Renting my way through Asia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Doogle, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
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    2017-03-29 Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shangri-la about 200 miles

    Our first destination today was the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
    [​IMG]2017-03-29 Tiger Leaping Gorge & Shangri la 5 by

    It was interesting and a fun ride. There's a lot of exposure, as the road doesn't have much to keep you from meeting your maker. It's comparable to Ouray, Colorado. Except this road has a lot of rocks and sand that have fallen from above.

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    If some of these rocks fell on your head you'd probably get a headache.

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    It was fun looking over the cliffs. And looking up and seeing how unstable the rocks above were.

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    We stopped to take a break after riding through the gorge. A few people came to investigate us. So we took a picture of one of them.

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    We stopped at the Potatso National Park. $29 to take a 3 hour bus ride. The brochure didn't show anything worth seeing. So we rode on to Shangri-la.

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    We rode up over 12000 feet. And it was getting quite chilly.

    We finally arrived at Shangri-la. Actually Shangri-la is the name of the district. The name of the city is Jiantang. Our hotel is the 7 Days Inn. $22. Air conditioning but no heat. And it's cold.

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    After settling in to our rooms we walked in to the old town. It was about a mile and a half away. Again it was a lot of new, old looking things. You can't tell what is the real old stuff. It's all very nice. But I feel mislead.

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    And yakity yak,who's on its back.

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    And now I can finally go to bed.
    #81
  2. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    842
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    2017-03-30 Through Snow Mountain to Feilaisi 145 miles

    We started the day in the hotel’s garage. We both did an oil change and chain lube. We were going to adjust my headlight when Stephen noticed one of the two bolts that secure it was missing. He had a selection of fasteners that squared it away. It was cold and raining all morning. Then it turned to snow. Before the snow we stopped at an overlook in the Meili Snow Mountain National Park.
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    The next stop was for a land slide. This was the only one to stop us. They cleared it enough to let traffic go by occasionally.But we were dodging rocks and smaller landslides the rest of the day.
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    As soon as we passed the road crew it started snowing. And it was windy. Miserable cold weather.

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    A big problem for both of us was having to wipe our shields every 15 seconds. You were blind if you didn't. And I had to keep my shield up a little to keep the inside from fogging up. That was enough to make me think I'll get frostbite.

    We stopped in Deqin. First real town we'd come to. And we had a little warm up food and tea. Very nice people there. We decided to get a room instead of riding back to Shangri-la. It was 1:30 and we were cold. We are staying at the High Mountain Resort- $75. It's at 11300 feet. We hoped we could skirt through Tibet. But our receptionist called the police and they said we needed an invitation. So that's a big no. It would have saved us a lot of miles. And it would have been less altitude. And a lot more scenic. The one time I checked my GPS we were at 13300 feet. And we were still going up. Tomorrow we will have to go back through Shangri-la. Hope it stops snowing.
    #82
  3. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Sanibel FL
    It's not a real adventure until the weather turns to shit.
    #83
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  4. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    2017-03-31 My CRASH

    Roses are red, violets are blue, ice is black, and there's nothing you can do.

    It was a sunny morning and not too cool. Today we back track to Shangri-la. Today we can see what we couldn't yesterday. I tried to to take a picture with my camera as I checked out. My camera don't work no more. I'll have to use my phone from now on.
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    This was soon after leaving town.
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    We can't believe how nice it is riding today. A little slush here and there. It was warming up as we went higher.

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    Steve stopped for something. I said I would ride on and probably stop to take some pictures. A couple miles later I was slowing as I went into a curve. I couldn't see around the curve. But the road was darker. I was braking pretty hard when I got around the curve enough to see a car nosed into a snow bank. I let off the brakes a lot when I knew I was hitting ice. I knew I was going to hit that car whether I was on 2 wheels or the ground. The Shineray decided it wanted to take a nap. On it's left side. As we slid towards the trunk of that car I hoped the 2 guys would get out of the way. For some reason, my brakes were better than the Shineray's. It was about 10 feet ahead of me. It stopped about 6 feet from the car. I got up thinking how lucky. But how much damage to the bike. Can I still ride it? My right wrist hurts a little.
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    The 2 guys help me pick the bike up. Then they return to trying to get their car free. I started to help them, but was more concerned about Steve hitting the ice. These guys can wait. I ran up to the curve as Steve was coming. I'm waving my hands like a crazy man. He senses trouble and is slowing. He's on ice as he gets to me, but not stopped. I grab on to the rear of his bike and spread my legs to help balance and slow it. I released when he was to the straight section. Then I ran back up to the curve. Several cars were coming fast. I gave them the crazy man routine too. The 2nd car slid a little, but slowed enough to straighten it out in time. I wish someone would have given me the crazy man routine. An SUV pulled the car out.
    Helpers pulling the car out.
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    I look at my bike expecting major damage. The clutch level is gone. Wiring for my turn signals is pulled out. My left pannier is stuffed a little. It startes okay. So we ride 100 miles with no clutch. I can do that. We stopped a couple times on the way back. But we stopped on hills so I could bump start it. Still wanted to take some pictures. We stopped at this snowy place yesterday.
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    [​IMG]2017-03-31 Meili Snow Mountain 18 by

