Archive for September, 2011

September
28th
2011

High Life In Litang


High life in Litang

We hated it at first. Arriving exhausted and cold into what looked like an unfriendly frontier town in the late afternoon, I wondered what the hell we were doing in Litang. Every hotel we entered looked battered and beaten up, beds were unmade, hot water was unavailable and prices were extortionate. A group huddled around me as Justin enquired at yet another. An elderly man touched my bare knee – ‘Wasn’t I cold?’ I could tell he was asking. Cold? We were at 3900m. – Posted by Emma

September
25th
2011

Raising My Spirits


Raising my spirits

We seem to be the first traffic on the early morning road and enjoy the swishing of the smooth slightly damp asphalt under our tyres. The green fields filled with quietly grazing shaggy yaks rise towards craggy exposed rock and a sky just brightening as the sun climbs skywards. There doesn’t seem to be much that could improve our cycling day other than a big bowl of fresh steaming noodles and that lies just a few kilometres further down the road. Over the coming days asphalt will become but a distant memory while the swishing of tyres will be replaced by muddy squelching. For now though everything is right with our cycling world. – Posted by Justin

September
20th
2011

Breath Of Fresh Air


Breath of fresh air

It takes us 150km to clear Chengdu and the surrounding towns, all merged together in one endless noisy highway. We’re hoping that our salvation will lie in Western Sichuan, rumours of proper mountain passes, pockets of Tibetan culture, Buddhist monasteries and the quiet that we’ve been missing leading us west as fast as we can pedal. – Posted by Emma

September
16th
2011

17,000 Kilometre Photo


17,000 kilometre photo

The 17,000 kilometre photo was taken on the outskirts of Ya’an, China on 16th September 2011. We had just turned off the G108 road that we followed almost the whole way through China and onto the G318 that would lead us westwards. You can’t tell from the photo but the traffic was busy as usual although we had ducked onto a quiet footpath for a few hundred metres. – Posted by Justin

September
15th
2011

Sichuan Foraging


Sichuan Foraging

With Chinese food a lot more regional than we ever would have guessed (so far no soya sauce, no dim sum and no crispy duck), when we crossed into the Sichuan province just before Guangyuan we suspected dining would get a whole lot more interesting. According to our annotated English map of China the region is known for Sichuan spicy food. By this, we had imagined noodles laced with red hot chilli paste so we thought we’d be able to spot and stop any over-hot food with a polite ‘bushi’ (no, in Mandarin). – Posted by Emma

September
4th
2011

Of Pollution And Panda Poop


Of pollution and panda poop

Hectic, noisy, polluted and fast are just a few words to describe our cycling in China to date. Most days see us racing along busy roads where we jostle for space with trucks, grabbing a bowl of noodles in a packed cafe surrounded by staring faces for lunch and then as dusk rapidly falls hunting to find a camp spot or taking a hotel room if all else fails. However we had heard good things about the road between the big city of Xi’an and Chengdu in terms of scenery, peacefulness and interesting cycling so we were eager to get rolling. – Posted by Justin

September
1st
2011

16,000 Kilometre Photo


16,000 kilometre photo

The 16,000 kilometre photo was taken in the town of Foping, China on 1st September 2011. In an area with 0.4 pandas per square kilometre we were lucky to have three available to pose with us for this monumental photo. To be honest the photo was snapped at 16,012km but we thought the pandas were worth waiting for. Our panda encounters on this day weren’t only with the concrete variety as we unexpectedly had a sighting of a real live panda a few hours earlier. – Posted by Justin