The time had come to leave Kashgar and head for Kyrgyzstan.
The mission for today was simple. Ride about 110km on good bitumen to the new Chinese Customs and Immigration post at Ulagqat, clear Customs and Immigration, ride another 150km on bad dirt to the actual border at Irkeshtam Pass, enter Kyrgyzstan and ride 70km on good bitumen to the little town of Sary Tash. Continue reading
The city of Kashgar has been home to the Uyghur people for many centuries. Successive Chinese dynasties have tried, with varying degrees of success, to control this harsh region many thousands of kilometres west of Beijing. Known by various names over the centuries, it was most commonly referred to as Kashgaria or more recently as East Turkestan. The local Uyghur people have far more in common (language, religion, ethnicity and culture) with the nomadic peoples of Central Asia than the Han Chinese far away to the east. Continue reading
It was time to leave Tashkurgan and, as I repacked the bike, I was again the source of much curiosity for some Chinese tourists. One of them was confident enough to ask me where I was from. On hearing my reply of “Australia”, the curious tourist replied “Gud diy, mite!” in his best approximation of Paul Hogan’s accent. He seemed very pleased with himself. Continue reading
One of the many bits that I left out of the last blog was that my bike was impounded overnight.
Even though I had cleared Immigration and my luggage had cleared Customs, because we had arrived so late Customs had refused to process the bike itself. Consequently, I had to ride the bike to a bonded store about 1km from the Customs post and leave it there overnight under lock and key.
This left my guide, Abdul Rekip, and I stranded in some dingy industrial estate late at night with no transport (no buses or taxis at that time of night). Fortunately, the hotel was only about 1-2km away so Abdul and I trudged off into the gloom of the night until we finally arrived at the hotel well after 10pm. It had been a very long day and night and I was relieved to find the hotel room had a shower with relatively trouble-free hot water. Continue reading