The Walk Day 6

Day 6

We left the hotel in Huadu and walked toward to Qingyuan. After about one hour, my toes on both feet started hurting me. The second hour my left ankle felt very tired and uncomfortable. We saw a park and stopped there to check my feet. My left foot had been a problem since day 1 and I thought I had solved the problem through changing my walking style, but now the blisters came back. Darrrah asked me many questions and we tried to find out why. It could be my rhythm was wrong, or I wasn’t breathing deeply to match my steps, or because we didn’t stretch before we left. I put on some band-aids. As we were just about to leave the park, two men saw the writing on my backpack cover and stopped. They asked questions like “Are you really walking from Zhongshan to Beijing?” “Only two of you, two women?” The conversation dragged other people’s attention. A girl showed her curiosity and asked Darrah many questions.

We took pictures, said goodbye to them and continued our journey with their blessing. I was happy that our walk got people’s attention. Everytime when that has happened, I gave out my name cards which have our walking information on them and explain “Sunshine Is Beside You”-Disabled Family Aid Project. I also explain the meaning of “Ni keyi”, (meaning, you can) hoping people understand that as long as you have a dream, no matter it is big or small, stick with it and believe in yourself. You can achieve it.

Our plan was to get to Qingyuan on Saturday. To do that we needed to pass a town call Shiling. Half an hour later, I felt my backpack was heavier and heavier, and my shoulders were very sore. I wanted to stop but I knew I shouldn’t have a rest every half an hour when I feel tired. It wasn’t my limit and I could do better. I kept telling myself “Come on Ann, you can do this. Every step you walked is one step closer to Beijing.” “Don’t forget our slogan is Ni keyi.” I kept walking forward for another 3ks and saw a bus stop. I called off and put my backpack down, at the moment I wished Gordon’s trailer was there that I didn’t need to carry such a heavy bag. We checked the map, it looked like McDonalds wasn’t too far from the bus stop. It was only two traffic lights away and Darrah said she would like an ice cream from there. So we started again. We walked and walked and walked, passing one traffic light after another. When we stopped at yet another traffic light, I asked Darrah loudly “Where was this fucking McDonalds?” She said “Let’s check the map again. Look, it was in the front, only one more traffic light to go.” Oh god, could we be there in a second and forget these bloody traffic lights? She encouraged me “Ann, I know your feet are hurting, try to breath in and walk slowly. It is not far and you can do it. Ni keyi.” I walked and said to myself “ok, I should have confidence in myself. I believe I can make it.” After a little over an hour walk, we saw a McDonalds’ ad on a bus stop and Darrah said “Hey Ann, see, McDonalds!” I didn’t give her any feedback but thought “come on, just an ad.” After another 10 minutes, a big red M appeared, we got there and it was in Shiling where we were supposed to stop for the day. I was SO relieved.

We found a cheap hotel near the corner of McDonalds. The street looked like a commercial walking street. The whole street was occupied by a lot of little clothes stores and food stores. Of course, it was loud and noisy too. It reminded me of Shagangxu in Shiqi. I didn’t care about the noise and the food smell from the street as long as I could stop and sleep. By 8:30, I fell asleep. Good night.

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Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences