Today's scenery was
varied: We saw towns, villages, hills, flat land, rice farmland, desert,
industry, busy streets, empty streets, very good roads, very bad roads.
We are definitely coming closer to the more populated areas now and it
is about time: when I saw another desert coming up today for two hours,
I realized how tired I got of seeing them. But we will probably see some
more desert tomorrow and maybe the day after, but in North America we
avoid them and we will only see them again in Morocco. The heat itself
was not much of a problem as we had been lucky with the weather: Our hottest
desert drive was probably in Turkmenistan, but we fear that Morocco in
July will be much worse. The other problem with the desert is the sand
dust, which manages to get everywhere, especially inside our trunk or
inside the cabin, where it settles on bags, clothes, cameras, on the route
book, between teeth, everywhere. We were very tempted today to try "sand-sledding"
but when we thought about the prospect of carrying even more sand around
we decided against it.
The other problem we increasingly face is Chinese traffic. Compared to
Europe, there are not too many vehicles on the street, the problem is
the kind of vehicles and the behaviour of their operators. Slow trucks
with pitch-dark exhaust, amazingly slow motor-tricyles, cyclists unable
to drive a straight line when they stare at our cars, people running or
walking on the street, vehicles just driving onto a road without any concern
for traffic, busses overtaking in the "third lane" between the
two designated lanes, while other vehicles do not make way even if they
are driving at speeds close to standstill. Chinese are also very insensitive
to any light or horn signals. When we make the loudest of noise pointing
out to someone that he is crossing the street at the wrong time, he or
she does not even bother to look at us. We were used to some of it from
Turkey (which has improved a lot over the years) but in China "creative
driving" is taken to its extremes. The only reconciliation is that
it would be a lot worse if all Chinese owned a car or maybe even a powerful,
|TC 105: Lanzhou OUT
|TC 106: Xinquan
|TC 107: Sapotou
|TC 108: Yinchuan IN
Overall 1 hour 10
official results can be looked up on this website
on the way to Sapotou
Tengger Desert meets the Yellow River, Sami in front.
part II: If you are very brave, you can "Tarzan rail"
across the Yellow River and back. The yellow tower on this side
of the river has a steel rope connected to the red tower on the
other side, from there, you can rail back again to this shore. After
inspecting the Chinese "engineering" we decided that there
is no rational reason why anyone should use the rail.
Only spare part
needed for this street cleaning machine: Broomsticks
another desert, today: The Tengger Desert
at Sapotou (TC 107)
part I: If you are brave, you can slide down the dunes (sand-sledding).
We decided that we don't want our clothes full of sand.
Traffic in Yinchuan
is regulated for our arrival but is still very busy.