The Jungfernfahrt on the bicycle is successfully completed, I'm now in Osh.
But man, this IS a bloody different game! The km-clicks were sometimes so long apart, I thought I never arrive. No wonder, my bike, including front and back rack weighs 17kg. To that comes the weight of my kit, that's about 15kg. And then me: I was very surprised when weighing myself today. I now bring the scale to the highest personal record ever, 84kg! Usually I weigh about seven kilogram less, which at 1,92m makes me such a Spargel. So now I have the proof that travelling is good not only for my mind and soul but also the body.
On the other hand, I doubt that Tibet is so good for the body because due to the high altitude (always above 4000m) and the physical exhaustion most people cycling there lose about 6-10kg during that period. That brings me back to "normal" then. Which means I'll have to eat lots of food in India. Not so bad after all...
I've left the russian influenced zone of central asia and am now finally in a complete new World: China!
This really is a whole new chapter in my travels, it feels so crazy to be here. Crossing the boarder was very exciting and we kept telling ourself "We're in China, we're in China!!!". We, that was a french couple, Marie-Eve and Ludovic (www.cyclopaysans.ouvaton.org), and the dutch girl Miriam (www.cyclingdutchgirl.waarbenjij.nu), that cycled all the way from Europe. I met them on the boarder and kept riding with them all the way to Kashgar.
I turns out that Miriam also wants to do the Tibet run, so we've decided to try it together. Two in the tent might just give us the valuable extra degrees needed to live through the cold nights. Down to minus 25 said a well informed guide here in Kashgar...
Ein tibetisches SERVUS beinand an alle daheim und in der sonstigen Weltgeschichte! Wir sind in Ali, der einzigsten "Stadt" im Westen Tibets, die diesen Namen verdient. Der Weg hierher war lang, kalt, steil, schwer und unglaublich erlebnisreich. Fuer ca. 1000km haben wir 3 Wochen gebraucht und ich hab soviele Fotos zu zeigen und Geschichten zu erzaehlen, dass ich nicht weiss wo ich anfangen soll.
Ich werds trotzdem versuchen und wem die Geschichten ueber
- Baumwollbaellchen in der endlosen Taklamakan-Wueste
- die Ueberquerung des Kunlun Shan Gebirges
- das Zusammenlebens auf 2 Quadratmeter Zelt-WG
- eine gescheiterten K2 Erkundung
- surrealen naechtlichen Mondfahrten auf ueber 5000m
- fast zerstoerter Fahrraeder
- grenzenlose Weite zwischen Bergen, Steppe, knochenhart gefrorenen Fluessen und kristallklaren Seen
- Alkohol-, Benzin- und sonstigen Kocherproblemen
- den ersten tibetischen Buttertee
- urige Tibeter und freundliche Kinder
- schlechte, schlechtere und schlächteste Strassen
- und Schokoladenoasen in der westtibetischen Hochebene
nicht interessieren, der schaue sich einfach nur die Bilder und Videos an und schreibe mir dann eine euphorische email (anaum[at]gmx.de) damit ich mal wieder weiss, dass die endlosen Stunden im verrauchten Internetcafe neben roechelnd-spuckenden Chinesen nicht reiner Selbstzweck sind.
After a long pause here are finally news from the second half of my cycling tour through Tibet. As indicated in the last blog, I left the town of Ali by myself taking a different route than Benni, Mandy and Mirjam who started a day earlier.
As often, I set my objectives of how much to see and how far to go quite high. Usually this is much more than what is achievable in reality and so also this time I pushed myself to the limits. Well, actually beyond them as a result of which I caught a nasty cold that tied me to the bed for quite a while. But this gave me the opportunity to at length contemplate the world and my place in it. And chinese TV :)
However, after recovering I managed to cycle the rest of the way to Kathmandu, not without meeting many, many Tibetans. Overnighting in their huts and tents I felt really lucky being able to experience their lifestyle, humble character and heartfelt hospitality. Together with the grandeur of the vast, beautiful, but incredibly harsh environment I was sometimes moved to tears (or was that because of my saddlesore butt?) and other times broke out in euphoric joy.
Also, bin ich angekommen in Europa. Paris. Hat mich gleich wunderbar schmerzhaft in die Arme genommen, ordentlich zugedrueckt und mir in wenigen Tagen klar gemacht, dass die Uhren und werweisswassonstnochalles ab jetzt wieder anders ticken.
Die Kaelte und eine Fieberattacke mit anschliessendem 6-stuendigen Krankenhausaufenthalt konnten mir noch nix anhaben, auch wenn die Prozedur der Blutabnahme bei mir ueblicherweise den Verlust des Bewusstseins, dieses Mal aber nur der Gesichtfarbe nach sich zog. Resultat: Sterben muss ich noch nicht, Malariatest negativ. War mir eh klar aber Sandrine, die ich noch aus fruehen Studententagen kenne und deren Couch ich fuer ein paar Tage mein Zuhause nennen durfte, hatte darauf bestanden dass ich mich checken lass. Mit ihrer moralischen und übersetzer-unterstützung und den netten franzoesischen Schwestern und Doktorinnen war das Ganze sogar ganz lustig - auch wenn ich am meisten ueber mich selber und meine Spritzenphobie feixen musste. Das Lachen ist mir aber ein paar Tage spaeter wirklich fast vergangen...
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