Tuesday, November 17, 2009
CRAZY SIGNS IN CHINA
We had made it to Shangri-La in the Yunnan provence with one day left on our visa. And when we walked into the PSB (Public Security Beurea) requesting another extension, we had expected a one week (or 2 week max) extension. It came as a complete surprise when the lovely police lady behind the counter gave us another full 30 day extension. She advised us that this was the last time and we must leave the country before it expires. I should be over the moon. Another 30 days is plenty of time to pedal down to the south east Asian countries. Another 30 days means that this trip can continue in the way in which it was originally planned. It means this journey should continue as a bicycle trip . But the thing is I've got lazy, or at least, I'm just so, so exhausted. We've covered 3,200KMs in China - crossing the world's second largest sand desert and rising to the Himalayan frontier. The thing is Markus and I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to come up with ideas since we only expected a final one week visa extension. I've seen all I want to see in China and now the excitement lies in getting to South East Asia. I'm happy giving my tired cycling legs a rest and instead I've decided to take a bus south. But before we go, we want to see our great friend Haji again.You may remember I mentioned meeting the American cyclist Haji before. He's 69 years of age and has more energy that most people half his age. He proudly held the torch for the Chinese olympics last year and he plans to cycle around Australia and South America next year. We stayed 3 days in Litiang (where Haji now lives) and once again, he was introducing us to all his friends and to all the best restaurants in town. Haji is the only person I've met who has completed the 2,200KM bike ride from Xining to Litiang and he lost 5 kilos during this 38 day cycle. Markus and I managed 1,600KMs before taking a bus after 21 days. Photos and stories were exchanged. The bikes got a service and we took a night bus down to the provincial capital of Kumning.