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Published: October 24th 2016
Wednesday 19 Oct.
Still dark when we got up thanks to the change of clocks, but left hostel by 10.00 out of Kashgar and through Kargalik to the start of the 219 (photo opportunity). The land started very flat and the visibility got poor but the road was good. However we failed at the first checkpoint about 65 km in when it appeared we needed to register with the police as well as have all the necessary permits. This was because of a terrorist attack earlier in the year but neither our guide nor agent were aware of the requirement. So about turn to Kargalik where we arrived by 5.30 pm - after about an hour and a half the decision was made for us to stay in a hotel overnight. This area of China does not have tourist hotels but our Chinese speaking guide managed to find rooms for us. Not sure what tomorrow brings as we have still not registered and we can't roam freely in the local area.
Thurs 20 Oct.
Meeting at mid-day. Registration refused, even after appeals to the Chief of Police. So revised plan in place to follow the G315 to Golmud and then consider options from there but Everest Base Camp still an option. Looks like long drive days - plan is 6 days but we think if roads are good we may do it in 5. We have 22 days permit but we have used 4 already so limited options.
So ... First replan - we take the G 315 across miles and miles of desert to where we are now (Golmud) and collect our Tibet guide, and bush camp ready to enter Tibet this morning (Monday 24th). We get to the first checkpoint (not even the border) and the new ruling here is no vehicles carrying 20 people can go along the road towards Lhasa and Everest Base Camp (We are 27 plus 2 guides and Adam and Brenda). Seems even the Tibet guide nor the Chinese Guide, nor the local agent were aware of this! So back to Golmud where we are now in a hotel overnight pending the next decision. On the plus side we have the chance of a shower and to catch up on some of the laundry.
Camping has also been challenging. 3000 metres doesn't seem to have been a problem but the cold in the morning is awful. Yesterday when we wiped down one of the tables someone left a sponge on it, and it froze to the table, and we have had ice forming on the inside of the washing up buckets. Fortunately I have bought myself some fleece lined rubber gloves!
.... Decision made - we take an alternative route and see some sights in China and don't visit Tibet. Disappointing but I am happy with this. Will let you have more details of the route when it is published.
PS: Well done Matt and Gemma on the launch of their book 'Make It, Own It, Love it'. Available in all good bookstores!
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