Day lord knows…

“the civilised world flies on the golden wings of wisdom” Seen painted on a wall by the side of the road…

So.. we are in a city. I know not what its name is, just that it is China and people are staring at me like I have two heads. After four punctures and 115km we got here.. from yet another forgetable nameless city. The high number of punctures are due to the Chinese inner tubes, the natural dispensation the Chinese have for smashing glass bottles on the road and sheer bad luck. If you want to get stressed try taking all the bags of your bike, swapping both the tyre and the inner tube then getting 5km down the road only to repeat the process. whilst being stared at. Always the staring.

The worst or maybe the best, at least the most memoroable for being made to feel like a complete freak/celebrity was yesterday when we tried to get a taxi into Tibet. We have elected to cycle down the 212 as opposed to the 213 that runs through Tibet (ignore what the map say’s it is Tibet) as it is too cold at altitutde. so by coming down off the mountains we give ourselves a buffer against winter, which we are on the cusp of at the moment. The problem is that all the Chinese have taken the same attitude and the population here is staggering. The longest we have gone without seeing anybody is ten seconds. After the desert it feels a bit too much. Every square inch of land is terraced for farming, mainly cabbages and sweetcorn. Tractors and trikes labour along the road oblivious to the lorry drivers whacked out on imitation red bull drinks (red deer, red camel etc..). In a word stressful, but the scenery is a marked improvement on the pollution that we saw going in and out of Lanzhou.
So after Fergie’s recommendation and our own morbid fascination with the ritual of Sky Burials we elected to leave the bikes in the hotel and take a taxi up into Tibet to try and take a photo of some vultures eating a corpse. The things I do for you dear reader…
So after twenty minutes drawing pictures of cars and pointing at a map we get the hotel to call up a taxi, another fifteen minutes on the street haggling a price with the driver led us to being swamped with kids. As the crowd grew, traffic was stopping to see why two wide eyed idiots where remonstrating with a taxi driver… We ended up jumping into the cab paying the higher price just to get away…
To cut a long story short we misjudged the distance. Badly. 12 and a half hours in a taxi to cover 300km. That should give you an idea of what the roads are like… To give credit to the taxi driver he never once rolled his eyes when two westerners got in, paid him a days wages to drive to the middle of nowhere, get out, take a p*ss, shrug when the bloody thing you went all the way there to find could not be found, then get back in the car and ask to be taken back to the city…
We did eat Manti with some Tibetans who where riding round on motorbikes herding yaks and horses. One of them had an american flag covering his motorcycle, an expensive pair of trainers, a mobile phone and asked Martin and I for cash. Isn’t globilsation great….

Speaking of which Chinas coverage of the G20 meeting is funny but not as amusing as their coverage of the UK students protesting over tuiton fees.. Which side of the fence do you think china sits… I was reading in the China Post last week (China’s daily english paper) about the nobel prize winner who shall not be named… I am paraphrasing now as I can not remember the exact quote the author of the piece made but it went along the lines of ‘human rights should never be geiven precedence over national soverignity’….. Voting tory looks like the soft option now eh… And when did you turn over from the dross that is CCTV onto the Military channel? Different world folks… Speaking of CCTV the state owned television station, we where interviewed back in Kashgar and we might have been put on air, we might not. I might have been on German TV as well but hey ho..

As a matter of reference I should mention that after another long struggle to find an internet cafe and then another ball achingly long ordeal/argument to ask for a computer we have been led into a ‘private’ room with laminated screens, soft lighting and even softer chairs.. ahem..

On a higher level than the gutter.. go see what some friends are up too…

http://lemicronomade.jimdo.com/english-version/

Yopu have my respect for that one, wonderful to hear that you are still alive.

Right next post should be in Chengdu where there is rumoured to be an Irish bar and wait for it…… CHEESE! In a country of lord knows how many million you would think somebody could teach them how to make a cheese butty…

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