Day 184. Areletuobie – Wulan Hate

Posted: November 12, 2015 in China, Cycling
Tags: , , ,

I squat, pants removed, over the hole in the cement. As the first shit spatters out with a burst, my neighbour leans forward and looks at me around the chest-high dividing partition.
‘Where are you from?’
My next brown package explodes out.
‘Germany. By bike.’
I get the thumbs-up (with pants down).

River

River

And so the conversation goes. I am quite proficient at it now in Chinese. From Germany. Yes. 15000km. 10 months. Via Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan. Australia. 2 years. Worked at Philips. About $10000 (amount I have spent up to now). Today my story brought me an invitation to a picnic on the river with bread and honey from the local stall. A lovely couple from Urumqi with 2 small children invited me to join them.

Picnic friends

Picnic friends

This morning, before I was allowed to leave the hotel, my passport had to be shown to the police again. It’s stressful – you aren’t allowed to camp, and usually, you can’t stay in a hotel either. Other cyclists that had tried my planned route had been turned back by the police, and so I was nervous approaching the police checkpoint at the turnoff. My fluorescent vest removed, all filming equipment hidden, I was luckily part of a massive crowd of people that were being waved through. Still, no hotels for me on this stretch of road, lest I be taken to the police and turned back.

Cycling up the river my mood changed. It was not flat, hot, busy and boring, but rather, I was following a lovely forested valley with a beautiful raging river. The river abounded with lots of beautiful flat places to pitch a tent away from view of the road, and so my hopes were high. I planned to camp just before the road left the river to wind its way over the pass. Unfortunately, holiday yurt developers had the same idea. The last 10km before was wall-to-wall yurt – a bit like the Spanish Mediterranean coast but Chinese style. Then it started to rain. I would risk it. I asked some yurt owners if I could stay in the yurt. They were only boys, and probably don’t know about reporting tourists to the police. Yes. I could pitch my tent behind a yurt for free, or stay in one for 150 yuan. With the rain getting heavier, a yurt it was.

Comments
  1. Eliza Waters says:

    The forest and aqua river was lovely and how nice the people seem (minus the police).

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