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Lake Sayram Hu to Turpan

By christ it was cold last night. And my tent leaks like a sieve in a rain storm so will be looking for a Chinese replacement.

But what a way to wake up seeing the sun rise over the lake!

We’re heading off at 7:30 to ride 700kms to Turpan. Turpan is also known as Fire City by the Chinese as it’s the hottest place in China. Mr Sh tells me he was there last week and it hot 55 deg c! But for now I’m wrapped up in my warmest bike kit with the heated grips on as the lake is seriously cold and we’re at 3,500m altitude as well.

Motorcycles are banned from using the motorways in China except for this part of the world. Which is music to my ears. The road surface is like silk (well we are on the Silk Route after all). Just a joy after the battering the Tiger and I took from the Kazakhstan roads.

So we’re on the G30 tiwards Turpan and the weather soon warms up and we slip from mountains to proper Gobi desert. The express highway is a lovely curvy ride, until about 3 hours from Turpan. Then it starts to get really hot. The road starts to wind through hillsides that are very biblical looking. I fully expect to see a sign saying Noah’s Boat Yard round every corner, or Moses bounding down a valley shouting “Oi lads, take a look at these scrolls …”

Then we’re into the desert floor. Just rocks and stones and unvelieveably hot. As much as I’m enjoring the ride I’m glad to hit town.

Turpan’s small by Chinese standards. I like the place. The hotel is great. A shower that works, hot water on demand, internet and a glass wall between the bathroom and the bedroom so presumably you can watch your loved one take a dump before a night of high passion. How romantic.

Kebabs in Turpan

I’m starving as is Mr. Sh and Frank so we head out to the local square for mutton kebbabs, little pieces of mutton and mutton fat dipped in spices and chuecked on a pavement barbecue plus meat dumplings in a soup – washed down with some local beers and liquors. Best food ever.

Having a great time with Frank and Mr. Sh. Top blokes.

Song of the day – Mowin’ Down The Roses – Jamey Johnson – coz it’s a bloody funny song and I can fully identify with it the story having done something very similar myself a few years back.

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