We continue transmitting the chronicles of Matteo Tricarico’s new biking trip from Asia to America…
I have a confession to make which may surprise some, but, hopefully, will not disappoint anyone. After four-month stay in Italy, I reluctantly resumed this trip. I felt like I did not have any more energy to go on. I almost did not want to continue to be exposed to the vagaries of the weather and hazards of wandering. In the first couple of months after the departure from Bangkok, I kept on going onward more with the inertial force of the previous two years journey than for a renewed thrust. The fact that Marta Santoro travelled with me also gave me a reason to push on the pedals. Perhaps, the main reason not to stop was the terrifying prospect to return to a normal life, which, whether I like it or not, sooner or later, I must do since my finances, made of 15 years working hard-earned savings, are inexorably shrinking.
The desire to continue to explore the world and the people who live on it was still very strong, that is an innate stimulus that at my age has become chronic almost at a pathological level. Of course, the discomforts that travelling involves did not put me off. I think that such a lazy start was due to the combination of crossing countries that I know like the palm of my hand and the fact that this nomadic existence is becoming the normality in my life. And, like everything that one gets used to, or worse, becomes routine, takes away the taste for novelty. Clearly, I never seriously contemplated the possibility of aborting the trip, such an idea has always been far from my thoughts, because in contrast to the foundations of my philosophy of life that brings me to finish this adventure if not at any cost, at least, at a high one. Whatever it was, this negative thought has dissipated as morning mist under the scorching sun of this tropical land. If I confessed my embarrassing psychological downfall is because there is no more trace of it in my heart and mind. After crossing the friendship bridge between Vietnam and China, I found again the mental attitude that makes me wake up every morning with the genuine determination to start the new day with a positive spirit, fully rejoicing and appreciating every moment of this incredible experience. Perhaps, I simply needed to reach an unknown country, or I simply had to reset my psychological approach to this journey and find again that primordial stimulation temporarily dozed off.
The interview of April 13, 2012 at Pizza Hut restaurant – a choice made to let me feel at home! – with Kun and Yang, journalists of the Southern Daily Metropolis, a newspaper less subject to government censorship and therefore the most read in south China, resulted in a full-page article. Two days after I left Guangzhou and headed eastwards along the national G107 running through the province before merging with the G324. After the city of Guangzhou ends, the urban agglomeration of Shipai soon begins, immediately followed by Huangpu and Xintang and so on for a couple of hundred kilometres of interrupted cemented land. Plants are confined only in some parks, like museums where one may observe these oxygen producing creatures in the middle of carbon dioxide spitting machines. If they were locked in glass cases, they would probably be better protected from the air pollution staining the sky with a canary-yellow color.
There is a bad smell of bleach blackening instead of bleaching everything that comes into contact. The scenery is quite monotonous: hundreds of thousands of skyscrapers, with millions of apartments for tens of millions of families. The dazzling flashes of welders and the towering cranes visible from kilometres reveal that many more are still under construction to host hundreds of millions of Chinese migrants from rural areas. Gigantic numbers on the concrete skeletons inform that when finished, there will be apartments from 40 to 400 square metres to suit all different needs, and any different financial means. But not all are success stories in this uncontrolled and chaotic building development, driven by an annual forced two digits gross domestic product to avoid that the population suffers of hunger and discontent that would result in rampaging revolts and uprisings against the regime. In fact, many projects are started and never finished for the developers’ bankruptcy leaving concrete carcasses soon attached by the time and the natural elements; skeletons covered with protective nets fluttering in the wind that carries away the dream of a house and savings for millions of people.
(TO BE CONTINUED)