Tuesday, November 17, 2009


When the Chinese set up a road block, it will stop 99% of traffic.

To be sitting on this bus for the second time of this trip is terribly disappointing. The dream of cycling all the way to the Pacific Ocean has been broken again. Markus and I have talked about this already and we both agree, that the hardest part of long distance cycle touring is not the cycling. The physical act of pedalling around the world (and many long distance cycle tourers will hate me for saying this) is not really as difficult a task as most people would imagine it to be. But the most frustrating bit is dealing with the police, the complicated visas, the bureaucracy. If nobody needed a passport to visit different areas of a planet which we essentially all own and if national anthems and flags were irrelevant, visiting this beautiful planet of ours (rather than across individual countries of whoever) would be a much more enjoyable experience.Today had been a truly exhausting day with the police but most of the dealing I've had with them in China have been fine. Here, in Western China, there is still a very heavy and noticeable presence of them. I've been asked a good few times if I plan to go to Lhasa, capital of Tibet. Tibet is now completely closed to independent travel and any vague interest in the place raises alarm bells. 'Beijing'. I keep telling them Beijing; I want to see great big walls and terracotta warriors and panda bears....But Beijing is not where I'm going. It all comes down to my visa extension. If I get 30 days, I will presue Plan A of riding to Laos through Western China, just outside Tibet. If not we opt for Plan B. I don't know what Plan B will become, but it will never be as adventurous as Plan A. I'm on this bus to Xining, with the sole purpose of getting a 30 day visa extension. Everything revolves around this 30 day visa extension.

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