(10.7.2012) China is coming closer and the rumors about it are getting stronger.
We heard from other bikers that when entering china we will probably be searched completely. They even look at cameras, memory cards and photo albums. It is not allowed to take any organic stuff to China and the worst of all: we will not be allowed to cross the border by bicycle. From the kyrgyz border we will have to take a truck down the pass half the way to Kashgar.
So we will only be allowed to cycle half of the most impressing pass of our tour, the irkishtam-pass.
That freaks Paul and me out especially because we didn’t go for the Torugard-pass for exactly that reason. We new we couldn’t ride that pass completely and would have had to put our bikes on a truck for a few hundred kilometers. We decided to go for the irkishtam-pass because we would be allowed to cycle all the way. They changed that a few days ago. F***.
Also we heard of other cyclists that the police in china is not very friendly to bikers. They control the visas very often and are putting obstacles in the way of bikers. For example they say that it is not allowed to drive on a side road so you have to go on the highway itself. Also they check your cameras frequently and look at the pictures to make sure you didn’t film any stuff they don’t want you to film. We haven’t heard good stories about the police yet so we will be careful.
There were a lot of drunks in Sary tash,
asking us for money and presents. This city, as beautifully as its panorama might be, is a very sad and grey city.
Spending there the whole day waiting for the courier was not really pleasant. The sun was shining but it was very cold and windy. The drunks and the kids came and went to ask for money and vodka. I was glad when we finally could leave town in the evening and put up our tent next to a small river. There we met two other cyclists, Julie and Adam, two really nice people from Switzerland who are cycling from new Zealand back home. We talked at the side of the road for about an hour and exchanged useful hints. They have been on the road for two years already. Good luck to you, Julie and Adam.
The courier spent the evening with us, we had diner together and talked about traveling and foreign countries.
In the morning we installed and repaired some things on our bikes and again, two cyclists, this time from France came to join us with breakfast. They were really funny and again they confirmed the rumors about china. Around here there are a lot of cyclists passing through the beautiful mountains, so a lot of chances to exchange and talk about cycling.
Then we set of to the final pass.
Against first assumptions we even made it up to 3800 meters. In a little thunderstorm we once again hid in a pipe under the street. In the evening we put up our tent on a “pre-pass” to the Irkishtam-pass and cooked dinner on wood we collected along the roadside.
We have never ever had such a beautiful panorama. White snowy mountains over 7000 meters high to the south and grassy hills to the north.
A landscape that makes you cry because your so happy. I knew that we would pass areas like this but standing here an looking at this mountains is an indescribable feeling.
This morning the sky is clear, an ice-cold wind is blowing and we have clear view to china, which now is only 30 km ahead of us. Tomorrow morning we plan to enter the country of our final destination, the country which will take us three month to cross and 7000 km of cycling. I must say, I am a little afraid, but also looking forward to get there. Let’s go.
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