So We set off again. Two days later its raining in Kashgar.
This isn't common nor is it good because we want to get over the mountain pass
to Osh and snow can close it. So into the taxi Mick I and our Israeli
companion Omer get at 7am to take the 250 km trip to the boarder again.
The trip is relatively uneventful through beautiful mountain passes and the odd
premade Chinese town being dumped in the middle of nowhere to produce god knows
what. There is the odd sign in English saying things like "peoples
irrigation dam" but nothing useful. The only major difference
from two days before is the snow on the hills, not a good sign.
Finally we arrive at the boarder post. Things look promising, there are neat looking boarder guards marching around . Bloke are starting to cue at a container with a window in it, trucks are starting. We wait half an hour till eleven and join the cue. At eleven things start to move the window opens people get passes out. Ten minutes later as we just about get to the window someone grunts and tells us that the place for us is in front of the China immigration office. The guys at the container are workers dong stuff in the 6km of no-mans land. The gate opens off the go. It all looks so easy. At least they know we exist.
While we where waiting half a dozen neat Chinese guards have formed a line across the front entrance to the post. There armed with fierce looking clubs so they obviously expect trouble from the foreigners. Boarder opens at eleven. We head towards office. No with a wave of the hand, so we stand on the large square in the cold out the front. More marching little green men going to and fro in what looks like random motion. Our taxi driver who took us home last time motions us int the cab to get out of the cold. Another forign looking bloke with a Muslim cap turns up with a case and waits. At least where not the only ones. Eleven thirty no action. The clock on the front of the building hits 6.30 which is eleven thirty five our time, it obviously not right but a miracle happens. saluting and funny walks, the guards move slightly, a man appears in a booth.
With a wave we are motioned forward. Passport, rigorous check, nationality, "Oudralian" Chinese for Australian. Hes just making conversation he already has my passport. I have Five Chinese visas as a result of hopping across the Chinese boarder to visit Murry in Shenzen a few times. This creates hassle's as I always give the my passport with the correct visa open which they then shut. Shuffle through trying to find again. Quite often they fill out the details from the wrong visa, what the heck Its not my job to inform them. If any body ever checks the paper work some poor gaurd will end up some where even more miserable than this. If that exists, I'm sure this is a hardship post.
Waved through. Off to the front door Passport , Same story, Through the door Passport. This looks hopeful, this man has stamps. "Odralian", more visa shuffling. This man is important he finds the right one. Bang. Even fills out a new departure card for me in neat English writing. Not one of my forays. I sign, next booth, Passport. I get pointed around the corner. I'm meant to be standing in front of a digital thermometer to check for Bird Flue. Pass, X-ray machine for baggage. All bags get x-rayed. I'm a westerner, I go through the metal detector, it goes off with a loud shriek Ive set them off all over china. . Pass. You could carry an artillery peace stuffed down your pants and you still pass. Forward to the Yellow line for the next man in a box. Waved forward he greats me in perfect English” Pleased to meet you, Passport" Flick through the visa's. Stamp "Thank you hope you enjoyed your stay" Chinese immigration officers must have learned this for the Olympics. At last a seat. only one more door to go I wait for Mick and Olmert who get the same two lines of perfect English. One more Passport, the door opens and where out in no mans land, and only seven people checked my passport in one hundred meters.
Now the interesting bit. where six km from the boarder. Some times the Chinese insist that you hitch a ride with a truck through no mans land but there none to be seen. The guards seem to be amusing themselves marching around in circles so we head off. The guy with the hat decides to wait. Three quarters of an hour later we arrive at another checkpoint. Two more visa checks and where finally out of China.. Another km down the hill we come to the Kurgz post. A quick check for a Visa and we are told to sit down and wait for a ride. The guard offers me a cigarette. I offer him a beer as I have a couple in my backpack. Apparently Chinese beer is no good for you, but the cigarettes are ok. A car turns up and its another couple of Km up the road to the Kurgz Immigration post. Another Visa check, a stamp. Into a room. "how is your health?" fine I cough hoping my cold won’t be perceived as bird flu. Out through the door, across the compound. A man in a old wooden shack motions us foward. Quick passport check. through the gate. Where in. Total time 2 hours. Relatively quick, didn't even have our bags pulled to bits.
We look around there is a little village next to the boarder post. We where hoping to pick up a taxi but theres nothing here. Its something out of a cold war movie. There is snow a couple of hundred meters above us. Where sounded by old russian army caravans that look like they haven't been painted since the fall of the wall.. One semi derelict building with Magizine (store) in Russian. Various trucks and trailers all of which haven't moved for a long time. the only thing that seems to be in good supply is used truck tyres. There made into steps, fences, plinths for caravans,ect. We wander up the road and wait, not a vehicle has passed us in a couple of hours and where still 60km from Saritash and 230 km from Osh ,our final goal .It could be a long wait.