18 may 2010 – today is the first day of my ride. without having experience riding in china, i ride alone from chengdu city to qionglai with the distance of 105km. nothing interesting today, as i passed by a few smaller towns, quite heavy traffic, very dusty, heavily polluted! after had a light breakfast in a muslim restaurant near the grand mosque in chengdu, i started to cycle at around 10 am.
i stopped a few times for a drink, lunch and also get close to the locals! everywhere i go, i attract attentions. when i went to a restaurant, and told the waitress that i could barely speak mandarin and im from malaysia, everybody, like everyone… in the restaurant looking at me. and they started talking to me and laughing. they came to my table, and started to speak mandarin to me as if im chinese. i told em “wo ting pu tong” (i dont understand), they laughed and continue talking to me. again i told em “wo ting pu tong”, and they never gave up, and continue talking to me! goshhhhh… dont they understand that i dont speak mandarin???
when i stopped for lunch, a group of old chinese men invited me to join them. i then told them, “jintian, wo yao qu qionglai” (today im going to qionglai). “mingtian, wo qu ya’an” (tomorrow ill go ya’an). i didnt even told em im going to russia, i only told them that im riding all the way into pakistan. i told em, after litang, im heading to xining in qinghai, then to urumqi in xinjiang, then kashgar, then pakistan. i also told em im riding bicycle alone. they said that im a hero… bcoz im one brave creature. hehehe. even most ppl in chengdu said that, even the mat sallehs. they said im one crazy malaysian. mmmm… maybe i gave em the impression that we malaysians are crazy? :)
i reached qionglai around 5pm! yea yea im slow… but keep in mind i was carrying heavy backpack, and i stopped few times!! im tired, very tired as today is my first ride. gonna sleep early today, as tomorrow im riding another 75km before reaching ya’an!
19 may 2010 – 2nd day of my ride! today, while being lazy, i started to ride at around 11.20! since its never sunny here in sichuan province, i can ride anytime of the day without have to worry about the hot weather like in malaysia :) Today is harder than yesterday. even tho its only 75km, gosh it took me nearly 6 hours to complete the ride! Many hills to climb! i stopped few times, being so lazy, watching the view, passing by many small towns and farms. along the way, so many ppl waved at me and said, “Hello!”, me, “Hello!”, them, “Welcome to China!”, me, “Xie xie!”. I didnt stop for lunch today… as im lazy hehehe. coz of that, i got tired faster and i reached Ya’an around 5+. Along the way, i saw a convoy some 8-10 bikers on superbikes. and… theyre all young girls… and… theyre hotttt!!!!! there was a car following them and a guy was shooting video, maybe it is for some tv programme. And he shot me while riding as well. maybe im gonna appear on China tv uh? :))
Ya’an town mmmm….
Ya’an is a small town, maybe like our Seremban?…. but sooo crowded in here. While searching for a backpacker hostel, i met a chinese student, he speaks english and he helped me to find a cheap one. its very near his uni and we had dinner together. dangg hes so helpful and a very nice boy. i call him “hai yang” and tomorrow he wants to bring me around town. He even said if i want to go to his uni and teach english? hehe… i told him i had enuff of teaching, i taught computer animation for few yrs back in kl, now i would like to take a year off :) plus, i dont consider my english level is good. its only below average. oh… he even lend me his laptop so that i can use the internet. how convenient… chinese hospitality here in china!!
Chengdu, my first point in China. Ah, its just another city, the drivers here are 10 times worst than KL drivers! While walking to my hostel from the airport… i saw 1 car accident. The next morning, when heading for breakfast, another one! Lol! I went to the only mosque in Chengdu, and around it is full of muslim restaurants. Theyre the Hui, the muslim chinese. The Hui girls? Jawdropping!! .. hehehe…
I then went to Emei Shan, 1 of the famous mountain in China, south of Chengdu. Not as good as I expected. Its overrated! Bad weather, very cloudy. I could see nothing!… since it was so cloudy! So crowded and expensive!! Only stayed there for a day, then went back to Chengdu.
When I was back in Chengdu, I bought a bike in a Giant bicycle shop. Took me nearly 4 hours to purchase the bike and the equipment, since I dont speak good mandarin, and they dont speak English. It was tough. In the afternoon, I was lucky, I met 2 nice chinese girls while buying lunch in a cheap restaurant, Tanya and Gina. They then told me theyre free over the weekend and plan to take me out. I agreed and we spent time together over the weekend around Chengdu. Theyre very helpful, teach me things, some basic Mandarin and important information about China. They told me that I’m one crazy Malaysian and they want to meet me again, maybe will visit Malaysia next year once im back to KL.
My cycling route mmmm….
