Home in Dushanbe

Dean doing our dishes!

Dean doing our dishes!

Dean is washing the dishes in the bath tub tonight… He also made a bottle opener out of a coat hanger for an $8 bottle of wine… Times are tough… We have just arrived in the apartment we have rented in Dushanbe for the next week and have found that the ‘double bed’ has a single mattress in the middle of it and there is no sink in the kitchen or the bathroom. It’s all very strange but it is the cheapest place in town for $16 USD per night! Everything is expensive here in comparison to the last 8 months of our trip… I guess that’s what you get the closer to Europe you get!

So now we have the visa wait to do. We have two options… Our original plan was to go from here to Uzbekistan, a transit visa through Turkmenistan then to Iran but based on the reputation of rejections and slow processing time of Turkmenistan we have a back up plan which is from here to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, transit visa through Russia to Georgia, Azerbaijan then Iran… It’s a long way round but a way to avoid waiting on our asses for 2 weeks for a possible rejected Turkmenistan visa in Dushanbe…. So… First we have to wait for our ‘letter of invitation’ to come through for Iran, which should arrive in the next couple of days… Once we have this we can start to work out what path to take.

One of the spreads put on for us for brekfast...biscuits and evaporated milk and bread?!

One of the spreads put on for us for brekfast…biscuits and evaporated milk and bread?!

The ride here along the Afghanistan border was beautiful. Afghanistan would be a beautiful country to travel around one day! We tried to take a road that had been recommended to us but due to a lot of rain the night before and my dislike for skidding in deep soft mud for kilometres on end on the edge of a mountain we had to turn around and take the highway.  I was happy to walk  but we had no idea how long the mud would go on for and it had started to rain. We both felt defeated to turn around and I felt extra bad as I knew Dean could have done it without me. It was shaping up to be another stunning ride too.

Me washing all the mud off my boots in a stream

Me washing all the mud off my boots in a stream

Anyway, back on the bitumen we made our way to Dushanbe. It was beautiful but not the same as the previous few days… Or maybe we were over saturated with beauty!

The ride to Dushanbe

The ride to Dushanbe

It was a slow ride as the traffic police here are full on. We think the speed limit must be 60 but there are no signs to tell you. We were pulled over twice but we usually managed to get away with the ‘we don’t understand’ act. They get impatient with us and realise we’re not going to give them a bribe so they shoo us away. One smart policemen got a friend that spoke English on the phone (he didn’t go for the ‘we speak australian’ act) so we couldn’t really avoid this one. It was going to be a $8 fine for 10kph over the limit which we would have paid. While Dean was waiting at the police car for three policeman to write out a ticket I was sitting on the bike watching car after car speed past. After a while I impatiently took off my helmet and jacket and stormed over to the police car…

‘How many policemen does it take to write a ticket!?’

They smile nervously…

‘One,  two,  three,  policemen for one ticket as there are cars zoom zoom zooming past all the time?!’

They smile again,.. I think they understood… the main fat lazy policemen who was writing the ticket then handed Deans license back to him…

‘Go…. Good luck’

We were not sure if he meant good luck for our journey or good luck with your mad girlfriend, but we got away with no ticket or bribe so we were happy!

So here we are trying to make a temporary home in an apartment with only half a kitchen and half a bed, trying the local vodka and eating Russian caviar. Facebook seems blocked and or limited here and we expect the internet situation to be the same if not worse the closer to Iran we get. Hopefully this blog wont also be blocked at any stage!

Love xx

the Visa Circus continues

So… to get an Iran visa we need a lettor of invitation (LOI), which we’re currently waiting for in Dushanbe.  Hopefully it will arrive in the next two days.  We also need a new photo for Sally…

Sally in her iranian costume

Sally in her iranian costume

Then, it would make sense for us to travel through Turkmenistan to Iran, but to get the Turkmenistan visa, we need the Iran visa first, and then it takes another week… which would mean two weeks here waiting.

