Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

We are in china baby…..

Archive for the 19/6/2013.

Remember way back on our post in Thailand that they refused us a visa at the Bangkok embassy,the women said it was impossible to enter China on a motorbike …Well baby were in…

The stunning scenery continued and we soon got to the border security of China…

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We had heard many negative reports on these guys here and was hoping that it wasn’t all true.
As all five motorcycles rode up to the gate, we had to wait a few moments until we were let in and told to pull over…
one officer asked us what we wanted….
when you get that sort of question at a border crossing it really makes you want to answer with a stupid answer, but we had to bite our tongue’s as the guards hold all the power!

It was explained to them that have permits to travel through China and that the guide should be meeting us at the passport and customs office (which was 70 k’s away in Tashgarah).

There seemed to be a lot of going backwards and forwards with the guards regarding this, even though we had given them the name and phone number of the guide agency we were using, in the mean time we were told to wait after about half an hour, we were all starting to feel the effects of the altitude, so non of us were feeling that great, Ben’s bike is not too keen on the altitude either…lol

After roughly an hour of waiting……

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Someone came out and said that EVERYTHING on the bikes needed to be brought into the office for searching, with quick thinking we told them that the side boxes were fixed on and couldn’t be taken off, they seemed fine with that and said someone would come out and search them, so while Clive and the others went inside I stayed with all five bikes.

Inside the office the guards proceeded to go through every piece of luggage, from checking folders, USB sticks, going through reading books, laptops,checking photos, movies you name they checked it…

A minute later some guards came over to our bike and were starting to go through our side boxes…
I told him to stop, and they moved aside to let me show them the inside of our boxes…
I think they were scared of me and I’m glad of that fact…
just because they wear a uniform doesn’t mean they can treat us bad…little punks!

As I was was showing the guards items they were asking what this and that was for, I could have really told them anything and I think they would have believed me…in my glasses case I have two USB sticks…which they didn’t see as they were behind my glasses cloth…so that was good, they even helped me repack!

As Arran was still inside the office, I had to go through Arran’s gear with the guards, again I bluffed about a few things that I wasn’t sure about…

After a time all the guys came out and we were sat around waiting again, we decided to make a cup of tea as we were all still feeling a bit sick, and as we had drank so much water we were now running out of it, I think one of the ‘boys’ had asked the guards for water and they said we couldn’t have any…

Surely they can’t deny us water, so I got a water bottle and went inside the office where I asked for some water as we had headaches from the altitude, reluctantly they gave me some.

Finally we were allowed to go, but not before we all had to surrender our passports to a guard that would be traveling behind us till we got to Tashgarah…

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Great we were finally on the move, down hill from here, the scenery has now changed again even though we still had snow capped mountains on one side, there were also lush green fields with grazing yaks, goats and a few ponies, also dotted along the way were yurts….

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The 70 k’s took rather longer than we had hoped as Ben’s bike was once again playing up …

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We arrived at the Customs office at about 7.30pm!

And were directed to an area what looked like a car wash, we were told to drive through as it was a ‘spray’ to disinfect us and the bike…
Ummm… surly they realize we have just ridden 70k’s already on Chinese soil!!

Inside the customs hall we were meet by our guide Abdul, and also greeted by some friendly guards, who spoke pretty good English, it must have been the border control guards that we have heard the stories about because these guards were fine!

When we were all cleared we then had to take the bikes to another customs site, which checks over vehicles, but because we arrived so late the customs staff and already finished for the day…so all the bikes were put into a massive lock up shed for the night in customs.

We were then taken the short ride to our hotel…noticing that the streets were all set in a grid pattern, no character to the streets at all.
At the hotel we all got cleaned up, ate a delicious meal, then headed straight to bed…. it had been a long exhausting day.

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Guarding the entrance to our hotel..

The following morning after a suspicious looking breakfast, which both Clive and I past up due to its strange looking ingredient’s, the ‘boys’ had to go and get the bike’s from customs…an hour or so later they all returned with the ‘cleared’ bikes.

