fredag 29 juni 2012

Urumqi to the border and Kyrgyzstan

I had luck leaving urumqi in the afternoon, got a 1.5 day long ride all the way south of Taklamakan desert, to Hetian. From there i made it to Kashgar and finally the last 150 km to the border. The road was terrible the last bit and it took a day. At the border in the morning the border guards checked my passport and claimed I was lacking a exit stamp(so make it please!) The explained this was not longer the border post, the imigration has moved to Ulugqat. ULUGQAT? Thats 120 km back, on the worst road. There was no way i had to go back. Another 6 hours in a truck. In Ulugqat i was told to come back on monday(this was friday) The border is closed on the weekend.. I wanted nothing else than to cross into Kyrgyzstan but there was no way. Finally i went back to Kashgar, had dinner with some Uiguyr people i met, got a mild food poisoning, slept on the roof of an artifical cave, tried to do busking cause i was almost out of money having changed my cash earned in china to euros. Made 10 Yuan(1 euro) in 20 minutes(great huh). Hitched back towards the border, got a cold, spent some time next to a river, was given loads of nan bread and tea by the people in the villages as i was walking to make the time pass. Monday morning, caught another truck went 7 hours to the border, slept in an abandoned shop on the border. crossed finally into Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday morning. I was worried they Kyrgyz guards would make some long and uneccesary search of all my bags but nothing, the first guard greeted me with a handshake and said 'welcome!'.

Caught a Kyrgyz truck to Osh, beautiful road, so nice throught mountains and rain. Lots of yurts along the way and the horses and sheeps ofcourse. My driver invited me to his house outside Osh and i was treated with the most delicious food and then a well earned rest, having slept badly for some days. In Osh i stayed a few days with a couchsurfer. Mostly walking around and juggling in the parks ofcourse.

City of Osh seen from the sky
Next i headed northeast, taking the small road from Jalal-abad to Kazarman, the road was narrow and steep, heading up up up, into fog and rain, lots of animals on the road. Stayed one night in Kazarman with the driver and family. The onto the emty road to Ak-tal, bought some supplies and started trekking to Song kolm an lake on 3000 m. Before the evening i was offered a ride(which i later had to pay for) Another mountain pass with narrow dangerous curvs. Only this time it was in the night with a car from soviet times. So, the battery was crap i suppose, had to push it to start, sometimes overheated and we had to fill up with water, then push it downhills(backwards) for the driver to start in reverse. Doing this on the narrow road with the cliff closeby i was happy to be pushing, not driving. Rain came and ofcourse the windshield wipers occasionally stoped working making visibility hard or non existing. As a grand finale up on the pass the headlight ocassionally stopped working, leaving a pitch black narrow road in front. Scary.

Hardcore vodka drinkers of Song kol and old car
Two nights in Song kol with mixed feelings for this place i left walking.. Until a car offered to take me down the pass, some more walking and finally reached Kochkor in the evening. There happend a weird story, a little bit funny but quite sad involving 4 drunk men fighting eachother somewhat over me and then hugging crying fighting again, ah the story requires explanation however lets for now leave it to one simple explanation, Men drinking to much vodka.

Finally made it to Bishkek where im staying with Couchsurfers and making a Kazak visa. The there is two routes and i have to choose. Russia or Caucasus. I prefer russia but visa is difficult atm..

Henry managed to hitchhike a horse a few km

onsdag 6 juni 2012


Almost 3 months ago since i wrote anything in this blog, partly because china has an internet block on certain websites, partly cause internet is hard to find unless you have a computer and partly cause i've been busy doing other things. Well im still in china, in Urumqi, a city of almost 3 million people and the city in the world furthest away from any sea.

North of Lijiang

Entering china in March from the border of Vietnam was a huge contrast, no more muddy small roads but big highway systems. I made it to Nanning as first city where i just stayed a few days with a couchsurfer at the university campus. Then heading for Kunming, Yunnan, a province in the very south west bordering Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. I stayed for some time, what was meant to be one two months across china became two months in Yunnan, mostly concentrated on busking, making juggling and acrobatic shows. The time divided between the cities of Kunming, Dali and Lijiang. Met up with friends and got a short job juggling at a festival outside of Lijiang. For one month working together with an Argentinian girl making a clown-acrobatic-juggling show which we performed on the streets of Dali and Kunming. Busking in China works well, a few places the police tells you you have to move but always in a very polite way. One visit to the police station in Lijiang i had to promise never to do busking in the ancient city of Lijiang again, IF i would do so i would be forced to pay 1000 Yuan(125Euro) in penalty, letter signed and nicely sealed with around 15 fingerprints. All  accompanied with lots of tea and a relaxed atmosphere in the police station.
Painting in Fabrizios house in Dali, 40 random words
Debora and Henrik in the mirror, Kunming

Practicing for the evening fireshow in Dali
Another Painting in Dali

Yeah time went fast in Yunnan with lots of friends and projects.. Made my second extension(and last possible for tourist visa) in Kunming, then helped my Argentinian friend who had injured her foot to the airport in Chongqing where she flew back to south america. From there, the airport of the huge city of Chongqing i started the nonstop hitch to the north. First day i didn't make it far, too many highways in every directions slowed my progress north, got hosted by the staff of a highway toll station that night, next day i made it further, still having problems explaining what im doing to most Chinese drivers thought, some times i were left in the very south of a city and ending up walking for half a day through the whole city south to north, to get on the right road again. Standing on a gas station somewhere outside Tianshui, just west of Xian, the friendly staff at the gas station offered me to sleep in the generator room and helped me catch the best ride the morning after. Two trucks carrying 19 cars each heading for Urumqi. I went with them for 50 hours, sitting in one of the cars they were carrying. Sleeping comfortably at night and in the day seeing the mostly flat landscape of northern Gansu province and east Xinjiang pass by.

I arrived in Urumqi 2 days ago and now waiting for my Kyrgyzstan visa, the cost was a hard 455 Yuan(60 euro) for the slowest process time 5 days. On Monday i pick it up and head straight for the border. Another 1500 to go in China..

Henry, Urumqi
50 hours throught Gansu and Xinjiang provinces, Western china