Instead, we’ve decided to lodge a visa application for Russia (5 days turnaround) in our EU passports while we simultaneously get the Iranian visas in the AU passports.  Then we’ll ride from here to Uzbekistan (we already have that visa), and then across the Kakakhstan desert (no visa needed), into Russia, then Georgia (no visa needed), Armenia (no visa needed), and finally Iran.

It’s quite a long way around (~4000km), but means less waiting in Dushanbe, and we get to see a few more countries and avoid Turkmenistan which is nothing special anyway.  Plus they kept us waiting inline at the embassy for an hour while important men were ushered inside ahead of us… so f*(k them.

Following this waiting at the Turkmen embassy, we went to the Russian embassy, where we found a crowd of maybe 50 people waiting outside, undeterred, Sally pushed to the front and pressed on the intercom, shouting


“come back at 3”   was the reply from the scratchy speaker at the gate, (it was 11:45am)


and we pushed through the door and into the security area, where a bemused looking Russian man took our details, confiscated my phone and let us in.

Once inside we met a lovely yound woman who explained all the requirements and costs to us.

“See, Sometimes it’s good to be pushy and demanding”






Quick update from Kalaikhum

Another day riding along the Panj river that forms the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Our view for lunch, Afganistan!

Our view for lunch, Afganistan!

More friendly people and amazing scenery all day.  I’m quite struck with the reception we’re getting, it feels like we’re in a parade and the crowd is continuously waving at us as we pass. Genuine, happy, big smiles from everybody – even the old ladies!

All the little girls smile shyly and wave, and the boys run out on the road at full speed wanting to high five us as we pass.

Smily children holding out their hands to be slapped!

Smily children holding out their hands to be slapped!

We slow a little and high five them back, which actually hurts through the glove sometimes, and I see them in the mirror jumping up and down and waving some more.

Never ending smiles and waves

Never ending smiles and waves

We were planning to camp tonight on the river but there are many more settlements on the Afghan side here and so I’m a little unsure about wild camping, plus there isn’t much space out of the view of the road, so we ended up in a guest house instead.  Funnily enough this guest house is the same one Paul and I stayed at in 2010, total coincidence!

An Afgani village

An Afgani village

Tomorrow we leave the border area and head towards the capital Dushanbe, on a road we’re told has some bridges missing, and therefore we have some deep water crossings to make, that should be great fun!

I can hear thunder outside now so maybe it’s good luck that we’re not in the tent tonight…

Hopefully we get another dry day tomorrow though.


We’ve arrived in my favourite ‘stan, Badasstan!


Yes there is a ‘stan called Bad Ass Stan! It’s an autonomous area in the east of Tajikistan, we even needed a special visa to get in here.

not a bad pic from my telephone!

not a bad pic from my telephone!

Somehow we missed almost all the rain and snow and eventually made it to Murgab yesterday after crossing the border, we even found a reasonable guest house where we got much needed hot showers!

traditional tajik house

traditional tajik house

Today we thought we might need to stay put to miss some more dreadful weather, but in the morning it wasn’t too bad so we took a chance and headed off yet again wearing everything we own.

we dont mind snow on the road when the sun is shining!

we dont mind snow on the road when the sun is shining!

We spent the day with snow and hail ahead, behind and on both sides of us, but somehow the gamble paid off, and we threaded the needle through the storms, stayed dry and even had sunshine for a lot of the day.

And what a stunning ride it was. We’re on the border of Afghanistan in the Wakhan Corridor, it’s high altitude desert, snow caps, rivers and mountains that go on forever.  We both agree that this area, kyrg and tajik is the most picturesque place we’ve seen, it’s quite amazing.

and the pics really dont capture it at all...

and the pics really dont capture it at all…

Lots of shepherds on the track we rode today, with beautiful little donkeys carrying impossibly big loads, shaggy mountain dogs, and children carrying baby sheep (too small to walk) in their arms.  Everyone is incredibly friendly too, we get big waves and smiles from everyone we pass.

emo donkey with big fringe, (all the animals are shedding their winter coats)

emo donkey with big fringe, (all the animals are shedding their winter coats)

Spending to tonight in a traditional Tajik home stay, where we sleep in a multilevel colourful room covered in rugs . Very cool!

