August 04, 2006

Decision Time

After much contemplating, considering, re-considering, talking, thinking, reading I finally made up my mind about the upcoming China trip.

I'm leaving in three weeks, for a short three weeks in the country. Woohoo! I am ridiculously excited about it. In a way, it really is a first proper travelling trip, in a country that I have never been to before and that I do not speak the language of. Am very much looking forward to it, although it's also pretty scary...

By pulling the trip forward it means that my friend won't be able to come along. Unfortunate, but in the end I didn't see a way of going later in the year.

It also means that I have more flexibility in deciding the routing. The first few days of this week were spent frantically trying to find out how I could enter Kazachstan from China, what trains I could take, what visas I would need, if it would be better going to KZ via Kyrgyzstan, etc etc.

My employer - or rather, the Russian authorities - vetoed this plan. Apparently there is no way for me to enter my work location for late September via an alternative route so there is no use in me going all the way there by myself. Bummer. I guess I'll have to be content with another decadent trip to Moscow later in September.

Although, to be honest, I was having quite a bit of trouble trying to convince myself that this would really be a trip I am capable off. I am sure that once you hit the road you discover unexpected sides of yourself. But maybe I should discover those in a different place than the 'stans - it does sound pretty sketchy...

It did trigger a definite interest to travel the Silk Route at one point in the next few years though. It sounds like an amazing and fascinating journey...

So for now, I might be incorporating the beginning of this trip (if you would travel the Route westward). A vague first itinerary would take me past the following cities:

Beijing -> Pingyao -> Xi'an -> Lanzhou -> Xiahe -> Jiayuguan -> Dunhuang and fly back (from Jiayuguan) to Nanjing -> Shanghai.

Hmm, putting it down like this makes it look like a bit much for 19 days... I will probably decide in Xi'an which way to go (south towards Shanghai or west towards Gansu) so I do still have time to improve on this.

For now, I'm on my way out for a night of sushi and Johnny Depp. What more could a girl ask for?

P.S. I am considering going onwards from Dunhuang to Turpan, Urumqi and possibly Kashgar. But I think this time frame really is too short for that, and that I would need some more travelling experience to tackle Xinjiang - no matter how amazing it sounds?

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