    But then we got lower and warmer. We arrived at the 7 Days Inn we stayed in 2 nights ago. We checked in, took showers and took a cab to a bike shop and bought a clutch lever and perch- 3 dollars. It's installed and ready for some more curves.
    #84
  5. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
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    This evening we went to an Italian restaurant. We walked up the same completely blocked off construction area we did the other night. Steve said we should go a block over and take a parallel street back. What a difference. Nice stores. A park with a lake.
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    If these pictures don't show, I'll try again later.
    #85
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  6. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    They show. That's an amazing story - stopping Steve's bike by skating behind it! :eekers

    And I'm glad your sliding stop was fairly painless. :deal

    :clap :clap :clap
    #86
  7. Koonzee

    Koonzee Been here awhile

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    Doogle,

    Hello. You are certainly living the dream or the adventure! Your yakity yak photograph will be perfect for your book cover! The yak may be a safer ride on black ice<g>. I am happy you and Steven managed to get through the ice without any serious injuries. Hopefully your wrist is recovering quickly.

    Ride safely!

    David
    #87
  8. Sanibel

    Sanibel Been here awhile

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    Kind of like curling but with bikes.
    #88
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  9. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    842
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    2017-04-01 Xiangbala,China 145 miles

    8am we rode a few miles across town to the Sumtselingl Monastery.

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    We were there before opening time. So we beat the crowds and were on the road quickly. Now we are heading north. As we went through a small town, Steve saw a small temple. We went up a small drive and found it was closed. I indicated to a woman in a garden in the back, that we wanted to look. She waved her arm to go in.

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    It was small but quaint. Then we were on the road again.



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    I'm at 14,250 feet waiting to take a picture of Steve as he comes through the snow. A lot of the riding was above 13000 feet.

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    Didn't happen. He's on a heavier bike with true street tires. I had to go down and help push him up the last 50 yards. Then it was down the other side which had more of the same.

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    But it eventually cleared up.

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    We stopped here for my meal of the day. Coke and a delicious bag of chips. You know, the wavy kind.

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    We were stopped at a police check point. Steve thought it must be a provincial border. 6 cops and a big police station in a small town. They looked at our passports and waved us on. On down the road we ride through some yaks.Horse power meets yak power.

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    We still have a ways to go for our hoped end point of the day. But we hit a road clearing delay. About an hour and a half. And we are surrounded by the friendly, curious crowd.

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    As we drop down in elevation on the other side of the mountain range there is a different style of housing.

    [​IMG]2017-04-02 Kangding China 5 by


    As we entered Xiangbala we decided to stop for the night. The first hotel we saw is where we are staying. I don't know the name of it. It cost $20. Another heater that leaves me shivering. But it's home for a night.
    #89
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  10. GSdiablo

    GSdiablo cubical farmer

    Joined:
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    Doug, good choice on the 250. The lower weight likely kept your accident from being more of a mess. I regret giving away my xt225 a few years ago. I rode it on snow and ice fairly often. Guess I may have to buy me another one. No more crashes and keep oil and air where needed. One question, did you have your riding jacket and pants with before china? I gotta figure out how to take less crap on trips. Next time we need "crazy man" video!! I'd even settle for a re enactment :-)
    #90
  11. beemer boy

    beemer boy Oh no, he's gone Asian

    Joined:
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    Nice photos. Brought back memories, as I spent three months traveling in China.
    Yes the rooms are cold, and yes the " old town" section in Shangri La is all new.. :-)
    I was actually foolish enough to hike down into Tiger Leaping Gorge. The rocky
    trail with limited railings redefined the word risk....... You guys caught a lot of snow,
    I only had a bit on my short foray into Tibet.
    #91
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  12. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    842
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You can buy mine cheap. I'll deliver to Beijing for free. I brought riding gear minus the helmet. Every thing in the yellow dry bag (my carry on) and a back pack (my personal item). No checked baggage.
    #92
  13. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    842
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    2017-04-02 Kangding,China 292 miles

    Steve and I are are going our separate ways this morning.
    [​IMG]2017-04-02 Kangding China 3 by

    It's not quite as adventurous when you have someone taking care of all the issues that come up. Steve and Haiying saved me a lot of time. It could have taken me a week to get a bike. And I can't count the things Steve taught me. Thanks.