Not enough internet to upload many pics, but more to come soon xoxo



Just woke up and making the most of our last day of 3g internet (2g here actually).

The clothes drying ritual was a great success last night so today we leave here dry and warm (at around 2degC) to ascend to the Ak Baital border crossing at 4655m where the days high temp is supposed to be 1!

I think my boots might even be dry, no small feat given the waterlogging they received yesterday.

Also on the up side, there is some sun scheduled somewhere today too.


This is where we’re headed now 🙂

Sary Tash


After the waterlogged ride into Osh, we decided to stay a few days in the little apartment we found for just $11 a night!

So we bought food and cooked three meals a day, washed EVERYTHING we own in the washing machine, drank some great Russian and Kyrg beers, ate caviar (at $1 a jar!) and watched the motogp.

It was really nice to make a place home, even for just a few nights.  So much so that when the owner let us know that two Russian men were also staying for a night we were actually a bit upset, especially since the apartment was tiny and we were sleeping in the lounge room on a fold out sofa.

Anyway, it was still nice, and the sun shone the whole time we were there.

Today however was a different story. Back on the road less than an hour and the rain returned as we climbed back in altitude to 3500m and the temp dropped to a balmy 3 deg.

We arrived here in Sary Tash totally freezing and with soaking wet clothes.  Shit.

Now it’s another night of trying to get things dry so we can get them wet again tomorrow, when we ride up to the 4655m Ak Baital pass into Tajikistan.

Lucky our bedroom here has a heat pad on the floor, like a big electric blanket, so all our wet clothes are on top to dry ☺

We’re staying in a home stay style place tonight, where we share space with the family running it. Right now we’re in their loungeroom because the wood stove is there too, and it’s below 0 outside 🙂

Might be a few days till we can post again as the kyrg sim card will not work in Tajik, and we’re quite remote here on the Pamir highway.

Big love to all back home xoxo

Mountain Adventures

I would like to start this post by saying what a skilled, amazing, talented rider Dean is. Over the last few days we have had rain, wind, snow, ice, hail, thunder, mud, water crossings, cows, horses, dogs, sheep, missing bits of road, gravel and massive puddles and not once has Dean lost control of the bike and fallen over. There have been a few close calls and some screams from me but amazingly we have stayed upright. Sure, there were some moments when Dean forgot what side of the road he was supposed to be riding on whilst having on coming traffic racing towards us but he soon came to his senses, remembered we were no longer in India and swerved to the ‘right’ side of the road!

While the sky was still blue!

While the sky was still blue!

So the last few days we have had all of the above… And we have been so cold and wet.

After spending our first night here in Naryn we rode up to Song Kul lake. It was a stunning ride and we have never stopped to take so many pictures. There are horses running around freely in the green fields (So beautiful), healthy cows chewing on the grass (a far cry from those in India!) and herds of sheep everywhere. The photos and words can’t justify how beautiful and idyllic it is here… Everywhere… Completely untouched.

A horse running freely

A horse running freely

Upon reaching the lake where it was about 3500m above sea level it started to rain… And it was cold… Around 2 degrees… The clouds obscured any view and the lake was iced over. We needed to get off this mountain!

more horses

More horses being horses

We finally made it down to 1000 metres and it warmed up to about 7 degrees so we stopped and had a picnic lunch off the side of the road on some lush green grass with a gushing stream and surrounded by cows.

Our picnic stop

Our picnic stop

The rest of the day was up and down mountains, rain, mud and puddles and always cold… But still, always beautiful. We finally made it to a small town where we found a place to stay. It had an outside toilet and shower which I wasn’t too happy about considering the temperature, but we didn’t have much choice and we were drenched and covered with mud… We were lucky she even let us inside although she didn’t look too happy about it!

