Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Map Gazing, Lanzhou

Ni Hao!

A good thing: I cycled into Xinkiang, China last week. Xinkiang, the north west plain of China, is dominated by the second biggest desert in the world, the Taklamakan which translated means: what goes in doesn't come out.
My dad points out that Taklamakan is an Arabic word. Makan means place and Takla means eaten out i.e. the place eats everything and nothing comes out.

A not so good thing: I spent a few days in Urumqi, capital of Xinkiang, to see if there would be a break in the weather/a miracle. It didn't stop snowing, the temperature kept falling and the wind started to blow..........so.........I took the gentlemans option of the train east, out of Xinkiang to Lanzhou.
I always knew the winter would bugger me eventually, a few trips on the bike around Urumqi convinced me that I am completley unprepared for an extreme winter ride across an empty desert. Any other time of year and I would have blazed a trail all the way to Japan but it wasn't to be. "Xinkiang the revenge 2007" is already in the planning.

China, a land of plenty. In Central Asia I wasted entire days searching for maps only to be told "nyeto" and tssked away buy a grumpy book store owners. Here in China it's possible to buy maps for every country in the world, including Iraq! Seem to have lost a few days somewhere on the way here. I thought it was the weekend but according to this blog it's Tuesday?!?

Been toying with the idea of continuing east, to Korea and Japan, but I think i'll lose too much focus going meandering off like that so i'm pointing the tyres south to S.E. Asia.
Since leaving Turkey, planning a route has been easy. In Central Asia there's only ever one road going to your destination. Here in China the route possibilities are mind blowing. I've been staring at maps the last few days trying to plan a route and been getting nowhere, now I realise why. This trip has been completley unplanned since the begining so why start now. I'll leave here soon enough and just see where the road takes me.

Until next time

Ham

And to all the people I know in Australia (all 4 of them), maybe see you next year sometime.

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