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Leaving China

Some thoughts from Mike

sunny 23 °C

Leaving China. Some thoughts from Mike.
We are sitting at Erinhot near the border of Mongolia, caught up once again in the Burocracy Battle. Two ladies (agents) have spent 2 days at the border smoothing the way. One of them is the wife of the 2IC of the Liberation Army and has a letter from him which is supposed to work. They also have a letter from the Tourist Minister but local official lsalways seem to want to flex their muscle. Driving through China has been almost exclusively on motorways, between 4 & 8 lanes. You get quite good at dodging trucks and undertaking seems to be acceptable, the Emergency Shoulder is good for this (also stopping for locals to have a pee). Driving in the cities has been an experience but is made simple by the lack of road rules. If you want to change lanes you just do it. We have also done several touristy things including a theatre performance, which was quite outstanding. The Cultural Revolution has demolished and obliterated a lot of their history but with the help of Gvt money, the locals are trying to reinstate and repair such things as City Walls, Buddhist Temples and the like. There is obviously huge sums of money being spent on restoration of the Terracotta Warriors, buried by Emperor Chin (spelling), and the huge stone Buddhas in the Grottos and caves have to be seen to be believed. The road building programme puts NZ to shame. Leaving mainland China and entering the Autonomous Region of The Peoples Republic of China (Outer Mongolia) was the first glimpse of blue sky, white clouds and sunshine. Until then there has been a haze of smog which seems to envelop the whole the country. So far we have done 3,000kms and only lifted the bonnet to check the oil and water. It seems to the ideal car for the job, BUT the Gobi desert starts tomorrow, so we will see. Apart from a head and chest cold which is starting to dry up, we are both in good spirits. A little tolerance and understanding is essential when dealing with such a diversified group, some of whom are not exactly team players.

Posted by THEMIKNADS 20:43 Archived in China Comments (0)

Tight Lines (if we were fishing!)

Tight timetable

overcast 25 °C

Shaolin Monks Kung Fu show pretty amazing, as some of you have seen on google. Temple area HUGE. Everything is enormous here. You should see the road and rail construction going on. And appartment blocks by the thousand. Many people to roof!!.
Time is tight and we are off on yet another 400kms today. Was at the Terracotta Warriors yesterday and that is also something else.
Mike has a head cold but doping him upto cope. Thanks for all messages, haven't got time to reply emails . Love to all and kisses foe the kids.
Gran60 & Gramps

Posted by THEMIKNADS 17:13 Archived in China Tagged haiyuan Comments (2)

We have won the War

Wof's and on the road

An earluy start (26th) to be at the testing station to be first in line for our WOF's and Regos.
Cars are all emision tested, which we all failed, brake tested which most passed, light tested but not indicators or dipping ability. We all pass but the burocracy rool on and the paperwork has to go to the Police Station to be verified. Another 2hr wait in the steaming heat. Eventually get underway with presentation of WOF and Temporary Chinese Lisense Plates (Laminated plastic).
Our 270kms westward journey takes us 4.5hrs with stops for fuel and food.
The driving in Shanghai turns out to be not as dificult as we were expecting and Mike has coped well. There are only two rules--don't hit anyone and don't get hit. Traffic lights are ther for indication only, everyone is quite polite and traffic flows well.
Keeping nine cars in convoy has been helped by the aid of radois in each car, and has worked well. We also have a local guide in the lead car, and without him we would have a great challenge at interchanges etc. The motorways are fast and huge and trucks belching emisions.
China is one big smog filled country. Our first day on the road wad 270kms and we coped.
Second day we drove 680kms and we are all pretty tired. Some sightseeing tomorrow at the Shaolin Temple and a Kung Fu demo by the monks.
Both well no Beijing Belly so far.
Thanks to all for your messages.

Posted by THEMIKNADS 06:50 Comments (3)

Acquiring The Cars

A day of patience required

overcast 19 °C

The bus arrived at 9.30 and we had an enjoyable trip towards the Port which was supposed to be 1.5hrs of travelling. Somehow the bus driver got onto the wrong road and we ended up doing 60Km extra, but in doing so drove us across the longest bridge in the world which runs out to the port over the sea. Quite a great journey and one not scheduled !
Once in the right location we had to wait for the heirachy to return from lunch. The waiting around was getting to all of us, but things started to happen and the drivers were allowed to go tho the vehicles in the containers and drive them out. More hanging about,things can drag out here. Then the rest of us were allowed to procede to the cars. More bloody checking for chassis numbers and finally that was finished. But alas we were not allowed to drive the cars until a WOF was done at an inspection depot. More waitindg and drama as all cars had to be trailered to the depot.
So all in all we spent the day up to about 8pm doing nothing but had to be present just incase they needed us !!!
So in the morning we have to be at the depot at 7.30 to be present for the inspection.
Then we are on our way and will be so pleased to do so.
Have seen a few of what Shanghai has to odder the tourist and it sure is a clean, tidy and pretty city.

Posted by THEMIKNADS 07:18 Archived in China Comments (2)

Battelling Burocracy

Driverd Lisences.

Everywhere in the world you can drive with an International Driving Permit from the AA, EXCEPT HERE IN CHINA. !!!
It has taken us most of the day to obtain a temporary Drivers Lisence and we still don't have it yet.
The process starts back in NZ with sending copies of our NZ lisence and that gave us the right to apply when we got here.
This morning we were ferried to the Traffic POlice Dpt (by bus) where in building No 1, after queing we were photographed.
Building No2, after a series of more queing we were weighed, measured, dexterity tested, hearing tested, eyesight tested, ECG (sort of), blood preassure tested, all in seperate rooms. Then quite a lot of hanging around waiting, before going to watch some Chinese videos of road accidents , their concequences, and their extraction of confessions from the perpetrators (tears and all). Finally more forms to sign and we were allowed to go and sit on the bus.
Unfortunately the bus driver had a slight comong together with a car as he entered the Police Station. So he was detained and eventually they got us another bus despite the fact there was little sign of a dent. Hopefully we will receive our document tomorrow. That will be something to cherish and keep somewhere in a safe place. That was an exercise of patience and tollerence and a way of extracting more money from the tourists.

Posted by THEMIKNADS 01:34 Archived in China Comments (3)

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