AsiaChinaGolmud

The Race to Kasghar China

Golmud Travel Blog

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Bus breaks down China

 

There we were in Lhasa, and our goal was to make it to Kashgar, for the Sunday Silk Road Bazaar which had been going on for 1000's of year and is Asia’s premier market.  We had 108 hours to achieve this in the most cost effective way, or we would be stuck waiting for a week to pass until the next great bazaar.  The race was on.... all 4700klms of it.

 

We departed Lhasa for Golmud at 10am on Tuesday by sleeper bus which was so full there were people lying in the aisles.

Our new tyre arriving from a nearby town China
  Make sure you take your shoes off at the door and place same into a plastic bag or you will incur the wrath of the bus drivers.  Sleeper buses have changed slightly.  There is a top and bottom bunk extending from the front to the rear of the bus, with a side, middle and far side row, all up about 38 sleeper beds about 170cm long and just wide enough for me to touch the sides firmly.  I was seated behind the driver, and each time he stopped I stretched my legs over his seat and into the direction of the steering wheel. 

 

The scenery was beautiful, unforgiving, rugged, harsh and absolutely spectacular.  It was massive mountain ranges stretching as high and wide as the eye  could see, all fully covered in snow, and damn it getting cold quickly.  Thankfully mum told me to take a jumper or I would have died from Hypothermia or something like that.  Once again we were climbing in altitude back up to the 5000m mark, but we had acclimatised well and truly over the past week and no longer suffered from the sickness associated with AMS like we had encountered earlier in Tibet.

Middle of no where China
 

 

We had gone from 25 degrees to not wanting to get out of the bus to eat or pee.  It was the massive winds outside that cut through you like a knife and not so much the frigid temps.  We blew a tyre at some point and one of the bus drivers had to walk to a nearby town for a replacement.  During that time it started to snow outside.  Unfortunately the heater didn't work on the bus - come to think of it not much worked on the bus.  Every time we hit a bump in the road the body of the bus would come crashing back down on metal with a massive grinding thud.  Turning corners had the same effect on the lack of suspension. 

 

Part of the scenery was the 1000's of people outside working on the construction of a railway line linking Golmud to Lhasa.

Dust storm
  Not much machinery used, but a lot of man power and shovels. Occasionally the traffic was blocked by a number of military convoys of up to 60 semi trailers carrying products for the rail line construction. 

 

Night time came and fell about 10pm, which was upsetting my body clock.  After what I thought was a good night’s sleep I woke with my face pressed up against the glass window and the window frozen at the point where my breath had been hitting it.  I could not hear any voices; the bus was turned off, the driver asleep in the driver’s seat, everyone else in their beds.  So I thought what the hell is going on now, and I looked outside to the mountains and valleys and we had been in the middle of a snow storm and the road and the surrounding area was covered in snow and the road covered in ice.  Four hours later we rock and rolled on the icy road.  After a while the ice had passed but the driving just got worse, partly due to the state of the bus as the tarmac was fine.

Sun trying its best
  Without trying to worry anyone, we all but overturned on two separate occasions in a 20 minute period and on a third occasion we were met by a truck that was jack-knifing towards us on the tarmac, managed to regain control and just missed us by the narrowest of margins.  But the first time I thought we were going to roll over for sure.  I had assumed the holy Jesus grip on the bed, to put it politely. 

 

We arrived in Golmud after 27 hours on the bus.

 

 

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Bus breaks down China
Bus breaks down China
Our new tyre arriving from a nearb…
Our new tyre arriving from a near…
Middle of no where China
Middle of no where China
Dust storm
Dust storm
Sun trying its best
Sun trying its best
Golmud
photo by: mabby