Ive to skip Lijiang and Zhongdian (shangrila). Yunnan province is badly flooded now as the bad weather, really bad weather. thousands of homes and crops were destroyed! maybe u guys could read it in our malaysian news too i guess? and ive to change my route. ive always knew that to get to Tibet illegally is tough.. but it was doable. but since the past 2 months, the chinese PSB is now so strict and ALL mat sallehs who tried to cross the tibetan border were caught. none got thru…. even when they tried to sneak in thru the mountains! now… im planning a new route. Instead of starting from Litang, Ill be starting from Chengdu, and will cycle all the way to Litang. That will take roughly around 700 km thru the mountains! I will take the western Sichuan-Tibet highway to Litang, and i will pass a few over 4000m of altitute!… and i will never take this lightly! The duration? Hmmm maybe 10 days… i dont know.
And since i cant enter the Tibetan Autonomous Region, from Litang, I will take the northern Sichuan-Tibet highway all the way into Xining, Qinghai province. So basically thats my new route now, and from there maybe i will pedal all the way to Urumqi in Xinjiang province, then Kashgar, then ride along the legendary Karakoram Highway, all the way into Khunjerab Pass, the gate into Pakistan. I hope to reach Islamabad by Ramadhan…
My first post! Im still in KL, Malaysia while writing this, in my room, sweating in the hot weather and my aircond isnt working! Well, im not gonna write so much about my preparation, basically its gonna be nonsense in this very first sexy post! As those of you who are wondering what this blog is all about… its about my travel experience, where i will be cycling alone, from Litang (South China, well… not so south) all the way into Omsk, somewhere in the Central Siberian Plateau, Russia. Ill be flying to Chengdu nxt week on tuesday (11/5) and on wed morning (12/5) i will climb Mt Emei Shan, south of Chengdu. Uhh.. that mountain have been teasing me for months, and nxt week im gonna conquer that sexy mountain! Then, somewhere on the 18th, i will start pedaling from Litang, all the way into the Siberian Plateau!!… passing by great mountain range like the Himalaya, Karakoram, Altai and the Hindu Kush!
Nothing much for my preparation really. Ive been preparing this for my whole life, since the day i was born. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Even the smallest things. Cycling under the hot sun and climbing hills everyday during my schooldays, problems that i encounter and many more things that ive done and experienced, happened for a reason. and now everything seems clear, i started to realized that those things happen because god is preparing me to undertake this tough journey, where im gonna cross the huge asia continent alone by cycling with the distance of 9000 kilometers at least.
Cycling uhmm, simply the best way to travel in my opinion. Flight is to get you from point A to point B. Travel by car, bus, train, hmmm….. i dont want to limit the experience of my travel journey just by watching the view from the glass window. Cycling, i travel in a very slow phased, allowing me to enjoy the scenery, feel the sexy wind blows, smell the local air, listen to the local ambient sound.. hmmm… Also, i have freedom to go wherever i wanna go, which road to take, and anytime i want.
Why why why???
Im bored living the routine life. Really! Working hard for the whole month, getting paid at the end of the month, spend the money, pay all the bills, then continue working again for another month, and the cycle goes on and on and on for 12 times a year… to what end? So, i choose to do crazy things in my life. The way i look at it, in life, we have to choose between 2. Security and freedom. U can have only 1. I have chosen freedom thus i will lose the security. Compare a fish in a pond and a fish in the wild ocean. If u choose to be a fish in a pond, u will get security. Ppl will feed u every few hours, u dont need to worry as ure safe! But your world is limited. But if u choose to be the fish in the wild ocean, u have to hunt! or else, u die. Also be prepared to get eaten by bigger fish! But nonetheless, u have freedom, the ocean is yours, the world is your playground :)
And also, to me, living in this life without traveling and experiencing the world, is a wasted life. Theres a saying, “to live in this world without traveling the world, is like wandering in a great library without touching a book”, uhmm something like that. think i got it from 1 of the paulo coelho books… cant remember…
Uhmmm…. the route i will be taking is simply the hardest cycling route in the world. Its mountainous, and i love being in high places. It wont be smooth and i will never underestimate the journey. Firstly, i definitely gonna face problems with those cute China officers especially when trying to sneak in the Tibetan province. Altitude sickness in the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau, it will kill me if i take this lightly! Thinking about those deadly and sexy Tibetan wolves, uhhhh… Crossing borders between countries wont be as smooth, as this is not Europe. At the time of writing this, Kyber Pass, the gate into Afghanistan that leads to Kabul from Peshawar, Pakistan is currently close temporarily. Hmmm…. The alternative?… mmm there is another border crossing to Afghanistan in Chaman that leads to Kandahar, but its extremely dangerous and i dont think i will use this way to cross into Afghan. Even if i managed to cross the Wakhan Corridor in north afghan, the border along Afghan-Tajikistan, is heavily landmined… and those landmines are not sexy… so….
Halal Food? mmmmm…..
No idea, we’ll see. But i swear to god, if i were to starve to death, and i see a pig in front of me, uhhhh, that pig is gonna be very unlucky!… to be at the wrong place at the wrong time! hehe…