The contrast between this:
says everything about the China we have seen. It is an astounding land of contrasts that makes any other country look insignificant. We have driven through the ugliest, saddest looking places, full of black coal deposits, mountains of old rubbish and tyres, derelect villages with dirty roller doors lining the street and rabbid dogs walking around. Places where the environment has been ransacked and left so that we can continue consuming in the lifestyle to which we are accustomed. In co trade to that there are kilometre after kilometre of high rise buildings in the middle of nowhere. Stretching endlessly into the distance.
Everywhere we go the people smile and point and we must have had about 20 million of the one billion people in China take a photo of us on their mobiles. I don’t know what I am going to do when we get home and I have to drive along in my Prius and the people don’t wave at me!!!
Anyway enough of a rant, back to the important things. Tilly is driving like a dream. Bruce and Gunther have really done a great job. We sat in the highway today at 140 kms and she was purring!! I’m probably talking too soon!! We have driven for two days, covered 1000 kms and seen many, many people and places. From the hanging caves built by Monks in 400, to the ravages of coal mines , to the dinasours of Erenhot.
The only hiccup was this evening finding the last main time check where the route had been closed due to military exercises (???) and then unexpected road works and there were suddenly 120 cars driving around in circles In Erenhot looking for the Guameng Hotel mostly without success. After going it by my instinct, getting out the GPS and using the waypoints,trying the Sat Nav, having a blue, we finally pulled into a petrol station and asked the locals. It worked. He only knew he numbers one and two but that was all we needed.
Tomorrow it gets serious. We enter Mongolia, have three time trials where Gunther has to drive like a madman while I try to navigate using the GPS and there are no roads. Sounds like my dream holiday. I’ll let you know how it goes. That’s only of course if Gunther doesn’t have a tanti and leave me and my little bag in the middle of the desert and drive off.