TravellingStrom

Riding to the end of the world, and beyond!

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China Transit Leg 1 – August

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 31, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

This will be a quick breakdown of what has happened over the past ten days, we are entering Mongolia in the morning(I am writing this 5th Sep), I am a bit nervous, but there you go, you get that πŸ™‚ I may get internet, I may not, if I do, I will update as I go, but not day by day, too hard out here, it will be condensed

So, after a night of drinking we needed some repairs done, but first off we were issued our Chinese drivers licences and registration number plates. The plates are just laminated paper, not metal, so they are to be kept in a bag because they wont last in the rain.

It looks like I will have to learn how to spell my name again!! After we washed the bikes we went to a large compound where they sell and service motorbikes. Here I found a Suzuki shop and with Benny’s help(he is our guide and interpreter) the mechanics pulled apart my clutch to see what was going on. Well, the drive plates were a tad burnt and one in particular was totally destroyed, this first photo shows what the plate should look like, the second is what the bad one looks like.

One of the others in our group had a set of drive plates, so I used them, plus the mechanic cleaned and sanded all the metal rings to add grip(they had been polished smooth by the slippage). There was quite a bit of damage to the bike from the crash and they fixed the following:

1- Replaced the spark plug spanner on my gear shift with a bolt
2- Re-welded and mounted the bash plate, not quite how I wanted it but it is now unique
3- Replaced the half broken foot peg
4- Fixed the hand guards

And a few other things, needless to say, I took the bike for a test drive just to make sure the clutch was good and I am happy with it. The plates are out of a 400cc bike, but they should be fine to get me home.

That evening we once again attended the night market. It seems we may have made a mistake last night, the local constabulary had told us to go to stand #1, but we think they actually meant stand Number One, and this turned out to be the case. This one was a lot better, the food was great and the Penguins got hammered!!! There was a group of drinkers next to us who shouted us food and sent over about 6 bottles of Penguin on top of what we had, nice people here in China πŸ™‚

It was a wobbly boot night πŸ™‚

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The next morning, here is a few shots of the town, from my hotel window and while taking a cab to the bike shop to pick up the bike, it was ready πŸ™‚

My Garmin is dead, bummer. It seemed to have got water in the screen when it got washed today, I went and bought a Torx bit and dismantled it, there is a crack in the screen, it must have happened during the crash and the high pressure water forced itself in between the touch screen and glass. It still fires up, but it cannot be operated 😦 I will need to find a Garmin place to send it to for a new screen, I have been advised not to send it anywhere in China, so I will be using the stars and sun now to navigate. And following Lorraine and/or Iain as I gave both of them a copy of my China maps πŸ˜‰

Tonight was a quiet night, I went and got some washing done, we ate around the corner and tomorrow we were heading east to Aksu

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31st August, 2012 and this morning we had a long day ahead so we started off in the dark. Well, actually the whole of China works off Beijing time, but we were near the western border which is two hours behind, so although we left at around 7am, it was still dark cos it was really 5am local time, this could take some getting used too!!!!! So after fuelling up, another hassle which I will mention later, we hit the highway, we don’t need to pay any tolls, we go around the toll gates in the bike lane, cool πŸ™‚

The early part of the ride was interesting in its own way. The desert to the right, the eroded hills to the left and riding into the sun, it was different, but I was excited, I was finally riding in China, all papered up and no worries at all πŸ™‚

We came across a crash site, it must have been very recent, one truck had clipped another, I think the driver is no more 😦


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I put that movie there for a reason, because it shows what can happen and here is a series of incidents that we had to contend with all day. What made it worse was the dust storm that blew up which made for bad visibility, all these movies are short but just show how stupid the Chinese drivers are!!!

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So, it was hot, dusty, windy and sandy and when we stopped for lunch at a roadside diner we created the normal interest amongst the locals. Today’s food was a noodle soup with meat and vegies with fresh hot bread rolls to soak up the soup bit πŸ™‚ Here is where my chopstick use got some more practice, you either get good at these or go hungry, mind you trying to catch a noodle is hard, but once you get a bit in your mouth, you just suck it up!!!

