Across Continents

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A man called Eric

He too was called Eric. We laughed. But no, I couldn’t cross into the military zone that flanked the Kazakhstan side of the border with China. The Chinese side was closed. Until the end of the week. By which time my entry visa would have expired. Phone calls had been made, I’d crossed a few land borders before so knew how sometimes these things played out. But no. A dead end. For now at least.


They’d been clues along the road from Zharkent. A long line of lorries, of trailers, parked up, abandoned it seemed, just a few Turkish drivers wandering about, waiting. I’d checked a while back, and again in Almaty a few days earlier, that the Khorgas crossing – a major border post – would be open and was assured it would be. No doubt in good faith.

Disappointed? Yes. I’d pushed hard to reach the border, made compromises ordinarily I’d not have even considered. Down-hearted? No. Which surprised me at first. But, fact was that given the scale of the project, information on the road ahead often scant or confused, significant language barriers to overcome, the odd blow to morale was always going to happen. Just a question of when. Suppose I felt pleased I’d got this far without any major dramas. And I was still going to cross China. Just not today.


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