Plantation Cycling Tales – Part 6 – Making Through the Tiger Trail Safely

January 28, 2013


I have finally made it through safely to the other side with the help of Babu. Here in the land of the vermillion rice fields. I stop at a traditional Chinese village. I pay my respects to the local Kwang Kung temple – when I step out the whole village sorrounds me. They want to know where I have come from. I tell them that I’ve cycled all the way from the East. Many look at me with an air of disbelief and amazement.

The head man insist that I must be famished, he shouts out to one of his pig tailed daughters – soon I am sitting in the village square eating my heart out. Someone keeps asking me whether I want beer to go along with the food. I say, I am fine thank you. Later on he ask again. Again I say, I am fine thank you. Finally somehow brings me beer and I find myself having to drink a glass even though that is not what I really want –  the younger men hunch over me as I eat, they want to hear stories about my travels. They want to know whether I saw any tigers on my way here. Did I wrestle with a python? Did I see any spirits in the jungle? Were they beautiful or ugly? I told them, I spent the night sleeping in the plantation roads.

They are so surprised…once again bewilderment and amazement fills the air – others just want me to tell them why my bike has such fat tires. And why am I dressed so oddly. Then there are the shy village girls who are looking from afar as they giggle non stop. Someone ask me whether I am married. I tell them that I have 20 children and 5 wifes. Everyone laughs and someone says, “one more wouldn’t matter then…” They laugh again – one of the girls pluck up enough courage to offer to wash my clothes. Another gives me a fresh good morning towel as mine is soiled – this is how it is, when a stranger suddenly appears in a tiny Chinese farming village.

The headman tells me that I should stay the night with him – he tells me that the roads are still sloshy ahead as they have been inundated by rains the night before.

I accept the kind offer – I notice one of the old toothless men has brought out a violin. I ask him politely whether I can play something to thank the whole village. I play. The whole village suddenly falls quiet and still.

Darkness 2013 


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