Crossing Tibet by Bike: A 2000 mile / 3333 km journey

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September 1, 1996

Xining, China

After two days of cycling we have arrived in Xining, a city that lies at the crossroads of many cultures. Tibetan monks walk the streets in their maroon robes, Chinese vendors hawk their wares and Muslim women stroll the streets with covered heads. For two days we cycled through dense gray clouds of pollution from the endless steel mills, smelters and assorted heavy industry. At first it seemed like heavy fog that set in, but only after we left the big city of Lanzhou was it confirmed that the endless thick gray skies were smog along with other airborne toxins. I certainly look forward to the clear skies of Tibet. Last night the three of us ventured into a Chinese roller rink/disco. We paid 30 cents to skate for 30 minutes, then pulled off the well-worn leather boots. Mirrored balls turned above as Chinese disco music played over the speakers. Tomorrow we head out onto the edge of the Tibetan Plateau.


© Copyright 1997 Ray Kreisel