on my way to delingha (photo by nancy)

Many ppl asked me about how i can get internet connection here deep in the desert of the taklamakan. And how i can access FB from China? Ahaaa!!! Thats magic hey! I can do miracles u know… :)

packing up in the desert before riding another 70km to delingha

Im now in Delingha. I see no tourist here. Im the only one. From my research, this town is actually off limit to foreigners! It also says that the China Army have some missile launchers here but i never see one. This town is like a lonely town in the middle of nowhere. I cycled for 120km from the last town i stayed in Wulan, and during my journey it was nothing in between, just plain desert. And after this town, the next big town i know which is shown on the map is Dunhuang, some 465km from here. So this town is indeed, very lonely.. just like me…
Warm Welcome

one of my fan lol!

I felt so good. ppl here been treating me like a celebrity. while i was cycling, every cars and motorbikes were honking and waving at me as they passed. Some even stopped, came out from their car with a camera… to take photos with me. All restaurants i dropped by, the restaurant owner will talk to me and all their family members and everybody in the restaurant surrounded me…. looking at me and asking me a lot of questions.

I could see no more Tibetan prayer flags here. I see more mosques now. I couldnt hear “Tashi Delek” anymore. It has been replaced by “Salam Alaikum”. This town is as clean as Wulan. I never see anymore spitting here. Felt good, to me, this spitting culture like many place in China is disgusting. Like when i was in Luding more than a month ago, a saw a woman sitting enjoying her meal, and there was a guy pissing at the floor right next to her! And the woman just keep eating! Thank god i never see those things anymore since Im here in towns on northwest China.
The Success!

now... i can ride swift on the desert... with these!

After more than a week on my quest in search for oats, finally today, in Delingha town, I found it! Victorious on the battlefield, I found oats! Well, i got greedy, so i bought 2 big packets of oats! U know, when ure cycling around asia or around the world, whenever u find oats and water, the feeling is just like when u find minerals and vaspin gas when playing starcraft,  or when u find gold and lumber when ure playing warcraft. No oats and water, means Im dead in the desert, especially Taklamakan Desert. Know the meaning of taklamakan? It means “Go inside and u will never come out”. This desert Im crossing is deadly! Oats… theyre the best food supplies for cyclists! Rice is too heavy to carry especially when ure cycling. Oats, they give much more energy than rice, more power! That means i can pedal further. Mix it with milk… good source of protein! Now 1 thing I still worried.. is water. According to my map… Dunhuang is 465km from here. that might take 5 cycling days. Both me and Nancy need to consume a lot of water for that 5 days. How am I going to carry that much water huh? I wont let Nancy carry so heavy things, she will get tired easily. Now, its my responsibility to keep both of us alive… and kickin’!

got my computer meter fixed!

typical Hui Muslim woman

Riding Along the Qaidam Basin!

Another easy ride today, we started very late as it was raining early morning. We only departed from Wulan after lunch, at around 1.45. Very easy ride, we rode at around 25-30km per hour as it was flatroad and the wind was blowing on our direction, pushing us towards Delingha, the next town that we’re heading. My meter computer doesnt work now, as the battery died. So was just guessing, we rode only 4 hours today, and i think we covered somewhere around 60km or more today. We were riding fast as it was easy. The weather was hot today, at around 27-30 celcius. Easy for us, as Im from KL and Nancy from Guangzhou. We had no problem riding under the hot sun.

Camping in the middle of the desert
We stopped cycling  at around 6.30pm as we found a good place to camp. We then setup our tents, ate dinner and enjoyed coffee together while waiting for the sunset. Nancy then took a nap as she was tired and i sat outside my tent enjoying the magnificent view of the sunset in the desert. I felt so good and peaceful. Listening to my ipod while watching the incredible view with my own 2 eyes, Im really living my dream now. Far away from the tension city life, far from the noise of the heavy traffic back in KL, far from pollution and the acidic rain. I then woke Nancy up, to let her enjoy the sunset view too. She then went back to her tent to sleep early, while me writing this blog inside my tent. Tomorrow is another easy ride to Delingha, maybe some 30km away from here, as my meter computer isnt working now.

Easy Ride to Wulan

good weather today mmm....

