We were all subdued as we breakfasted together for the last time before John headed off to the airport for his flight back to England. And our glum mood was amplified by the surroundings – a grubby dining room, in a grubby hotel, in a grubby city…
I echo Simon’s comment in yesterday’s blog regarding the remarkable harmony of the group – it’s been one of the most delightful aspects of the trip. But the flip side is, of course, that when someone leaves there’s grieving to be done. We will miss John. But as to Simon’s comment that the big guy will be “riding with us in spirit”, I m worried that Simon’s over-exposure to Buddhism combined with vulnerability to altitude is turning his mind. We’ll have to keep an eye on him.
We moped around town for the rest of the day – getting haircuts, searching for a clean restaurant etc. – and decided that we needed to be back on the road asap, so we are leaving for Xian in the morning.
Nothing more to add, other than that I spent some agreeable time after dinner watching families roll by on their motor scooters. They were enjoying the balmy Saturday evening. And for them this city isn’t grubby, it’s home.