Looking down on the road that takes us down!

Looking down on the road that takes us down!

Despite the hard day we were happy that we were only a couple of hundred k’s from Osh, a small city we had planned to spend a few days. It wasn’t long however until we found out that the road we had planned to take was closed due to bad weather and the only way to get there was back the way we came, an extra 1300 kms up to the lake and further north to get to the main road and come down the other side… We were devastated as we knew that snow and thunderstorms were forcast for the following day… Awesome.

The next morning we ground our teeth and headed back the way we came. Going backwards is such a disappointing feeling. After a day of convincing yourself that no matter how hard it is you are making progress, to go backwards is just so sad… It’s hard to justify it in your head anymore!

More mountians

More mountians

Thankfully the forcasted rain and snow held back for the first part of the day and we started to feel hopeful that we would make it over the pass before it would hit… Oh…. Way too soon…. Just as we got to the pass it hit… And it hit good and proper! Strong winds, snow, hail and rain… With our visors frosted over it was impossible to see, and when the visor was lifted the bullets of snow stung out faces… And then we came across a piece of road covered with snow – shit.

Before we reached the snow storm!

Before we reached the snow storm!

I jumped off and ran ahead to see how far the snow went while Dean tried to get off the snow without falling or going off the cliff. I saw that there was an end to the snow and we found a way around the road over a hill.

I saw the snow on the road and thought we could maybe ride over it, but the bike sank really quickly so I couldnt steer anymore.  Sally slid off  and I watched her run off out of sight through the snowstorm.  Half way across she yelled into the intercom “something is blue here, bright blue!”.  There was a big chunk of solid ice that seemed to be glowing from under the surface.  I really felt bad for Sal, hunched over running around like a crazy woman in the driving snow, trying to find me a way across.  But it was impossible, instead I managed to turn back and ride off the road, up the mountainside and back down on the other side of the snow patch, where Sal remounted and we rolled on at walking pace unable to see much through frosted visors, or feel anything with our numb painful fingers.

It was hard going but we made it down low enough to start to feel some feeling come back in to our bodies. The rain and wind continued and it felt like we were riding along with the storm for the next 100kms, at one point a thunder bolt hit the powerlines next to us with an almightly boom, and all the poles flashed a bright white light, Dean thought someone had just switched on the highway lights!

 Red rock that reminded us of Australia

Red rock that reminded us of Australia

Thankfully, just when I didn’t think I could take anymore, it started to clear up… Blue sky appeared, the sun started to shine and everything looked even more beautiful. We found a warm restaurant to have some lunch in and started to feel better about the next 150 kms we had to go. It was all feeling good until we got back on the road (bitumen now!) and another storm started to follow us. Both of us hunched over trying to face our helmets into the driving rain and wind… How much more could we take?!

About half an hour apparently! We started to see some bright sky ahead and we both punched the air! We were surrounded with snow covered mountains all around us and the sun was shining and the sky was blue… The world was beautiful again!! So beautiful.

Blue sky and snow!

Blue sky and snow!

We made it to our destination which was down at 1000 metres, it was warmish (around 14) and we managed to find a room with two heaters to dry everything we were wearing.

Dean had a beer and I had my first shot of vodka just to get into the Russian way of life. It was 80 cents for a massive shot and it was actually quite nice!

Yesterday we rode all day on the highway towards Osh. We were pulled over twice by police before finding out that the speed limit was only 60 kph… It was a slow day, and very frustrating to be back in a place where the road rules actually apply. Thankfully none of the police spoke any English (although one did tell us his name in French?!) and they quickly got impatient with our lack of understanding and sent us on our way. Sometimes it’s fun playing stupid!

Back down as sea level at a balmy 14 degrees!

Back down as sea level at a balmy 14 degrees!

