Christian churches, snow clad peaks, Tibetan herdsmen on motorbikes, gushing rivers, prayer flags in the breeze: this is Kangding. Somehow the incredible diversity of this town represents this part of Sichuan and the experience of our journey cycling through it. Kangding is " the gateway to Tibet", and we have come through the back door, down, re-entering China. The contrast is stark. Gone is the thin air, harsh sun and yak herders, replaced with verdant forests, impossible gorges and the increasing march of development. The traditional melting pot of Kangding is still thriving, but the ingredients are changing.
After dinner on our last night of our Sichuan Cycle Tour in Shangli in Western China, the team headed next door for a spot of KTV - kareoke! Amongst the laughter and fun was a very sobering moment about the value of travel. Some of the local young people who were cheering on the "performers" thanked us for travelling to their country and province. Why? Just four months after a major earthquake and very recent floods, the sight of western tourists is reassuring. For the locals we show confidence in them and their country. Those of us from Christchurch which suffered massive damage from an earthquake two years ago, understand. By being here we are saying "it's gonna be ok".
And it is. Our cycling journey through western Sichuan has been fantastic; hot sunny weather, smiling faces and many, many surprises. Jaiyo!
Our own private and very social craft market; close encounters with giraffe, zebra and not too close with elephant; cycling 'on the surface of the moon'; and invites and genuine insights into Maasai homes and lives... all in a today's biking in Kenya! Now we just have to get Jan to stay in her bike, Ed to stop spooking animals with his exuberant enthusiasm, and Nic, Mark, Sue, Bill, Jamie and Bill to keep at least three camera batteries charged a day!! An incredible final trip of the season so far!!
Atop the highest point of the trip at 4300m, we encountered a classic east meets west. The westerners (us) are cycling east, ready for our 2000m descent to Kangding . The easterners: this Chinese crew, are in the early days of their 30 day cycle tour 2000km journey to Lhasa. High fives all round! From Brian and the team at the highest point of our Sichuan & Tibet trip.
A beautiful sunny blue sky cycle into our garden beachside camp in the historic town of Bagamoyo today, being followed along by an enthusiastic horde of local kids on the backroads on our first bike ride of the trip. Nic & Edward, Sue & Mark, Jamie & (Wild) Bill and Jan & (Kiwi) Bill got to explore the historic town or snorkel off the beach whilst Gemma cooked up a delicious feast for dinner.... A great way to start our last trip of the season through Tanzania and Kenya, should be an awesome couple of weeks with a fun crew!!
We biked across the dry bed of Lake Amboseli yesterday and made our way into Amboseli National Park. Wow! Close (very close) ups with giraffe and elephants, and a lion chasing gazelle less successfully... A beautiful night and back into the park for another look this morning... before getting back on our bikes and cycling north towards Nairobi.
Ok, picture cycling through the Wild West 'badlands' of North America, add in mind blowing scenery, raging snow fed rivers, clapped out ex soviet trucks and people who use way too many consonants in their language and you have one hell of an awesome day's biking in Kyrgyzstan! Bring it on!! Tomorrow it's another 3000m plus pass and more mutton and spuds to fuel the engine topped off with a shot of vodka. And yes I am working......
Ok, picture cycling through the Wild West 'badlands' of North America; add in mind blowing scenery, raging snow fed rivers, clapped out ex-soviet trucks and people who use way too many consonants in their language and you have one hell of an awesome days biking in Kyrgyzstan! Bring it on! Tomorrow it's another 3000m plus pass and more mutton and spuds to fuel the engine topped off with a shot of vodka. And yes I am working......
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