Great we can now get going, so all the bikes loaded up we had to stop for petrol, but bikes aren’t allowed near the bowsers you have to go to the side of the petrol station and buy your petrol by the ‘kettle’ lol…really this is true…

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Abdul was at the front of the pack in a car and we had to follow but again it was slow going…
Ben’s bike repeatedly broke down…

The landscape was sparse on one side to us but on the other side to us were the most magnificent snow covered mountains ranges, with glaciers galore nestled between the mountains this was stunning as the ‘group’ ride was slow it made it easy for us to stop for photos then speed up to catch the rest of the group.

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Then the scenery changed to Brown/grey Mountains with a few black clouds added for good measure!
The road surface was not all that great so that slowed us down even more…
We did however pass some beautiful blue lakes along the way, how they are that colour I’m not sure…

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We passed through a very miserable and desolate gorge and it started to rain a bit, at the end of the gorge there was another checkpoint and we Stopped for lunch at a tiny roadside café proved to be great..

We eventually got to the City of Kashgar and our hotel for the night, with the bikes safely locked up in the underground car park, we went out for dinner and had Burger and chips for the first time in ages, boy it tasted good…

Kashgar or Kashi is an oasis county-level city with approximately 350,000 residents and is the westernmost Chinese city, located near the border with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

We again skipped breakfast at the hotel, there were some weird things on offer..

As we had a couple of free days to explore we went out to the Kashgar market that has been running for thousands of years, its where you buy and sell your livestocks.

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Does my bum look big in these…

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Lots of colourful characters here doing dealings.

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Would you buy your meat like this…

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Arran had his hair removed from his arm to demonstrate how sharp the blade was…

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Making bread old style…

It started to rain so we had to cut it short and went back into town to an undercover market where you buy just about anything..

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We bought these really tasty dumpling things that were cooked in these…

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These were cows lungs we think and this girl couldn’t get enough…

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Plenty of colourful flip-flops…

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Chris had herself wrapped in furs….

As it started to turn into a miserable day we retreated to the hotel for the afternoon and got caught up with emails and things.

The following day the sun was shining and we went out to explore the city, there a huge underground mall, that was mainly shoe shops..

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The old mosque was a bit of a disappointment , we expected something grander for some reason…

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Great lock on the gate though…

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There were lots of colourful folk to watch though…

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It looks like they are trying to replicate the old city in some places and are doing a great job..

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Novel way to keep sun off when your traveling along…

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These were outside all the restaurants so you can wash your hands..

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The police did stop us once and asked to see our passports..

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Part of the old city wall that used to surround the city..

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Clive helped these girls up the ramp..

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Couldn’t resist jumping on the police bike…

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Hotel security..

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They do take road rules seriously..

The next day we were off again towards the Kyrgyzstan border and our last day in China..
Roads were pretty good with again magnificent scenery.

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We took it turns to push Bens bike up the hills with our feet…

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There must be iron in these hills…

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We had the feeling Abdul our guide wanted to get us to border as quickly as possible today, maybe he had only hired the car for half a day…

We quickly had a final checkpoint where our papers were checked.
We did some currency exchange with the money changers, only after they had got up to a reasonable rate…
We were given a special escort up the hill to the border gate where the guards unlocked the gate.

On reflecting on our short time in China, it didn’t seem like China at all, mainly because of the original settlers here, the Kurdish who don’t really mix in with the Chinese who have been sent to this far western region to try and dilute the local population…
Sad really , its like ethnic cleaning, without bloodshed…

There was snow on the ground and we tried to engage them with a snowball fight,they were having none of it..

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They did take a group shot of us though and smiled when they waved goodbye, i think they new of the road we were about to go down….

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One thought on “We are in china baby…..

  1. Linda Briscoe on said:

    Such an interesting read…thanks guys 🙂

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