Tiffany's Trail to Tibet

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tiffany, May 13, 2011.

  1. Revenue

    Revenue Adventurer

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    Hi Tiffany

    Thanks for the good advice, just been looking and a heated jacket only 150/ 200 quid, its nice to have advice from people who have ridden there, its the lack of Oxygen as well that i have not taken into account and my lack of space as we dont have a support vehicle like you guys. Havnt a clue what i will do with it when i get to Thailand, as the temp is usually 20-40 all year round, maybe the need for a trip in the reverse direction in 2013 !!
    Bought some Diamox will start taking in Kashgar, before we start getting into any great altitude.
    What time of year where you riding in Tibet??

    Thanks

    Eric
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Hey Eric
    Carrying everything on a bike is always a tricky one (and I'm often two up with all the camping and cooking gear), and although we had the support van it didn't carry anyone's luggage, everyone was responsible for their own stuff and packing it on their bikes. And yes, we all packed away the heated gear once we got back into China and were hitting the hot and humid monsoon season, late June and July we were there. I hope I didn't sound too strident about heated gear- just passing on what our group had learnt.
    What are the dates for your trip?
  3. Revenue

    Revenue Adventurer

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    Hi Tiffany
    I am a Yorkshire man, we have broad sholders!
    I have always found it easier and cheaper to learn from someone elses mistakes and i accept advise from anyone who has done this ride.
    I will be leaving Scotland the last week in July, we enter China at Kashgar on the 6th September and hopefully pop out at Laos 37 days later, thats the sort of plan at the moment, things can change in the world as you know at a moments notice.
    We have basically limited China to 4 people 2 bikes and one 4WD, logistics and skill levels can be a big problem on that route and we wamted to keep those to a minimum.

    Eric
  4. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    The Reaper is going to love some of these pictures :D
    Never one to be shy about what I eat, I've been making the most of the street stalls and food stands that are scattered throughout every town and village in China, adventuring with a differenet twist with some varied results. The dark brown hard boiled egg merited a small bite before being given to one of the street kids. The weird and wonderful array of tofu has been a big hit with me. I have to admit, I often don’t even know what it is I’m putting in my mouth, just that it’s hopefully not meat or fish.
    This guy's stand looked good and busy

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    then I looked a bit closer

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    I think those were the frogs

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    Continuing the french theme, were the snails

    while below, God knows what they were

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    And these, well, they look like cocoons to me

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    The crowds gathered when I was at some street stands in Xining, the locals watching me with interest as I sampled a number of dishes, none of them costing more than 1 Yuan (10 pence in my money). At first I take a good look at the food on display, then watch how it’s prepared and then finally the locals eat it. If I’m opting for a takeaway, then the food is shoved unceremoniously into a small, see-though plastic bag, knotted at the top and handed over. Otherwise it's a case of perching on a small stool on the footpath or sharing a table with the locals.

    There have been times when I’ve realised in the nick of time, that whoops, the item I’m inspecting isn’t actually vegetarian in origin...sheep’s penis anyone?
  5. Marco Moto

    Marco Moto Voyager Supporter

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    Lol :rofl
  6. TheReaper!

    TheReaper! Been here awhile

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    I'll have the sheep vagina , rare please :lol3 .

    Oh man sittin here with my morning coffee green with envy , lookin at those moth cocoons and crispy cockroaches . Brings back fond memories of myself and my siblings , fighting over that last cockroach from the deep fryer . Who needs poached eggs for breakfast , when you’ve got a tray of puss loaded larva ? All you need is some fresh ground pepper and Kosher salt , yummy !!

    Wash it all down with some plague ridden H20 . Ya know what I always say ? Why wait for China to export her next plague , go there and be the first to get yours . :rofl


    OK OK just kidding , I’ll have the frog legs if you can get them to temperature . ( know what I mean ?) :deal

    TheReaper!
  7. DanielR

    DanielR Adventurer

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    Thanks for taking the time to post this report. :freaky:clap
  8. DDT Rider

    DDT Rider Been here awhile

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    Critters in the 2nd to last photo are Cicadas...this is the form they are in when they crawl out of the ground, then attach to a tree and out comes the final flying critter...they emerge here every summer....
  9. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    I'm really not sure if the phrase "crawl out of the ground" makes them seem more appetising or not:huh
  10. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    IHey Reaper
    I knew that post would get your taste buds moving :rofl

    More actual ride stuff coming up.
  11. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Daily we were enetertained and at times downright terrified :eek1 by what we witnessed on the road. These guys were one of my personal favourites

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    Yep - you got it, the guys trotting along beside the overladen lorry carrying the long pole are there to assist the lorry's progress, whenever there were droopy power lines (OK this is a developing country, when aren't the power lines drooping??) they would use their pole to lift the cable up and allow the lorry to pass underneath:rofl
    They were amused that I was amused as I stopped to take some photos- if you look ahead you can actually see another lorry patiently waiting for the pole guys to catch up with them at the next set of cables.