We are now in Osh in a little apartment and will be here for the next few days. We are enjoying having a kitchen and supermarkets that sell cheese, pasta, wine and campari… all the things we have missed since we’ve left home! We will be leaving here on Monday just in case there are any concerns… And we will be heading south when we do 😘

into Kyrgyzstan


The Frenchies, Coralie, Alex, Seb, Cat and Olivier

The Frenchies, Coralie, Alex, Seb, Cat and Olivier

The last two days have been cold.

Actually I need to swear here and say the last two days have been incredibly fucking cold.  But that still doesn’t do it justice.

The exit from China was full of beaurocratic bullshit that took up most of the day, which left me at the 3600m Torugurat Pass at about 4pm, with a snow storm fast approaching and an angry girlfriend screaming at the guy with the key for the big gates leading to Kyrgyzstan

the last checkpoint in china

the last checkpoint in china

“open the fucking gate, it’s about to snow, we need to move NOW!!!!”

Eventually they waved us past and we rode 6km into Kyrgyzstan to be met by another set of gates, and by now the snow had started.  Luckily Olivier pulled up in the truck a few mins after us, so we sheltered inside while we waited some more.

and more gates, and snow :)

and more gates, and snow 🙂

Fast forward another 2 hours and we were ready to get moving.  The only remaining problem was that it was now -2degrees, and a snow storm was well and truly raging on the pass.  The wind tearing through the customs inspection area was bringing snow with it, so when i arrived at the bike to get moving there was a couple of inches of snow on the seat and the mirrors were coated in ice.

I had some strong reservations about leaving.

We were still at 3600m and the road stayed at about that level for half way to Naryn, 200km away.  The wind was blowing hard enough that i now needed to park the bike with the headlight facing the wind or it was going to blow it off the stand.   And it was freezing cold and snowing hard.  In these kind of moments I often wonder what Barton the mountain man would do.  Would he tough it out or would he say something enigmatic like

“Dean… there are no heroes on the mountain”  and then go looking for the nearest pub…

that's a 'lets get the hell out of here' look

that’s a ‘lets get the hell out of here’ look

Olivier, (who is also a mountain man), suggested that we could all stay up there for the night in the truck, a very kind offer as I knew he needed to be in Bishkek in 3 days, that’s a long way to go at 50km/h!  And as nice as that sounded, I didn’t want to put the guys out.  So we put on all our clothes and went out into the storm.

I was running through all the stupid places I’ve been before on Betsy, the Congo, the Sahara, Siberia… and trying to reassure myself that this was no harder than any of that so we should be fine.  Really!  Olivier drove out of the shed before me, and then pulled over to make sure we were in front.

“if it gets too bad, just stop and we’ll be behind you”

It was a surreal feeling riding out into the storm with snow streaking through the air and into our helmets.  For the first minute it wasn’t too bad, but then quickly the cold seeped into my hands and it started to hurt.  Both hands went numb from the wrist down, so intermittently I put one in behind a knee to get it out of the wind and try to get some blood moving again.

The road was wet, and ice was a real worry.  I hit the intercom

“babe can you hear me?”


“ok so if we hit ice on the road, we might fall off.  If we fall off, don’t put your hands or feet out, get it?”


“you cold?”


“if it gets too bad you tell me ok, we can stop”



Every 30sec i put a foot onto the road to feel for grip, trying to sense how much ice was on the surface, and I was wiping snow off the visor continually.   At one point i tried to clear the visor, but my hand just scraped across a layer of ice.  I had to really dig and scratch at it to get it clear, brilliant, ice on the visor, what next?!

