sat down when the friendly owners invited me over to have a meal with them. I had a nice Google Translate chat with the people and one of the men took a keen interest in my walk for he translated my cancer awareness world walk message card with his translate app.
I was told there was a basic room upstairs and after I paid the lowest rate so far, (€2.50/about $3) they insisted upon refunding me and strongly refused my dinner payment. Such lovely people. Thank you all so much. 💚🍀

Monday, November 5, 2018

My World Walk Blog/ China Part Two #41

My World Walk Blog/ China Part Two #41


Please read from #34 up which was the first in this latest series of blog updates.

This morning I planned to leave but I left packing my bags too late.
Shag it! I think I will leave on Tuesday instead of today......it's another day when you are walking around the world 😂🍀
Life is for Livin' and not Rehearsin' Time waits for nobody. So throw away the watch and go and clock out from crap 😂
Yesterday was a busy albeit a pleasant day being a gentleman! For I had not just one but two dates with beautiful blonde women! Hahaha no I didn't pick them up they are my loyal followers, so I guess I got stalked and picked up by them.. As I said I was a gentleman, except for my eyes, lol! Ah! Never stop dreaming Tony 😂
A brunch date at the Hong Kong Football Club with the sexy drop dead lady called Maria and also a coffee date at Pacific Coffee with the equally delightful Amber! Ah it doesn't rain but it pours 😂
When I leave Hong Kong for the China mainland, I will leave with a with a tear in my eye. Thanks to a multitude of people for great chats, help and lots of madness.
Last Thursday after the great time I had at the Irish Consul Generals party I went along and also had a super-duper evening in Hong Kongs McSorley's Irish pub in downtown Soho. And yes I still had my bag of laundry under my arm that I had taken out to the Irish Consul Generals party in his posh oceanside penthouse pad 😂 Reason being that I hadn't been back to my backpacker's hostel. Anyone that doesn't know what I'm talking about missed a great laugh, click below to read
That night in McSorley's it was the monthly meeting of the St Patricks Irish Club who meet there for music and fun on the first Thursday of each month. Timing is everything. Thanks to everyone there, especially to the managers Emma, Paul and also to Kevin and Sasha.
Next morning after getting up early I made my way to the Irish Consulate for their monthly continental breakfast and social chat with some of the Irish community. I'm told there are 5,000 Irish citizens living in Hong Kong, Luckily not all were present, only a hardcore of about twenty Irish which included a handful of 'proud of their Irish heritage' people. I continue to hand our my world walk cards with the message encouraging people to be screened early for cancer, as early cancer screening saves lives.
Once again I met up with the Consul General David Costello and also the Vice Consul, Rory Lawlor. They are minding Karma for me during my stay in the city. I'm grateful for this, as it was not realistic for me to take my cart to my accommodation as just about every living space in Hong Kong, is tiny. My own hostel is up on the eleventh floor of a high rise building and only has two chairs in the common area. That was a bit of pain as I enjoy talking to other backpackers so much. It seemed we had to socialise in shifts! With so much cramped conditions one notices a lot of sliding doors to consolidate precious space.
When I'm stopping in a city for a prolonged period I prefer to stay in such a place. If it's just a day or two, I enjoy my own company in a cheap hotel. In this crowded and cramped city which is home to 7 and a half million people, Hong Kong as mentioned before is an autonomous territory and a former British colony in southeastern China. It is situated on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary. It's also a vibrant,  densely populated urban centre which is a major port and global financial hub. With a skyscraper-studded skyline, it has more skyscrapers than anywhere else on earth. Squaring up at 1,104-square-kilometres Hong Kong is the world's fourth-most-densely-populated region.
I have noticed that Google Maps doesn't work well here, it seems to be a bit out of sync and often when I'm following in the GPS mode that I have already passed a junction when my navigation aid tells me to take a turn. I'm not sure if this is because of so many skyscrapers blocking the signal or the fact that Google Maps is blocked in neighbouring mainland China and this is bordering it. Perhaps a combination of both.
With so many active people walking about and to make my way through any street is like walking up Dublin's Grafton Street on Christmas week. This is obviously a challenge for the cities planners and engineers. These people have come up with some novel ideas for chocker-block zones including overhead walking ramps which are effectively streets on stilts above streets. Some of these are about a kilometre long and they take people off the streets down below. One way not to get knocked over or to find yourself inadvertently doing a pedestrian dance is to just step on a moving escalator belt. One man told me the worlds longest such belt is here and measures a kilometre.
While in Hong Kong I got my wonderful Keen walking sandals reheeled. Cost about twenty Euro. Yes, expensive I know but they needed to be done and are almost as good as a new pair. Let's hope the glue stays strong. I have gotten all the way from Bangkok in them, about 2,500 kilometres. There is still a lot of sole wear so I'm hoping to do this again at least a couple more times. Pretty soon the winter will be on the way and I won't be wearing them. Current temperatures are in the region of 26C. That's a drop of about six in the last month and it has made for ideal walking conditions. I have been on the lookout for affordable winter wear. Top of the list was a warm and waterproof jacket which cost about three hundred Euro here in an outdoors shop. So that was out of the question. Ten minutes later I was in what looked like a charity store but someone suggested it could have been a factory outlets shop selling new but slightly flawed goods at a knockdown price. I was delighted when I picked up a warm waterproof windbreaker coat which still had the tags attached for about thirty Euro. In addition, I picked up a warm fleece top which was also as cheap as chips.
That evening I popped along to McSorleys Irish bar and once again I was Guinnessed and dined for the whole night by the Irish patrons. One of them an airline pilot called Stephen Clancy generously made a donation to my world walk fund which effectively covered my five nights in the backpacker's hostel I'm staying at! Thanks a million, Stephen. 😂

