Archive for October, 2011

October
31st
2011

China By Numbers


China by numbers

We had only a basic idea of what we would find in China, with a change in diet after our cycling in Mongolia one of our highest priorities. After spending almost three months cycle touring in China we barely scraped the surface of the incredibly diverse and complicated country. We experienced some of the worst roads and most challenging terrain of our journey so far, but we also experienced and learnt about a number of distinct cultures. We experienced firsthand the environmental challenges China faces while cycling on traffic and smog choked roads but also bathed in the unspoilt beauty of national forest parks and the mountain landscapes of the Tibetan plateau. – Posted by Justin

October
31st
2011

Chilling In The South


Chilling in the South

On arrival in Kunming, we had three very important missions: replace three of our tyres, arrange Vietnamese tourist visas and watch the Rugby World Cup final. A quick visit to Xiong Brothers bike shop near Yunnan University solved the tyre problem on Saturday. On Sunday the All Blacks scraped together a victory against France while we watched from bar stools amongst a crowd of New Zealanders, who all appeared to speak fluent Mandarin. Finally we handed in our visa applications to the Vietnamese Consulate early on Monday morning, arranging to pick them up two days later. With nothing much sparking our interest in terms of tourist sites, we spent a few days doing not much at all in the garden of Camilla Hostel. – Posted by Emma

October
28th
2011

19,000 Kilometre Photo


19,000 kilometre photo

The 19,000 kilometre photo was taken approximately 30km outside Jianshui, China on 28th October 2011. This would become our longest cycling day in China due to lack of camping spots and the fact our map’s distance markers were out by 30km forcing us to cycle 127km – a little further than we intended. Out of shot was a small Chinese boy who continued to shout “hello” from a nearby house for the duration of our photo shoot. – Posted by Emma

October
22nd
2011

Harvest And Hotel Time


Harvest and hotel time

Hotels in China are some of the cheapest and most widely available of any country we have visited on this trip. This combined with shorter daylight hours as we head southwards and the densely populated countryside, has seen us spending an increasing number of nights indoors. In fact our route from Tiger Leaping Gorge to Kunming saw us only camp out for a single night in ten days on the road. – Posted by Justin

October
19th
2011

Day Of Food – China


Day of food - China

When we arrived in China we were looking forward to a big change from our Mongolian diet and we weren’t disappointed. Most menus offer a bewildering array of options all of which we are unable to appreciate not being able to read more than a few basic Chinese characters. Our ordering tactics include pointing at dishes that other diners are eating, wandering into the kitchen and selecting from the food on display or using our trusty point and show phrasebook. The cooker is remaining idle as we eat mainly at roadside cafes for prices cheaper than we can buy raw ingredients. – Posted by Justin

October
12th
2011

Searching For Shangri-La


Searching for Shangri-La

Far from any dreams of enlightenment, we find ourselves in Shangri-La primarily because the town is on our way south. Formally known as Zhongdian, in 2001 some clever marketers decided that the town was the location on which a 1930s fictional account of a lost utopia was based. Before we enter the old town, we cycle through typical Chinese modernity, the main street of town rich with tourist dollars. Against the blare of loudspeakers from shopping malls we spot several wedding convoys, made up of gaudily decorated Humvees trailed by pickup trucks carrying exploding firecrackers. I doubt we’ll find our personal utopia in town, but thinking of the things we need to fix and replace, we are sure we will find something. – Posted by Emma

October
10th
2011

18,000 Kilometre Photo


18,000 kilometre photo

The 18,000 kilometre photo was taken near to Baishuitai, China on 10th October 2011. We were cycling with Kate and Jason who were our art directors and supporters for this photo. Having climbed a lot of passes in bad weather on poor road surfaces in the last 1000 kilometres, we were glad that for this photo the sun was shining, we were at the top of a hill and there was smooth asphalt as far as the eye could see. – Posted by Justin

October
6th
2011

Chasing Autumn Colours


Chasing the autumn colours

Heading south from Litang with our sights set on Shangrila, the trials of cycling through the mud drenched road works between Kangding and Litang seem like a distant memory. The sun is shining, the asphalt is not only present but delightfully smooth and long gentle descents easily outweigh the short uphill stretches. Even the presence of a drawing pin in my front tyre noticed by a concerned monk during our first morning noodle stop couldn’t dampen our spirits. – Posted by Justin