Ürümqi /乌鲁木齐, China to Bishkek / Бишкéк, Kyrgyzstan–779 km this section (Total Mileage: 7616 km/40,075 km)
I’ve been on and off the road for the past few weeks, writing op-eds and letters for my application to join the Sustain.us delegation to the next UN climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco. In the time since I last posted photos, I’ve also had two border crossings to deal with, though luckily I’ve been able to make up for some of that lost time (for example, the 4 hours spent waiting for a bus driver who would agree to take me down the 1 km stretch of road between China and Kazakhstan, which is off-limits to non-motorized vehicles) by camping out at night and riding all day.
One problem: After three weeks in Russian-speaking countries, I still can’t really talk to anyone who doesn’t speak English. But that’s also an upside, because sometimes I get surprise sour fermented mare’s milk for lunch.
I had my absentee ballot for the Oregon primary mailed to Princeton in Asia fellows who I visited in Shihezi (red marker). I waited for it, long enough that my visa forced me to skip the section of road between there and the border. And it never even came :'(. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to try to receive my US government mail in one of the most politically fragile areas of a repressive state.
I arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan a few days ago. It is both the national capitol and a border town, so I haven’t seen much of the country yet. I’ll be here for another week or so, applying for Kazakh and Azerbaijani visas and trying to find a rear cassette to replace the one that has taken me through 7,000 km of dust and rain and snow. Next, I plan to travel South and the West through more mountainous areas, so hopefully I’ll get a better feel for the nation before I cross back into Kazakhstan.