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17 January 2015

I didn’t bike. I was happy I had survived the previous two days, but the next city was Bikin, 90 kilometers away, temperature had dropped a little more, and the road was hilly. I was sure I could not make it that far, and also I had no idea about hotels halfway, so worst case case I would have to walk 45 kilometers in freezing temperatures. I thought it was too risky and I took the bus to Bikin.

The bus to Bikin

Bus windows completely frozen

The bus is easy over there, it costs very little, and I could throw the entire bike including packing in the stowage compartment of the bus. That was easy!

China is around the corner

In Bikin I first saw public water taps. Apparently in some houses it is difficult to keep the water going, so instead they have water taps everywhere in the city.

Public water tap

Public water tap

An then another thing I had not seen in The Netherlands: when someone enters a café, he or she is being followed by a cloud of mist because of the low temperature outside. Makes for a nice dramatic entrance.

Cloud of mist when someone enters a café

In Bikin I found a very nice hotel, brand new, with only one guest: me. A taxi driver took me to a restaurant where six Russians were celebrating a birthday. They spoke a little English, they invited me to their table, they drank wodka at an amazing speed and with each glass they waited for me to finish the previous one. My Russian language skills improved, but say bye bye to next day’s bike plans, I was sure I would not be able to ride my bike.

City heating in Bikin. All pipes run above ground for easy access. I guess once underground no way you have access for maintenance or repair