Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Headlong to Hong Kong

December 24th, 2010

Shezsign - web

Mid-afternoon. Ignore the Shanding Village Committee. Instead focus on fifty seven kilometres – about thirty six miles – to Shenzhen. City bordering Hong Kong – Chiang Kang in local parlance. Very close now. Focused riding. Covering the equivalent of cycling from London to Bristol. In nine hours.

Penultimate day in China. Tomorrow Christmas Eve. Crossing the border into the former British colony. Joining fellow Englishman Phil for some festive celebrations. And marking the end of Asia. Second continent then complete.

As the final full day in China, it was a fine test of skill. Provincial towns to navigate. A large city to circumvent. Huizhou. Minor roads. Dual carriageways. Now as adept at reading the road signs as finding somewhere to stop. Usually in a matter of minutes.

Not without a little drama. A long line of women at the roadside, south of the city of Huizhou, selling replica handguns and crossbows. The latter looked pretty real. Pulled up sharply. Curious. Thought it might make an interesting photograph. Instead an amateurish attempt at distraction theft. Petty pilfering a rarity, but still disappointing.

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Snow progress

December 16th, 2010

Winsnow - web

Next morning. First light. View from the window. Snow. But at least not the insipid, icy rain of the previous day. Perhaps the dry cold I’d hoped for. I’d know shortly. Soon be stepping outside. Be back on the road in an hour or so. Kit for the most part dry. Onwards towards Hong Kong.

Morale had recovered from yesterday’s dip. And the intermittent heater had, miraculously, managed to stay on all night. Dreading to think what the room would have been like had it stopped once again. I’d still slept in my fleece. Comfortable. Just.

But I was still a little vexed as to how I’d actually cross into Hong Kong. Ferry. Train. Or bus. Probably in that order of preference. Riding through the various border posts not permitted. Plenty of advice from various people. Much of it conflicting. Or at least lacking the certainty I was seeking. The bordering city of Shenzhen home to millions. Wandering around, trying your luck, and you’d be there for a week.

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Hong Kong bound

July 21st, 2010

China map

Central Asia was almost over. Next China, the aim to reach Hong Kong and complete the crossing of another continent. Roughly six thousand kilometres – about four thousand miles. Up to ninety days to complete it on my new visa, planning on arriving late September. I’d my maps, the entire country on two sheets so not big on detail, but at least they showed place names in both Latin script and Mandarin characters.

And the plan? Cross the border from Kazakhstan at Khorgas, three days ride from Almaty and a thousand kilometres or so west of the Chinese city of Urumqi. There’s some formalities to attend to on arrival, registering with the Police, which probably means a small detour to the city of Yining. And a chance to investigate the rumour that the internet may have been restored. An ATM would also be good.

Then the push east along the Silk Roads, south of the Dzungarian Basin, Turfan Depression, across the lower reaches of the Gobi Desert, skirting around the Tibetan plateau towards Hong Kong. Hoping I’ll find an all-you-can-eat buffet or two.

[A larger version of Ken’s route across China will appear on the website shortly – just click on ’Route’ and follow the link. The author is indebted to professional illustrator Claudia Myatt – www.claudiamyatt.co.uk – for turning his incoherent scribblings into something meaningful. Again. And thanks also to fellow cyclist Steve Tallon at www.turnrightforjapan.com for lots of helpful routing information and inspiring photographs]

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