Next job is the refuelling issue. Apparently motorbikes are not allowed on the forecourt near the pumps, you have to park to one side, then they use a large kettle, you guess how much you want(been there done that) and they fill it that way. This is very efficient for the small bikes they have here but more dangerous for us larger tank bikes. It can take three fills to get it done properly and quite often there is spillage which is not a safe option 😦

Another not so nice subject is the dunny’s, or toilets for those not of the Ozzie persuasion. All hotel rooms we have stayed at have had western style pedastal sitters. But, usually at those same hotels, the foyer dunnies have been eastern squatter type which is strange? But, out on the highways and in the villages if you are lucky you may get a stench filled squatter, or as in this case an open stall type over a trench!

Now, we have a rating system for these, especially the girls who have to get a lot closer normally, a number 1 is clean, a 10 is blurgh. The cafe we just ate at had a 15!!!! This is the strange part, cleanliness seems to be in order in the streets, a leaf falls on the pavement and a sweeper is there, same with most rubbish etc, but there is no regard for these holes in the ground, they are just festering away and considering I have been battling the trots since Russia, I am very acquainted with all forms of these, anyway, no more on that crappy subject! So, back to the refuelling, after a not very messy effort at the last servo, the next one had Chris spitting, this chap had no idea and after seeing the mess he made I cracked a spaz and forced him to use the pump on my bike, sometimes it works πŸ˜‰

A little while later we enter the city of Akesu in style, what could be better than 8 adventure riders cruising the main drag in formation πŸ™‚

After check in and a well earned shower, I went to find a bank to get some cash out, then it was time for dinner, it would not be a late one as we had another long day tomorrow, this evening it was meat filled dumplings and some BBQ’d meat on a stick πŸ™‚

OK, that takes us to the end of August, I will see what happens when I get into Mongolia, I should be able to catch up as internet access is normal, when I can find it. But, I do now have access to Facebook via my email, so I can post a few photos and other updates if I get 3G coverage.

Cheers from China
TravellingStrom

10 Responses to “China Transit Leg 1 – August”

  1. Richard, regarding the moronic drivers in the videos one could be excused for thinking that the scenes were from Western Australia. Your updates are really well worth waiting for mate. Ted Rees

  2. mark said

    Hey Richard, you might be past due for some metronidazole/tinidazole. Google it, and Google amoebic dysentery and make your own decision. You’re not supposed to have the trots for weeks on end, and if you’ve got amoebas (typical symptoms: intermittent trots for weeks on end which don’t respond to antibiotics) you need treatment before you do permanent intestine or liver damage. Think of it this way: serious liver damage would put an end to your drinking days. Is it worth the risk?

    Enjoying the reports and photos!

    Mark

  3. Christine said

    Hi Richard
    Now you are experiencing the joys of road travel in the far east – there are no rules except s/he who is biggest wins… so beware it gets worse, because you haven’t hit the busy bits yet πŸ™‚ Agree with mark, find yourself a doctor & get on to some antibiotics. Get better so you can look out for spider flavored noodles and chocolate flavoured cockroaches when you get to Laos! (and no i didn’t get the chance to try them so you can be the guinea pig). Actually you might find crumbed spiders on sticks in China – they’re a delicacy!
    Cheers
    Christine

  4. aaron said

    Hi Richard,

    great to see u are having fun – In china. it’s definitely everyone for themselves on the road – what u experienced is common – wait until you see cars/trucks overtaking on a blind bends – we constantly encountered that last time we were in china – the more rural the more likely this is the case (road rules are for suggestions at best) – so, its nothing against bikes in a way.

    take extreme care – but enjoy and go with the flow

    aaron AKA Acerider

  5. Bob said

    Did anyone provide an explanation to why they insist on fueling motorcycles from a kettle?
    Great blog. I enjoy your descriptions, photos and videos.

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