A turn appeared in front of us out of the snow and I went for the brakes, but the steering  just went vague and we kept moving… we were on Ice.  Panic welled up inside me but somehow my now frozen brain didn’t react to it .  The only way out was to OPEN the throttle and try to get the rear wheel turning at the same speed as the road again, and then brake again but more softly.  Fortunately this worked and we made the turn…

I dragged my foot again, but the patch of ice was past, anyway I slow to 50km/h and we grind forward.  Then the bike starts to misfire, badly, and i realise the primary fuel circuit of one carburettor is blocked.  WFT?  Could it be frozen??  It’s too cold to stop and look at it, so I just keep going, we still have 100km to go… and now the bike will either run wide open throttle or not at all.  Not ideal.

the last part of the road to naryn turned to mud

the last part of the road to naryn turned to mud

We’re stopped at yet another checkpost where they want to see our passports again.  I leave the bike running and turn up the idle to try and thaw the carbs, Sally is yelling something at the guy behind the glass…

“cold, it’s too cold, please we need to go now”

He wants her to take off her helmet…

5 mins later we’re moving and thankfully the bike is running ok again.

I regularly tap Sal on the knee to ask if she’s ok, and get the usual nod or squeeze of the knees.  I know she’ll be hurting, but would never ask me to stop.  We’re both freezing cold.

The temp rises from -2, eventually to 5 deg and suddenly the snow stops, we’ve punched through the storm and the sky turns blue and the sun brings the temp up to a balmy 8 degrees, we’re both pumping the air as the feeling returns to our hands and feet.

stunning mountain scenery makes all the cold worth it

stunning mountain scenery makes all the cold worth it

We arrive in Naryn, find a bank, then look for a room, which ends up being a tiny apartment someone is letting.  It has a hot shower and a double bed too short for me to stretch out on, it also has a heater.  It’s perfect!  Sal heads out to buy some food while i unpack, then returns with pasta, a beer and a bottle of wine.

We enjoy a home cooked meal as we defrag, dry our clothes on the heater and rest weary limbs.

It’s been a really hard day, but one we’ll both remember for a long time.  I’ve tried and failed to convey the sensation of riding into the snowstorm today, fear, excitement, cold, panic all rolled into one.  I guess moments like that cant really be described, but as cold and scary as it was, these are the exact memories I cherish the most.

Entering China (belated post)

This was supposed to be posted several days ago,  but the wifi we had in China wasn’t fast enough to load any pics.  It turns out the wifi in Kyrgyzstan isn’t either… so no pics I’m sorry.

Our exit from Sost was fairly straightforward, the previous night we begged the border post to open an hour early next morning as we are now travelling with a family from France in a huge 4×4 overland truck and they’re comparatively slow, so we were concerned about arriving at Chinese immigration (200km away) before they closed for the day.   True to their word we were processed and ready to leave by 9am, when we said a temporary goodbye to the Frenchies (Hi Olivier, Cat, Seb, Alex and Coralie!!) and went back to the hotel to pack the bike, figuring we’d catch the truck within an hour anyway.

Back at the hotel, the manager (another Rupret), who had developed a deep fear of Sally for some reason, knocked on our door while simultaneously apologising, and murmered something about a customs officer downstairs.  I went down with our bags to find an angry man ordering me back to customs to explain why we were at our hotel instead of leaving Pakistan.

Some quick thinking and I explained that Sally was sick with diahorrea so needed the toilet, but he wasn’t convinced.  We all went back to customs again where I repeated the mime to the military and Sally showed them the toilet paper she’d sneaked out of the hotel and pulled a face.

(Insert mime of me pointing to Sally, then to my bum, making loud farting noises, then spitting sounds with my hand gesticulating wildly at something coming out of my bum.  Some of my best mime work ever.)

I had to try not to laugh when the commander waved us away with an uncomfortable look of genuine disgust.

So we were off.

The last part of the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan was really pretty, the river we’d been following for the last week shrank and shrank as we passed tributaries that snaked their way up into the mountains of northern Pakistan, and 50km past Sost snow began to line the sides of the road as the temperature dropped and the altitude climbed to 4900m.

On arriving at the border with China we stopped to take some pics, but were soon engulfed by people wanting selfies.  This went on for half an hour while we waited for Olivier, and then was repeated for them.  The Pakistan police and Chinese military at the post were really keen for us to keep moving, continually ordering us to go to the Chinese checkpost a few Km down the road, but first we had some fun in the snow throwing snowballs at the kids and just savouring the moment.

