Since the last blogpost not much has happened, but we made one of the most remarkable turns we have done so far.
We entered the Tibeb highway.
Against all opinions and hints, which all tell us that it is impossible to get through, we turned right in Kirgilik onto the G219. There will be a checkpoint in Kudi, about 240 km from Kirgilik. It is supposed to be very strikt and impassable checkpoint. We are hoping for a hilariously small chance to get through legally, maybe a wonder happens and the borders opens. If not, we will turn around, cycle back to Kirgilik and go on through the Taklamakan-desert, after a 500 km detour.
The day we left Kashgar (17.07.2012)ended in a muddy hole next to the highway. We ha passed beautiful opportunities for sleeping because there was a barbwire fence along the highway that was impassable. This fence is probably to keep mules and other slow vehicles from the road, but it kept us from getting off. There was no chance for over 70 km to slip through. We passed a lake with sandy beach, a small river in a dune landscape, small oasis’s and many more, our heart was bleeding when we finally slipped through a riverbed that had dug a hole under the fence. We had spotted a small Forrest and as we got there we noticed disappointed that it was muddy, smelly, and full of Mosquitos.
“Let’s do this fast “, Paul said and we started doing what we have been doing now for over 100 days, raise the tent, unload the bike, cook pasta, and talk about, well, German bread an beer, swimming in cold lakes, sleeping in real beds, having a warm shower, sitting on a chair, using a real toilet, entering a room and being for your self. But also about working, filling in tax papers, waking up with a hangover, standing in a row at the supermarket, cycling through a hectic city.
The next morning we hit the road quite early after paul fixed his flat tire, which was to be the first of three flat tires in one day, all on different wheels.
We both felt fit and ready for the desert which we had to cross that day. About 80 km of sand dunes and dry heat. But we were kind of lucky. As we entered the desert I saw a huge cloud coming up in front of us. “Is this a sandstorm?” I asked Paul and he replied:” no, a sandstorm is much bigger” .
Well, it got much bigger an by the time it was to late to look for shelter cars came towards us wit flashing lights half covered in sand. Even though the cloud was coming towards us we had tailwinds and that was our luck. We were sucked into the storm and with scarves around our faces and sunglasses covering our eyes we entered the red-yellow cloud. Our disk brakes queeked and made dangerous noises because of the sand getting on the discs. On a side road we saw the schemes of three other cyclists who had obviously decided to stop and wait until the view got better again. We preferred to make use of the strong tailwinds to help us get through the desert. The sand was so fast that I could feel a strong tickling on my naked legs and arms. It was as if my arms and legs had been numb and now blood was rushing through them again and they came back to feeling, if you know what I mean.
After 20 minutes we got spit out of the sandstorm on the other side.
Still the tailwinds blew in our direction and so we rode over a hundred kilometers in only 3 hours. Then the fence, the endless fence began shutting us off from the environment again. At a crossing were we had to turn right, the fence still didn’t stop. The road we had to take now was going under a bridge of the highway and the fence blocked our way. The only solution was to unpack our bikes and try to lift them over the bridges railing on a small platform. From there we let our bags slide down on a steep concrete wall to the foot of the bridge and rolled the bikes down centimeter by centimeter. When we were finished nearly an hour had passed. I never hated a fence so much and I was glad as can bee to leave it behind me.
The next adrenalin shock was already waiting for us. Behind the next curve was a military checkpoint. Every vehicle was searched and passengers of busses had to step out and show their passports. Could this be the end of our poor attempt to get to Tibeb? We couldn’t turn back for they had already seen us. As we got closer a man in uniform stepped in our way, smiled at us and showed us the way around the cue of waiting cars. We could pass without them even asking our passports. I was so glad that I hardly notice the second checkpoint behind the next, very steep curve. Paul was riding in my wind-shadow directly behind me and as far as I could see all the policemen were busy with searching a truck. We didn’t even ask for permit to pass, we just shot through and nobody cared for us. Either they didn’t see us, or it was just not illegal to pass here as tourist.
We drove another 50 km and found a place to sleep next to a small but very deep river. it was only a few minutes after we arrived that we heard people shouting to us from the other side of the river. “oh no, they have spotted us”, Paul said in a little ironic tone. We do like the people here, but sometimes it would be just fine to be on our own for a few hours. These people didn’t want to talk. They wanted to feed us. They had three honey-melons to give away and were wondering how to get them to us. Paul and the tallest and strongest of them looked for a narrow part of the river to “volley-ball” the melons to our side. Paul caught all three of them, clapping from the girls on the other side followed and then they left for good. We had a quiet evening, lots of Mosquitos and a rainy night.
It rained so hard in the morning that getting up was not possible, or at least not smart. Then a shepherd came along with his herd and failed in keeping them off our tent. They trampled all over the tent-cords and even ran through our apsis (without permit) so we had to get up, fix the tent again and drink tea and coffee with the shepherd, of course, in the rain for the tent was to small. . The shepherd was glad to see that we had gas to cook tea on. So he took our tea-offer. But as he saw that he would have to drink it out of an old olive-can( Paul’s and my coffee cups) he sneaked away and left his tea untouched. “Sorry mister shepherd, the golden ceramic cup is in the dishwasher at the moment”, Paul said ironically as the man had gathered his sheep and took off. :0). We did the same and as we came back to the street, a man tried a real ridiculous robbery, if you can even call it like this.
He stopped his motorbike next to us and repeatedly asked us for money. “dollar, dollar,” he repeated and pointed his finger at us and then at himself to make clear what he wants. It was hilarious for he was half the size of us and even when he began getting angry we just smiled friendly and with a obvious shaking of the had we took of. He screamed something after us but we didn’t care.
In Kirgilik we bought as much food as we could stow in our bags for the mountains. It began raining hard again so we decided to have lunch in a cafe, the worst cafe ever for way to much money. People sitting next to us only paid half the price we did. No use in complaining, I don’t start an argument about two EURO. But it is sad to notice again and again that some people have a poor way of welcoming strangers. By the way, the food wasn’t good either.
Allready on the way out we noticed that we forgot to get money. In case we get through to Tibeb, there won’t be any ATM’s for weeks. We went from bank to bank, managed to get two of our bank card blocked for unknown reasons. Finally we got enough money and took of, TURNED RIGHT TO THE TIBEB HIGHWAY.
A few kilometers behind the city we raised the tent in an old rice field. In the morning I stitched some holes in my clothes and repaired the broken cable of my tachometer. 50 km further, at the feet of the Himalayas in 2200 meters hight, we now sit next to a single concrete wall that is obviously all thats left from a building, in the middle of a wide valley. On the one side steep sandy mountains (picture) an on the other green hills. Our adrenalin is permanently up for in every car, every
motorcycle could be a policeman sending us back. We will go on now for a few kilometers, try to reach 2500 meters hight and stay there for the night. Tomorrow we will reach the checkpoint, and I guess we will need a wonder to pass it. So all of you readers, please wish us good luck, we will need it.
Powered by Facebook Comments