Yawn, just another China trip....

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by rhiekel, May 19, 2009.

  1. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

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    Great job, Robert! I am very envious. :D
     
  2. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

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    Again Fantastic trip and so sorry that they turn you back,, but as you mentioned that the border will be closed by midnight,, any change that one would camp bit outside and try crossing around 3am or so, would that be possible, or is it totally closed and crossing is not possible even from side ways?
     
  3. cdrw

    cdrw Ol'Timer

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    I hadn't seen a post on GTR from Rhiekel in many months. I wondered where he'd disappeared. Evidently, he'd been prepping for this trip and the wait for another Rhiekel trip report was more than well worth while!
    A stellar report and pictures...thanks!
     
  4. rdg_john

    rdg_john Active Member

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    China.

    The translation of the Chinese on the flag:

    Walking from Chongqing (City name, surrounded by Sichuan Province)

    to

    Makabucha Commemoration (a Buddhist celebration held in Prathamaga Temple, Bangkok on Makabucha Day, February 06 -11, 2008)

    through

    Yu (the short name for Sichuan Province), Qian (the short name for Guizhou Province), Dian (the short name for Yunnan Province) and Zang (the short name for Tibet Province)

    TAN Jiaguo (his name)

    February 04, 2008
     

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  5. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

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    Traveling here in many ways is fascinating, but also very frustrating. The simplest things become a long drawn out problem. I have traveled to many countries, and it is always interesting to me to compare and contrast behavior in different countries. If a Chinese biker went to America to tour arouind, I wonder how he would feel if:
    1. The American government had stipulated that the Garmin map for America
    was off by 400 meters, so now he would be lost in every large city.
    2. He was forced to stay in three star hotels in every large city, with small
    reasonably priced hotels refusing by law to book a room for him.
    3. He could not travel on the freeways, so all traveling would have to be done
    on time consuming secondary roads. Painful if you are trying to make a
    long trip.
    4. He had his heart set on seeing the Grand Canyon. However the American
    government had declared Arizona to be a Special Zone that you could
    not enter without a permit. And a permit would not be granted if
    you were on a motorcycle....

    I am sure he would return back to China and tell all his motorcycle friends that America was a terrible place to tour around in, and advise his friends not to go....
     
  6. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

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    I spent four days in Dali trying to work out the travel permit to Lhasa. The only thing I could come up with was a tour company that wanted to get four people together for a tour, and they would simply add my name onto the list of the tour group.
    So a truck , a driver, and an " official " tour guide would set out from Lhasa. They would then drive to the border with Yunan, pick everybody up, and then drive to Lhasa in 7 days. With my name of the tour group, I would simply be traveling behind the car on my bike. The total price for the tour would have been 19,000 Yuan. That is about 2800 US dollars. So my share would have been 700 dollars just to put my name on a piece of paper. Plus there is a strange two week waiting period for the permit to arrive via fax from Lhasa. So between the wait and the permit cost I decided that China does not really want foreigners to come to Tibet. Of course Chinese bikers can easily travel there with no hassle.
    Not really sure what China is so worried about. They have had control of Tibet for 50 years, you would think by now they would have a strong grip on matters. Yet they seem terrified at the prospect of foreigners wandering around on their own, and simply do not allow it. By law no foreigner is allowed to travel without a tour guide anywhere in Tibet. So still not sure if it is a Tibetan guide full employment act, or they do not want anyone taking pictures that the government does not control .
    The Tibetan plateau is one of the scenic wonders of the world, it is truly a shame the government has in essence locked it down.
    It is made all the more ironic by the fact that the unrest in Tibet in the past was all carried out by local Tibetans . No foreigners were involved. You would think they should be letting in harmless tourists, but keeping a close eye on radical looking Chinese and Tibetans...:rofl
    So time to leave Dali. But first a couple of pictures of the old town area. Like Lijiang , it is all new construction but very well done. Here is one the gates into the old town area.
    554564134_AxFhk-L.jpg

    And a street scene. The guy with the cart entering from the left is carrying charcoal for cooking.
    554564173_qkfaQ-L.jpg
     
