Some thoughts from Mike
02.06.2012 - 02.06.2012 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.