Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Day 115 – Urumqi. (China)
After covering over 6,000 km in 14 days, this will now be our sixth stationary day in Urumqi, having travelled no more than a couple of kilometres to the market and back in this time. We had a bit of trouble with our Kazakh visas which is what caused the delay, but we should be getting them this afternoon and shooting through towards the border this evening. The story of our visas is a long and excruciating one which I’ll write about and put up on here in the next few days.
We’ve greatly enjoyed sleeping, using the internet and enjoying not having to drive 800km every day, but two nights ago we were having dinner at a street restaurant when a young Chinese guy came up and asked if he could help us with ordering or anything. We knew exactly what we wanted – lamb shashliks and flat bread – but we took him up on the offer of helping us get it. His English was impeccable and we asked him and his father who he was with if they’d like to join us. They’d just finished their own meal so they didn’t help us eat the feast, but his father ran across the road and came back with a couple of bottles of Chinese “wine” (some sort of rice wine that’s 50 something % alcohol) that he insisted we help him get through. At the end of the evening we exchanged details and agreed to meet up the next evening to have a meal together.
So last night we met Can and Bing Lu and they treated us to an exceptional feast. Can (the 21 year old son) met us near our hostel and took us to the restaurant where Bing Lu, his father, already had a table covered in food for us. Again, he had a bottle of “wine” for us to share, which was replaced with an onslaught of beers when we managed to get through it. And the food just kept coming. By the end of it we had two entire chickens (head, feet, stomach and all), a whole fish and an entire table of veggies, soups, buns, noodles and who knows what else.
But the time has now come for us to cross town and visit the Consulate once again, where hopefully we’ll be picking up our Kazakh visas.