  7. rhiekel

    rhiekel Ol'Timer

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    After leaving Dali, a cool rainy ride to Chixiong to meet up with Franki. Met him at bike shop where they were doing some work on his bike. Had a delicious dinner, then went out later with some of his biker friends. A great group of guys. I think Franki must have a million friends, everywhere he goes in China he seems to know someone. :evil
    Next morning I left early to try to make it to Simao in one day.
    Franki seemed a bit doubtful of my plan the night before, I should have paid more attention to that warning sign.:deal It was about 470 kilometers of winding rainy mountain roads. Leaving town, the GPS indicated I would arrive at around 6 pm. Wrong.........There was not really a good place to stop as there was a lot of mountains with only villages, so kept on going. I finally arrive in Simao at 10 at night, after a terrifying two hour ride in the dark.
    Note to self: Never ever ride at night in China.......
    Next day time to head for Laos, an easy one day ride. I was feeling a bit crabby about being turned back from Tibet, when I spotted this in the road. I did not know there were mountain crabs. He was looking pretty tough, apparently he did not understand much about cars......
    554564213_VhHU6-L.jpg

    Mid afternoon I rock up to the China Laos border. This is the exact same border crossing that I went through two years ago with the same Chinese plated bike. So I wait in the small line, relaxed, and planning what trouble I can get into in Laos. I hand the official all my papers for the bike, and my passport. He studies them for a minute, says something in Chinese to the guy behind him, then hands all the papers back to me, and informs me that my bike cannot leave China. I stand there stupefied for about one second, looked him straight in the eye, and informed him that I will be leaving for Laos, and that my bike will be leaving with me also. This is a common feature of Asian laws, they seem to change a lot......In these situations, you must draw an exact middle line. If you do nothing and dumbly nod assent, things will not go well with you. If you rant and rave, things will not go well for you either......
    So the trick is to firmly maintain your position, and stick to it no matter what. It did not make any sense, as I have seen many Chinese riders touring around Laos. So the immigration guy sent me over to customs. The customs guys see me clutching a bunch of papers , with a determined look on my face, and decide they want very little to do with me. They then send me back to immigration after doing nothing. The immigration guy looks puzzled I am back, and asks what customs decided to do with me. I informed them that customs had sent me back to them.
    At this point he sort of rolled his eyes, and then simply completed the forms to send me through. Sure woke me up !
    Now time for the home stretch, the crossing of the Mekong between Laos and Cambodia. I normally take the large ferry boats, but they seem to have stopped for a long lunch break. So this guy with the small boat is hammering me to go with him.
    554564234_NQjd4-L.jpg

    First, traverse number one, onto the ramp of the big ferry. I am looking a bit doubtful, but the small boat captain keeps saying no problem, the phrase that always precedes problems. This view might look a bit scary if you were on a giant dual sport bike. For the little Chinese bike, no problem.
    554564273_KUE8k-L.jpg

    Then from the ramp of the big ferry onto the small boat.
    554564316_7XzA3-L.jpg

    And finally a view of the Mekong River, all grown up from the small river I saw on the canyon leading up to the Yunan / Tibet border.
    554564538_odAkk-L.jpg
     
  8. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

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    Really enjoyed your travels again.

    That is really sad that China is still in these modern time(rest of the world) desid to isolate them selfs and Tibetians from the world.
     
  9. ray23

    ray23 Ol'Timer

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    How can you sit one of these trips up legally I don't kind of luck you seem to have.
     
  10. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

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    Robert,

    As usual, you have taken what the rest of us call motorcycle touring to a whole new level...

    I do agree with what you wrote about China and it's attitude towards tourism... but then, they seem happy to set their own standards in most things...

    Really enjoyed reading your adventures, and kinda glad you didn't get into Tibet, because I know it will weigh on your mind and force you to do another trip and story...

    actually, not glad at all, disappointed for you, but really hoping you will have another crack at it soon...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  11. burnjr

    burnjr Ol'Timer

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    nice ride report bro.my dream to be there with my bike from malaysia. :arrow:
     
  12. lmacka

    lmacka Active Member

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    Robert, this is a great post!
    You have inspired me to buy a bike and spend the next ~6 months of my life riding around south east Asia. Been thinking about it for a few weeks and I think that if I don't do it I'll regret it for the rest of my life.

    I shall start a new thread seeking advice.

    Thanks again for the story! Look forward to your next post.
     
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