My world walk blog China Part Two/Hong Kong # 40

My world walk blog China Part Two/Hong Kong # 40


Thanks to David Costello the Irish Consul General to Hong Kong for an invitation to his beautiful oceanside home. It was an event which was also attended by many local and Irish business people. Thankfully I was given an exemption from the business attire 😂 Actually due to time constraints I had to pick up my laundry bag along the way. It was an eight kilometres walk out to the plush Bel-Air Cyberport area where the Consul General and his family live. Naturally, I didn't want to walk there in my party clobber and I had planned to change downstairs before I took the elevator to his penthouse pad. I hadn't planned on the welcoming committee being downstairs in the lobby and I was soon spotted and cornered in my rags before I had a chance to change! lol. Eventually, a security guard escorted me to a toilet to change. Somehow my socks went missing in the wash and as I was wearing none with my sandals I was hoping shoes wouldn't have to be removed as in many Asian homes 😂
Never a dull moment!
Upstairs I managed to give my laundry bag to Maria, the Consul Generals wife and Hannah their daughter to hide in a corner and charge up my phone too while you are at it pet 😂
Chat, drinks, networking and much laughter flowed. One Irishman who was working as a caterer stood to dutiful attention and laughed when I called him 'Mrs Doyle' the poor demented housemaid from Fr Ted, the Irish hit comedy. "I have been standing here all night just in case you want a drinkie!"
"Well actually no thanks, Mrs Doyle. Perhaps next time!"
Guest of honour was Minister Heather Humphries, the Irish Minister for Business and Development. The minister gave her update on the state of play of local and Irish business dealings, planned investments and other highlights. Then she spoke briefly about the Irish Governments stance on Brexit.
I had a nice chat with her and passed on some of my cancer awareness cards to hand out to whoever she wanted to in the Irish Government circles. Australia and New Zealand send out self-testing kits to people every five years once they reach a certain age. Why doesn't Ireland?
Also present was Eoin O' Leary the Irish ambassador to Shanghai who says that as soon as he gets back he will stick the kettle on, on a slow boil that is, a slow boil to China 😀🍀
Thanks a million to Consul General David Costello, a fellow Dubliner and his family, Minister Humphries and the assembled guests for such an interesting evening.
One of the guests there, an Irish woman called Bridget Mullane whisked me away in a taxi to an Irish night out in McSorleys Irish bar in downtown Soho. More about that in my next post.