After finishing my six year long law degree and before I join the real world of working life as an Articled Clerk, I am going on a bit of an adventure. I will be travelling solo along the Northern Silk Road from Beijing to Central Asia, with a few extra stops along the way: Xiahe, Langmusi and Tibet.
I intend to follow this rough itinerary:
China - Beijing, Xian, Lanzhou, Xiahe, Langmusi, Tibet (Lhasa, Namtso, Yamdrok, Shigatse, Everest Base Camp), Jiayuguan, Dunhuang, Urumqi, Kashgar.
Kyrgyzstan - Osh.
Uzbekistan - Tashkent.
My journey starts on 26 November, so stay tuned!
January 20th 2008
Quick Announcement I am back home. It happened all of a sudden really, one minute I was planning on buying a train ticket to Samarkand and the next thing I was reserving a seat on an earlier flight home to Melbourne. There were a few reasons behind this, but mainly I was over it all; the constant travelling, the difficulty of it all (which my chest infection just added to), and I felt that I had done enough of the 'touristy' sights. I have enjoyed my trip immensely, it was amazing to see so much of China and to see how the landscape and culture changed as I moved west through the country. China is an amazing country and there is so much more that I would like to go back and see; I would love ... read more
January 14th 2008
Andijon is a 'modern city' but I didn't see it I caught a taxi from the border to Andijon and asked the driver to drop me off at the Hotel Andijon, which he took to mean 'a hotel in Andijon' and just dropped me at the first hotel he found which turend out to be ridiculously expenseive. I asked the hotel staff to point me in the direction of the actual Hotel Andijon and was told be a couple of guys that it was closed, I should have seen that coming. Anyway, these two guys ended up being really helpful, they helped me change some money on the back market and then put me in a cab heading towards a cheaper hotel. Although, there definition og cheaper was a hotel that was once pride of place, ... read more
January 13th 2008
My chest infection got worse, but it hasn't kept me down! Okay so the last time I left you I was in Osh, well now I am in Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, but first let me connect the dots. My last night in Osh was supposed to be "pretty cruisy" remember? Well, it started out that way, David and I headed out to find some dinner and not wanting to go the freezing cold restaurant from the night before we headed to one that looked warm, sat down and David asked for the menu. The waitress looked at him and asked why we needed a menu if they only served one thing, chicken. Not wanting chicken we asked for some beers, she left only to return a short time later to say that they didn't have any ... read more
January 10th 2008
I am in Osh! Just a quick blog this time. The bus trip from Kashgar to Osh was definitely an experience I won't forget for a long time. In the end it took 35 hours to get here; it took 4 hours to get from the start of the Chinese border crossing to the end of the Kyrgyzstan border checkpoint (although they were relatively hassle free); the bus got bogged in four foot deep snow and was stuck for almost an hour; the bus driver's solution to get the bus out was to hook up a tow cable and get all the men off the bus and from the surrounding trucks to try and pull the bus out and after that didn't work only then did he try using a truck to pull the bus out ... read more
January 7th 2008
Last day in Kashgar I finished my book last night. I couldn't help myself, I had to know what was going to happen. That meant two things, one I was up until very late and two I now don't have a book to keep me company and hold little hope of finding another one anytime soon. Because I was up so late, I was also late to rise but this was ok as I had planned on having a lazy day. I headed into the bathroom to turn the shower on and let the water run until it was hot (a far-cry from always turning tops off and being so careful about water back in Australia!) but all the shower did was give a loud sigh, make a gurgling noise and die. Nothing. Not even a ... read more
January 6th 2008
A day at the markets Again functioning on Xinjiang time today I made my way to the markets and arrived at 9am-ish (Xinjiang time) and was amazed to find that the market that supposedly starts filling before dawn, was largely still closed! I wandered around what was open and then went and found somewhere for some breakfast which consisted of baozi (steamed buns with no flavour) covered in a stew-like sauce that had meat, and veges in it; they were pretty good in the end. I headed back into the market and wandered into the hat section and I went a little crazy here. I bought one of the hats that all the Kashgar men are wearing, although I'm pretty sure my 'fur' is fake and not in fact the mink I was told it was, ... read more
January 5th 2008
A lazy day in Kashgar From my wanderings and my trip to the international bus station yesterday I found that 'Xinjiang Time' is alive and well here, albeit not entirely officially it still exists. The deal behind Xinjiang time is that China has only one time-zone, Beijing time, despite being so large. However being in the far west and so far away from Beijing things operate on a different clock over here, a clock that is two hours behind Beijing, the Xinjiang clock. So today, I slept in until 10 Beijing time but it was really 8am in Xinjiang time so it was ok. My first port of call today was the international bus station, after yesterday's fiasco of waiting around for nothing I was determined to get a ticket or a damn god explanation of ... read more
January 4th 2008
An afternoon in the old town I caught a taxi from the station to a hostel heavily recommended from the LP and from a few other people I had met in Beijing, and I must say that it is pretty darn good: good price, good rooms, HOT showers and in a good location. I had the room to myself and enjoyed my first proper hot-shower in four days, yeah I was beginning to smell a bit. I put on clean clothes, first time in two days and headed out into all that is Kashgar. The taxi ride took me through the centre of town and so far I was unimpressed, another regular Chinesified city, big buildings, big square etcetera etcetera. However after leaving my hostel and heading out, I made a beeline for the 'old town'. ... read more
January 4th 2008
The last of Dunhuang Photos have been uploaded but no labels have been given to them as this stupid Russian keyboard won't let me, its complicated, but at least you can see them! I have been all over the place in the last few days! My last day in Dunhuang was pretty low-key while also intense. I woke quite early and packed my bag ready to cehck-out and catch my train later that night, but first I had to make sure I could extend my visa. I headed to the PSB and to the 'Aliens' section and explained that I wanted to extend my visa but I wanted it done in one day, I was given an approving nod and a visa extension form to fill out. I filled it out but had forgotten to bring ... read more
January 1st 2008
Happy New Year to everyone! While my New Years' may not have been the best I have had, I had other things to worry about and they are the two things that travellers definitely don't want to be worrying about: money and visas. Yesterday, after my day trip with the taxi driver I hired him for another day to see a few more of Dunhuang's amazing sights, however after getting back to my hotel I realised that I was a little short of cash, I had enough for the day trip tomorrow and the entrance fees but not enough for food or the next day's accomodation, bugger. I headed out to the bank. I have been using a Visa debit card (you use it like a credit card but you only use your own money instead ... read more