We apologize in advance for some of the technical issues that we are experiencing with several of these blog posts. Both China and Kazakhstan have not been as internet accessible countries as we were hoping.
It just would not be right visiting Beijing without seeing the Great Wall of China, an amazing sight looking across the horizon to see the wall snaking its way along and over sharp mountain ridges.
We are now also amazed to encounter the Great Firewall of China. Where we have been blocked from accessing our blog, Facebook and Picasa to post photos. Like all great cycling expeditions, we have finally found a way through.
Pushing our boxed bicycles out of the Beijing Airport and into the unfamiliar warmth and smogged skyline that has become part of the city’s signature. Our first attempt at finding transportation resulted in a cab driver who offered to take us the hostel for 480 Yuan (about $80). We finally found the public bus that would take us most of the way for 16 Yuan. What we didn’t realize was that the bus would drop us off on a median, in the middle of a busy express-way and we would spend the next hour laboriously carrying our boxed bikes on our shoulders, through a maze of side streets. Quickly out shoulders and forearms began to ache, and our heads pounded from the dehydration caused from flying. We only found out later that each box weighed a staggering 35 kilos. Being cheap has its price and we paid it with physical labor.
We made it most of the way to the hostel before giving up. I waited, as Kevin went ahead to find us a bicycle we could use to move out gear the last few minutes.
Exploring the hutongs (small village streets) is certainly nothing new for Kevin after having lived here for three years. His knowledge of the language and ability to navigate the bewildering maze that makes up Beijing’s city streets is invaluable.
Over the next few days in the city we rent bikes (complete with front baskets) and cruise the streets trying to not eat the same thing twice. On the day before our departure to Urumqi, we decide to visit the Great Wall which proves, once again, to be ripe with adventure.