The military guys manning the checkpoint communicated with us in typical harsh Chinese language, ordering us around and generally barking instructions at us.  Remembering our experience at the Ping Seng hotel, I cracked a few bad jokes, and asked some stupid questions, which broke the ice and pretty soon they were all laughing and smiling… while still ordering us around 🙂

The process there took a couple of hours, the bike went through an x-ray scanner, and our bags and panniers also went into the office and were scanned just like at the airport.  The truck got a camera stuck to the front of it which was supposed to record their every move (but failed after 15mins!), and we were all off to Tashkurgan.

On the Chinese side the road was much flatter and straighter, so the truck was faster and without too much delay we arrived in Tashkurgan where we were supposed to meet our guide in the immigration hall.  This turned out to be harder than it sounds as EVERYTHING in china is written in Chinese… der.

Anyhow, we found the building filled with more harsh speaking Chinese officials, and fastforward 3 hours we parked the bike in the Customs quarantine area and took a taxi into town.  Our first stop was an ATM to withdraw some money where Sal and I ran over to the machine leaving our guide Sadiq waiting.

The ATM didnt work, and eventually Sadiq came over to see what was going on…

“is it ok”

“no it doesnt work, is there another one nearby?”

“yes aroud the block”

“Sadiq, where’s the taxi? Our bags are in there!!”

“oh shit”

Luckily our bags weren’t too important, they only had some clothes for the night, the computer, our phones and our frikkin passports!!!!!!!  BIG PROBLEM.

Sadiq swore in several language before heading down the street to talk to the other cabbies in the area.  It was a tense half hour as we waited on the street, but finally the driver came back and returned our luggage untampered.

Sally actually WoooHoooo’ed 🙂

Sadiq then took us all to a hostel where there was a pool table and a bar… the first bar we’ve seen for aboout 2 months.

“Do you serve beer?”

“yes of course”

“We love China”

The next day we went back to Customs where Sadiq did all the permits for us, and by about 11am we were on our way to Kashgar.  Luckily I decided to fill up before leaving town, a process involving us parking outside the petrol station, me being given a 7lt aluminium kettle that I had to walk to the bowser with, fill up and then pour into the bike outside again.  Luckily because all the petrol stations were closed for the next 250km!!

The road to Kashgar was badly broken up, it was raining and only 4 or 5 deg for the whole day, not much fun, but still we were really excited to be in a new country!

We arrived in kashgar where we found another cool hostel in the old town. We will spend the next few days here and eat as many dumplings as we can before we head over the border to Kyrgyzstan on Monday!

It is so nice to taste new flavours and eat Chinese again!!!!



A long day into Kashgar


We are in China!!!!

After an extroutiating slow bureocratic entry into China we finally got our bike out of customs compund and back on the road.  The coldest day yet for our trip, we rode 300km from Tashkurgan to Kashgar yesterday, most of the day in fog and  rain at 5 deg C.

The icing on the cake was the 100km of  roadwork, broken up tar or rubble that cris crossed the enormous overhead expressway that’s being built to replace the old crumbling road.

It’s difficult to explain just how cold you get at that temp when you’re also wet and moving, but I guess you could imagine stepping out of the shower dripping wet in winter, and then being blasted by an 80km/h wind coming from the refrigerator… for 12 hours.


Anyway, I’ll elaborate more later, but we’re here, we’re safe and we’re eating all the Chinese food we can get our hands on for the next 3 days.

Unfortunately the internet in China is censored, which means you can’t use Google to search for anything (they refused to comply), so Gmail doesn’t work, and Facebook is blocked, including messenger, WhatsApp  doesn’t work, and neither does Skype, PayPal and lots of other stuff that we haven’t discovered yet.  Our phones don’t connect to the Chinese networks either.

So basically we can’t call, email or message anyone for another few days till we reach Kyrgyzstan on Monday night.

Oh and all of China uses one timezone! So the sun comes up at 10am and it’s daylight till 10pm!

More later ☺