    I said we went separate ways. But I passed him 5 minutes after leaving. Little bike wins in construction areas. And the first 50 miles weren't much fun. A lot of construction. Lite rain turning to flurries. Cold. I crossed at least 3 passes over 15000 feet. One was 15,500. Most of the day was over 13,000 feet.

    I was stopped at one road repair site for a while. 20 minutes after passing through, I stopped to take a picture. When I got off the bike I saw I snagged and drug the flag barrier that was across the road.
    [​IMG]2017-04-02 Kangding China 4 by


    I stopped to eat and get gas in Litang. Finally a meal.
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    As I left the town, Steve rode up to me. He stopped for gas at another station and saw me go by. We talked a little. There was a long section of snow near the top of a pass. It was several miles long.
    [​IMG]2017-04-02 Kangding China 10 by

    It was his turn to pick up the bike. Minor damage. We said goodbye again. And he flew down the road. Later I saw him again. He was going the other direction. I think he was going back to get gas.

    Almost as dangerous as the snow are the tunnels. Some are 2-3 miles long. Poor or no lighting. I will wait for a car to follow if there isn't one in front of me.

    The last hour of riding at high elevation was bad. High winds with snow and fog. At times there was 50 feet of visibility. I saw several wrecks. Again I'm clearing my shield several times a minute. I would have stopped if there were a hotel.

    But eventually that cleared and the elevation dropped. But there were miles and miles of switch backs. It was like Stelvio Pass in Italy. But not as pretty. These switch backs were made more dangerous because they all have water on them. The big trucks all spray water on their brakes to cool them. There are no dry places around switch backs. Sometimes instead of switch backs they build bridges to the other side, and then back again.

    And some of their housing again.
    [​IMG]2017-04-02 Kangding China 5 by

    I found a hotel in Kangding. It's the Lam-ze Lin-Ka Hotel. Very nice place for $48.

    Steve sent me a message. He is in this town also. At the other end of town.
    #93
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  14. Culcune

    Culcune Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
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    361
    Location:
    Yuma, AZ
    I just happened to see your report...you were talking about this on mychinamoto months ago, and Stephen and others were guiding you. Had not seen an update there, but by coincidence, Stephen posted his photo of the snow ride--gave me white knuckles just looking at it! I am glad to see you are doing this ride, and was glad to see how much Stephen was able to help you out and let you continue your adventure! :rilla
    #94
  15. Smackit

    Smackit Life Is Good

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
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    Location:
    Reno, Nevada & Guangdong China
    I came over from MCM as well. Looks like the typical China adventure... bad roads, cold rooms, cold showers, a crash, etc. It's been a few years since I've been in a lot of those places, but it doesn't look like things have changed as much as I would have thought. I'm glad you didn't slide into the back of that car, things could have escalated against you in a situation like that. Be safe and enjoy the rest of your trip.
    #95
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  16. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
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    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    MCM was a great help for research. And Ride Asia too. Been too busy to post there anymore. Probably need to post the Shineray for sale there. Or I'll try my luck with a dealer near Beijing.
    #96
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  17. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
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    2017-04-03 Ya An Panda Zoo about 140 miles

    Steve messaged me and said we could ride together this morning since we are both going the same route. I'm going to the panda zoo. And he is going to visit a friend 10 miles from it. We rode 3-4 hours along a river. Very nice ride. They are doing a lot of new road construction.
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    When we got to my turn off, 8 miles from the park,we stopped. I told Steve my chain was quite loose yesterday. I didn't have a wrench big enough to loosen the axle nut. We agreed it would be okay till I saw the pandas. It's a national holiday. So traffic is heavy. And I wanted to get to the park before it got any busier. We said goodbye. Wiggling through stopped traffic for 5 miles, I heard a mechanical sound that brought me to a stop. I thought it was the transmission. The chain came off. But the chain wedged between the subframe and the sprocket bolts. I couldn't get it free. My problems usually means I'm going to meet new friends. Luckily a young couple on a Motorbike behind me stopped. They called their friends that were ahead of us. So 3 more Motorbikes arrived. One has tools. We tighten the chain and ride on to the entrance. After parking the bikes, they invited me to tag along.

