Across Continents

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Lie of the land

December 6th, 2010

china - web

It’d been suggested a quick refresher might be helpful. China is pretty big. Roughly the size of Europe. But a bit more populated. These days people knew where it was. But less so what lay inside its borders. I’d not been exactly sure myself until I’d arrived.

So. A quick recap. Bit of a teach-in. Divide into four quarters. Bottom left. Bordering India and Nepal. Tibet. Rarified atmosphere. Mountains. Big ones. Cold. Even in summer. Probably.

Top left. Urumqi. First city I’d visited in China after crossing from Kazakhstan. And deserts. Lots of the stuff. Very hot in summer. And bitterly cold in winter. Mostly bleak and barren. Stuff of the Silk Roads. Ancient trading routes running as far as Xi’an.

Top right. Don’t know. Haven’t visited. Too close to North Korea for my liking. Finally, bottom right. I’ll let you know. That’s where I heading next, en route to Hong Kong.

Sweeping generalisations I admit. For, beyond Lanzhou, towards Xi’an and the city of Wuhan, terraced, cultivated hillsides are more the norm. Often at deceptively high altitudes, much of the route above that of the summit of Ben Nevis. No more desert. And Wuhan itself lies on a wide flood plain. Swift riding.

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