    Back onto dirt and we seem to have lost something

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    In amongst the tower blocks and sky scrapoers, some of the most amazing buildings

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    signs that we don't understand

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    not sure if I should be ready to duck down ahead.
  12. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    But not THAT wall, or at least not yet, time to head into a city again, keeping eyes open in all directions for unexpected vehicle manoeuvres.

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    We'd reached the famous city of Xian, the eastern end of the Silk Road, which we'd been following for many, many weeks since Istanbul, in some ways the end of an era for us.
    Xian is also renowned for its underground Army of Terracotta Warriors. Feeling like tourists and looking like them as well, we climbed onto a coach and were driven out to the site (our coach managed to have only TWO accidents in the two hours we were on board).

    Having clambered off the coach I proceeded to lose almost everyone in our group except my sidekick for the day, Tim, we used the Lonely Planet guide to find our way around and learn about these fascinating figures.

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    We were glad we’d followed the advice in the book as it meant we started at Pit 3 and worked our way back to Pit 1 which is actually the most impressive with its row upon row of soldiers in their thousands.

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    Each soldier is modelled individually

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    Some of them started to look a bit familar

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    This is Colorado Tim and his doppelganger.

    It seemed incredible that they were all created more than 2000 years ago, the detailed work that went into them is phenomenal, and as someone who isn’t usually very good at appreciating cultural stuff, I am proud to say that we took the maximum allowed time to have a look around. In fact we almost over-ran on time and ended up racing through the museum at the end hunting for the bronze chariots that Tim was particularly keen to see.

    I had a lot of time in Xian, as, due to the change of route we’d been forced to take, leaving Tibet, we had missed some of the highlights to the south including the monasteries and monkeys at Mount Emie. The group of riders was flown down with Mark and Leon the guide while Alan and myself stayed behind in Xian for several days. We busied ourselves with a thorough clean of the van, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor in the back as we removed the dust and dirt accumulated over the weeks of travel. Once the cleaning was done, I got up to date with the blogs for the company website as well as downloading, labelling and cataloguing the hundreds of photos that had been taken with the GlobeBusters camera (by the end of the trip, there were over 2000 pictures!).

    Lots of eating out, this is perhaps one of the more appetising dishes that have featured on this RR - vegetarian dim sum.

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    It tasted as great as it looked.
    With all my chores completed, we could relax for a day or so, though the torrential rain limited our activities - that's right, we're still in the monsoon season. One sunny morning we made it out onto the city walls for a look around, having heard that the walls are about nine miles in length we opted to hire bicycles. Unlike the Great Wall of China, this one is relatively flat, though just as wide at about 20 feet in width. There was a shortage of bikes and for a while it looked like we would have to hire a tandem, these bikes were somewhat decrepit and the thought of being on one wasn’t appealing. Luckily a couple of single bikes were brought back by some tired riders and so off we went. It’s a great way to see the city, up on a stone wall, above the choking lanes of traffic, going at our own speed and making the most of the cooling breezes. It provided an opportunity to gaze at the houses and gardens, getting a glimpse of everyday life in a Chinese City as well as looking down on temples, markets and back street shops. The saddle could have been a bit more comfortable in my opinion and after two hours of sitting on it I was left with a sore backside for the next few days. Unfortunately I can't seem to find the photos from that bicycle ride - maybe they'll turn up sometime and I can add them later, so much for my meticulous uploading and cataloguing!

    This was one of the incredible gatehouses that are up on the wall guarding each of the city's four gates, north, south, east and west.

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  13. GirlieS

    GirlieS Adventurer

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    Hey Tiffany,
    Great ride report I scrolled through it and saw some really familiar places.
    The tents you saw just before you were at basecamp Mt. Everest are not specifically selling things for tourists... there cheap hotels. I stayed for a couple of night in one of those tents (under a mountain of blankets).