Another 76km of ride today, and that put us in a small nice peaceful town called Wulan. The ride today was easy, very easy, flatland and some downhill, and now in Wulan, we are down to 2905m altitude, down from 3060 back in Chaka. Only thing that slowed us down was, the wind was blowing against us. We rode along some very beautiful views. Slowly, the landscape changed from high mountains to a dry desert. We also felt the difference on the weather, from very cold temperature of Qinghai Lake to very hot Qaidam Basin. I came across the first camel on my ride today since im in China. Its a sign, that im approaching the Taklimakan Desert. Soon ill be riding along The Ancient Silk Road!

first camel i came across since im in China!

hmmm should i change my bike with the camel? mmm...

relaxing with my ipod... letting the sun burn my face even more :)

Nancy told me she felt bad coz she was slowing me down. She keeps on saying that, so i keep on reminding her not to worry, i dont have a deadline. Shes actually a very good partner. She never complains. Actually its me who should feel bad, because since shes with me, we keep on eating in muslim restaurant. But ive no other choice, since its easy to find muslim restaurants here, its safer if i just stick with it. I just hope she understands that. Its a bonus that she rides with me since shes a chinese. as a malay who doesnt speak chinese and now in the middle of northern china, its great to have her with me. she helped me by a lot!

makan... lepas tu tidur. elok la tu...

Wulan is the best town ive been since im here in China. Towns that ive been in Sichuan province, it has nice landscape but way too cold, too many dogs and dirty! Here in Wulan, its very clean! Not like any other town ive been in China. No dogs here as the main population here are the Hui Muslims. It has some nice landscape, not too cold, very peaceful and quiet and of course, people here are so nice. I went to a muslim restaurant for dinner just now with Nancy, i ordered rice, potatoes and beef. I was so hungry and couldnt take it anymore, so i washed my hands, and eat the rice and the dishes with my hand! I feel soooo…. like home! Feel like Im back in KL, eating rice with my hand. The waitress, who is a muslim girl, were staring at me and laughing. Sure she thinks that… “Melayu betul lah budak melayu ni! Dah sampai northern China pun makan pakai tangan lagi”. Hehe but i couldnt help it u know. I was so hungry, and eating with my hand i feel so… comfortable! And i can eat fast! Well, this is not the first time it happened, since i was in Xining, I always used my hand to eat the rice and almost everybody inside the restaurant will stop eating, and staring at me, amazed, that i can eat the food just by using my hand with my “selamba melayu” face! Hahaha…

a no man's land

Tough Ride to Chaka!

I felt happy for Nancy, shes getting stronger each day of ride. Our ride to Chaka was tough, almost as tough as my ride when i was riding the Tibetan Plateau. The first 2 hours of ride, we rode not so steep uphill but we rode against the wind, which slowed us down by a lot. We then took a 1/2 hr rest. Then from 3125m altitude, we climbed some 20km all the way up to 3820m altitude! This is the first mountain pass i climbed in Qinghai province, its more than 1000m altitude lower than the highest i climbed in tibet, but its still tough with bad dirt road and so many lorries along the climb to the pass. Suprising, Nancy didnt give up and she made it to the pass! She just kept going!

We took a 10 minutes rest at the pass, then rode down back to some 3100m altitude. We stopped in an unknown small town (i couldnt find it on the map) for dinner, and again, the owner is a muslim, and told me not to pay since im a muslim too. Oh man… hes so nice person. After dinner, it was already 6.45pm, we have another 40km to go if we want to reach the next town, Chaka. At first i was thinking, maybe we should just camp, since its getting darker soon and another 40km to go. Then it started to rain, and Nancy certainly doesnt want to camp in the rain. So we ended up riding along the rain for the next 40km. Was kinda tough, we were tired, riding under the rain and have to cover another 40km. 40km under the rain is kinda hard to cover, since we were all wet, its heavier to cycle! But we made it, we reached Chaka town at 9.15pm. It was already dark at that time. Nancy was okay, she was just cold but she never complain. And for the first time since i ride with Nancy, we covered 80km in 1 day, which is impressive for me.

The sheeps... are.... so many!!!

