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19.11.09 22:48 Age: 9 yrs

China at last

By: Roger & Megan

And our first night out in the frozen wilderness

Since the weather and the knee injury had taken most of our remaining validity of our China entry window (until November 19), we had the enormous task of riding about 70 km to the border, through ice and snow, and over a mountain pass, in one day (to allow us 2 full days to negotiate the border crossing itself).  This left us with the very disappointing option of not riding, but instead hitching a truck to the border.  Missing our entry into China would be no trivial matter for us  - we had, after all, spent so very many days running around all over Kyrgyzstan just to get the visa in the first place!

Finally arriving (by truck, 17/11) at the border checkpoint on the Kyrgyzstan side, we were quickly ushered to the front of the queue, before being sent off to ride the 7 km of no man's land to the China side. We had a quick toilet stop as soon as we were out of sight of the border guards, then continued on the few km's to the first of the Chinese checkpoints.  We rode straight past the very long line of trucks awaiting at the checkpoint, all the way to the front of the queue again.

Here all our bags had to be offloaded from the quike (all 150kg of them!), before being rummaged through for contraband,  a short interview with a doctor (they are very worried about pig flu at the moment) followed. From here it was another ride to the second of the Chinese checkpoints, this time for an even more extensive screening.  X-ray baggage scanning, body temperature scans, the works. By the end of all this scanning and rummaging, it was already nearing the end of the day.  We rode on for a few more kilometres before ducking behind the first line of hills to camp - a VERY cold first night in China of some -25c or so.  But at least we made it in!