Customs & Immigration
From our beautiful and scenic high camp in Kyrgyzstan, the riders headed uphill towards a high pass before descending into the border town of Irkistan, some 17km away, and our border crossing into China. It should not be placed on your top 10 places to visit but if you ever find yourself there waiting for the checkpoint to open then the local cafe serves the best eggs in Kyrgyzstan. The riders sheltered there from the cold eating eggs, drinking chai and spending their Kyrgyz money on chocolate, coke, beer and vodka. When the checkpoint opened, we only had to compete with 100 trucks waiting to cross so the going was slow but once through we were off to the Chinese border crossing/immigration. The Chinese, well known for their precision, wasted not a moment in herding us through the hall, having us fill out our papers and meticulously checking the trucks out, all wearing their green border guard uniforms. The process, expected to be slow and tough, was over in an hour or so and once on the other side the riders celebrated with beer and green tea. A short 50km ride into camp followed and the scenery was what impressed us most. That and the double humped camels that we finally encountered. The campsite was a true bush camp on a rocky river bed beneath enormous sandstone mountains. The best thing was the sun does not go down until after 9pm. Welcome to China and some of the most inspiring scenery on our trip so far!