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    They all speak some English. They are students at the University in Chengdu. Of the 6, Co-Co speaks English best. So the rest of the day, she is at my side. She said I am the first English person she has ever talked with. She was excited about practicing her English with me. We bought out tickets and took a short bus ride. Tickets for old people are about 1/2 price. $9. Thank you Steve.


    We walked through several areas with pandas. They sure like to sleep a lot. And mostly up in trees.

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    This group seemed more interested in walking through the nature areas. And there were lots of steps.
    As we start back there is an elevator with a long line that takes people to the top of the canyon we walked down. After waiting a while they decided to take the steps. It's about 250-300 feet up. About 29 flights. I'm sweating plenty when we got to the top. They were going to ride towards Chengdu and find a hotel. Did I want to go with them? Yes, that's my route also. About 20 miles out of Ya An we found a hotel. We unloaded and went to the restaurant next door. Co Co and her boyfriend on the left.

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    What a great experience. When I asked about paying, Co-Co's boyfriend said no. He was paying for me. He said I was his first America friend. And he hugged me. He helps me when my bike chain came off. He bought me water to drink while we walked through the park. And pays for my dinner. Am I in the Twilight Zone?
    #97
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  18. Culcune

    Culcune Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Yuma, AZ
    Carl Parker, aka 'Crazy Carl' was an instructor at the university in Chengdu. Who is Crazy Carl? He is the man who founded Mychinamoto when he lived and worked in China for a few years. He moved back to the states, and is still the owner of Mychinamoto and also the editor in chief of ADVMoto Magazine. These students would not know him since he has been in the US for over 7 or more years.

    That being said--it is great you hooked up with a riding group. Stephen mentioned on mychinamoto that you will be (predominantly) on your own for the next week and a half, so hopefully this group will let you tag along (provided they are going someplace interesting).
    #98
  19. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
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    842
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    2017-04-04 Leshan Giant Buddha 140 miles

    My mileages are estimated using my GPS since my odometer is broken and I'm not riding with Steve.

    I had breakfast with the group this morning. I planned to pay for the group. I was communicating with the waitress when Dont (that's what Coco's boyfriends name sounds like to me) must have been suspicious. He said something to her. The waitress said it was already paid for. But I think he actually paid her later.
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    Then we rode to to Chengdu. When we got there, 3 rode on to home. And 3 stayed with me to find a chain. I told them to go on. I didn't want to take any more of their holiday time. Finding a motorcycle chain would be easy enough by myself. WRONG. They wouldn't abandon me. It was a national holiday. We went to 6-7 shops- all with skeleton crews. All said it's a special chain. Not. The last shop had one he could install. Same as original $15. I don't want the same bad chain again. We finally found an oring chain for $42. I think it will get me to Beijing.

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    Next, I want to get an ATM withdrawal. The 3rd guy that stayed with me, led us to a Bank of China. Most of my withdrawals have been from them. Success. Then we all said goodbye. The 3rd guy gave me his Harley Davidson face and neck cover. I refused. But he insisted. Coco and Dont were my closest allies. But this guy was as helpful and supportive as possible. Thank to my wonderful Chinese friends. Then we all hugged twice and went our separate ways. I had a 3 hour ride to Leshan. The Giant Buddha is there.

    I stopped at an exit to find the entrance. A guy asked if I wanted to park. $1.50 in front of his restaurant. And he walked me to an entrance- which I couldn't find walking alone. $9 fee. Half price again, since I'm old. I'd pay full price if I could be young. Again there were many steps. First up to the top. Then 3/4 of the way down the front along the cliff. This Buddha is 233 feet tall. And it is right on the edge of the river. Construction was completed in 803 ad.

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    Walking down the cliff.

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    Then I walked around the complex and got lost. There were a lot of interesting things to see. But it was getting dark and I needed to get a hotel room.

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    As I exited the park, my parking attendant/ restaurant owner was waiting at the gate for me. So I ate at his restaurant, alone. Then he led me on his bicycle about a mile, to a hotel. He probably got paid by the hotel. Again I don't know the name of the place. It cost $12. A decent room except for kids and adults talking loud right outside my door till I complained to the manager at 10:30.
    #99
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  20. Doogle

    Doogle Do it while you can

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the insights. Great kids. But they were on their way home in Chengdu for school. I'd already stolen enough of their holiday time. For me it was a gift to feel true China. A cherished memory.
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