Not so friendly Qinghai…

me and the Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake and the surrounding is great, but i realized the people here are not so kind and honest to foreigners. We had some bad experienced here in Qinghai. One of the worst thing happened was when we cycled along the Qinghai Lake. I was leading, with Nancy was about 30 meters behind me. Suddenly she stopped for toilet break. When she came out from the toilet, a middle 40’s Tibetan guy stopped her and asked for money. He said that is his toilet, and since Nancy used it, she needs to pay. I then told Nancy not to pay, and just ignore the guy. Reason we dont want to pay is because we got conned a day before, in Qinghai Lake too, so we got to be more careful to locals who tried to take advantage on tourists. The guy then asked Nancy to wash the toilet! Oh i was thinking maybe he has some bad intention, maybe he will try to rape her in the toilet or something.

Nancy and the Qinghai Lake

We were in the middle of nowhere, there were nobody except us. Nancy was so scared, and the guy blocked her bike, not wanting to let her go. At that situation, i got angry and the first time since im in china, i started shouting and threw some bad words right to his face, and about to burst. i looked directly at his eyes, and started to imagine me breaking his fingers and smash both his eyeballs. He even took out his handphone, look like wanna make a phone call. I was tempted to take his phone from his hand, and smash the phone on the floor. But i cant do the first move. I need a reason before I can shake him, I just waited for him to touch Nancy first before i can physically assault him. After some time, he finally backoff, and i told Nancy to go, while i wait there with the guy until Nancy was far enough. I felt sorry for Nancy, she was scared and the whole evening she lost her mood after the incident.

riding on dirt road, on the way to the mountain pass

the mountain pass

another view of the mountain pass

nancy capturing moment

lovely yak!

After we took a rest at Dataongzhen, 100km northwest of Xining, we rode another 50km to Qinghai Lake. It was easy, but cold! Arghh, i hate it! It was raining all the way along our ride. This time, i have to leave Nancy behind. I just cycle at my own speed, because i couldnt take the cold and the rain. So i cycled hoping to get out from the rain area. But after few minutes, i felt bad leaving Nancy behind so far. So i decided to stop and wait for her. But it wasnt long for us to reach the lake. To cycle around the lake will take around 320km distance. The lake is big… and beautiful.

horse vs bicycle

We love cycling along the lake. When we reached the lake, the rain stopped. Few hours after that, the cloudy sky turned into a very very clear blue sky, allowing us to enjoy the blue color scenery with some greens along our ride. But one bad thing tho, is that this place is expensive. Its a popular tourist destination especially for China people, every restaurants are expensive, and the worst thing is u cant camp anywhere near the lake. We want to camp, so we asked one of the locals if we can camp near their farm. For the first time since im in China, we have to pay to camp! Well, it isnt much, we bargained down  to 20 yuan for the 2 of us but still, we have to pay to camp hehe.

We stopped riding and setup our tent at around 7.30. It was the best camping spot ever ive been since i start cycling in China. Its near the lake (well not so near, probably around 300m from our tent) and far from the road. So the only thing we could hear is the sound of the water from the lake, and sometimes the birds and dogs barking. Camping in the Tibetan Plateau is of course impressive too, but its way too cold! Here in Qinghai, i can see almost the same view as in Tibet, but its not as cold. Its just nice… and almost perfect! We watched 1 of the most impressive sunset ever, very nice colors, beautiful formation of clouds. At night, the sky was so clear we spent hours watching thousands of stars together. I saw at least 6 shooting stars that night. At around 11 Nancy was tired and went to her tent to sleep. I just couldnt sleep, the sky was so beautiful and i couldnt stop snapping photos and continue gazing the beautiful night sky. Well, i can never see this back in KL, or any other cities in the world. I only have a chance to see this kind of view at high altitude, at least above 3000 meters.

Tell me, how can i sleep when the night sky is so beautiful? I cant stop watching this!

Look at that mate! This picture cant match the real thing that I see last nite!

having breakfast in my tent, while Nancy still snoring from inside her tent haha

We woke up very very early in the morning, as early as 5am, just to enjoy the sunrise. Spent an hour to watch the impressive sunrise. I then cook breakfast for myself, Nancy went back to sleep. While eating breakfast, I could hear her snoring so loud, its so clear even im inside my tent thehehe. (Sorry Nancy but ive to say this… i think its cute!). Even right now while writing this blog, Im inside my tent, i can hear 2 things now… the birds singing, and the snoring Nancy… :)

sunrise and the lake, at very early morning

from inside my tent

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