May second is an empty space, we have a very late breakfast and hop on our sleeper train to Chengdu. Our couchsurfing host there calls us just as we are about to move to the station, strengthening our belief that it’s time to move on. Xi’an is crowded today but we have secured our train tickets, hard sleeper class this time, and stock up on snacks in the train station. The overnight ride is comfortable, and I awake with a fresh mind to find myself in another seven-million metropole: Chengdu.
The north of Chengdu is chaotic and crowded, as our host Dhane teaches us later. We wade through the crowd and make it to a dumpling place, from where we call Dhane. He explains how to get to his place: cross a little river and take the second road to the left. It all sounds like a rural place just outside of town, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Chengdu has three rings and Dhane lives just outside the second ring. A twenty minute busride and subsequent gesture-steered autorickshaw ride take us across the little creek and soon we find ourselves in Dhane’s apartment.
We are tired and just hang out, having a good conversation about Charity Travel and learning about Dhane’s six month India Charity Ride from december 2011 we might join part of the way. This is how things go folks. It makes me realize how much depends on the right communication networks. I also know, however, that those networks are fragile and need to be maintained. It’s not just an internet platform serving communities of likeminded people. It needs some outspoken strong individuals with straightforward profiles and behavior we can count on. We are great apes after all.
After buying some local produce I am able to make a mushroom omelet for our late night dinner.