    Great trip... I will bookmark it and catch up with the entire story. :1drink
  14. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Hi Henrike
    Good to hear from you and I like your user name! Enjoy reading the rest of the story, meanwhile I must get more of it uploaded.
    safe riding
    Tiffany
  15. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    We headed east out of the city of Xian

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    We were on the final stretch of our long journey from London and it was to prove one of the hardest parts. Eastern China is probably the most densely populated place on the planet and is also home to a large proportion of the country's industrial and manufacturing bases. Having spent our first few weeks in China travelling through rural areas amongst yaks and nomads in tents, it was now quite a culture shock to find ourselves in major cities, with huge sky scrapers towering above us and all the trappings of the 21st century from luxury shops and posh cars to smartly dressed business people. We were definitely seeing both sides of life in China. Traffic at times seemed to feature both the old and the new with decrepit, ancient scooter-style motorised rickshaws laden down with huge loads being overtaken by massive lorries thundering across the country to distant locations. We passed granite quarries which looked like they hadn’t changed their working methods in a hundred years, contrasting with the power stations (too numerous to count) belching out their clouds of pollution.

    A myriad of different industries were going on all around us, as I live in Cornwall, I felt particularly at home in this area where they were quarrying huge slabs of granite


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    Some of the industries weren't quite so quaint, looming ahead through the pollution and smog I spotted the first of what turned out to be many, many power stations along our route

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    For our final 10 days in China, we didn’t see the sun at all, the days were hot but the sun was constantly obscured by dull leaden skies due to a combination of the pollution and smog caused by the burning of immense amounts of fossil fuels. Our faces were a greyish hue and our snot was black – obviously (and yet again) not one of the factors that could possibly constitute glamorous in my job description.

    At times I found myself only able to take shallow breaths as whatever those noxious particles in the air were, they were doing a damn fine job of restricting my lungs (you can tell I’m not too good on technical details when I’m talking about medical or scientific stuff).

    The one constant was the weird and wonderful traffic around us, from a distance, this was another vehicle that looked a bit odd, like a truck cab travelling sideways.

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    Look a bit closer and you can see the name of this hotel...the Zingy Good Hotel, I'm not sure quite how that translates into Mandarin.


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    A welcome though unusual sight was this beer garden next to our hotel

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    Those aren't large beer glasses being filled but small "kegs" made of clear plastic complete with a beer tap on the side and a very sociable way to buy a round of beer. There was no kidding ourselves that we blended in as yet again we were the only foreigners around. I took a closer look and realised there was a distinct lack of women as well.

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    Another sign that was difficult to work out, I took a bit of a gamble following the red route, along with several mopeds and scooters

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    10 minutes down the road having been on the pavement (sidewalk) for a while, I was shocked to find the loose dirt and gravel combination became clay.

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    I struggled on as the tyres became caked with clay and didn't have any traction, following the smal;l scooters, which were being walked through

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  16. TheReaper!

    TheReaper! Been here awhile

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    In places like Xian 1 out of 4 children have asthma and people are all wearing breathing mask .
    The land and the water are also being contaminated at an incredible rate , in other words not a
    place you want to move to . Any one visiting should also be wearing a mask 24 / 7 .

    TheReaper!
  17. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    So Reaper, not only are you warning me about anything and everything I'm eating and drinking but I'm also not allowed to breathe anymore:*sip*, no doubt you'll be adding to your list as the RR continues.

    Meanwhile, here is a picture just for you of my favourite noodle chef, she works out of a shack beside the road and she produced the most awesome bowl of noodles I'd had since arriving in China.

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    No doubt you'll be wincing at the lack of visible health and hygiene stuff
  18. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Another fave, these guys loved the fact that I had pulled over to get their photo

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  19. Tiffany

    Tiffany Airhead Adventuress

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    Tackling congestion - the GS way

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    We all realised that you need to keep pushing forwards and jockeying for position otherwise you'll never get through, when I wasn't taking pictures I'd often be the one pushing towards the front. I had learnt to ride bikes in central London and I reckon if you can cope with its narrow streets choked with a multitude of vehicles which mostly seem to be driven by aggressive drivers, then you can ride anywhere in the world - especially when there are no rules.

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  20. TheReaper!

    TheReaper! Been here awhile

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    OK OK so I read to much :deal , but more people have probably died from POOP than any other cause .

    As far as the air in China's cities goes , just hold your breath and you'll be fine . :lol3

    TheReaper!