Current Location : Gilgit, North Pakistan (Google map)
Last entry date : 19 June 2008


A glimpse of rural Xinjiang

28/May/08 to 30/May/08

Finally, after months of preparation (and of course an advance payment to the chinese agent to sort out my entry / exit permits, etc) for this entry, I rolled up to the Khazakstan / Korgas Chinese border on 28/May/08 morning. I was prepared ie I paid (too much to justify any border crossing) ; just keeping my fingers crossed that my agent has got my entry permission, the correct documents, etc with him and is waiting for me at the border. This is probably the most complicated and costly border crossing attempt of my trip.

Khazakstan had a small border post, but China had 2 big buildings with hundreds of personnels inside and outside (soldiers). “You’re the 1st biker we see this year. Did you come here on a truck” asked the Chinese customs officer. I am on a bike, why would I come here on a truck ?? Thus began a series of difficult hurdles to get my bike pass the rules imposed on foreign vehicules, each rule dutifully followed to the letter by the 3 customs sections involved (visa, customs and health). The guards would not allow the agent to enter the customs compound, so I had to talk to their dept chief to request a special permission for his entry. By evening time, the bike was checked twice over and the Chinese Health section had refused the bike’s clearance. It demanded that the agent’s caution guarantee for the bike be increased 3 fold – a surprise even to the agent, but they quickly did so the next day.

We spent the next 3 days in the city of Yinning, 100km away, hopping from the Vehicule Inspection dept, to the Registration dept, to the Police dept to finally get my temporary Chinese driving license. These are huge administration office, chinese style, who knows little about flexibility. An International driver’s license is not valid here. In the end, all these motion are for a set of temporary bike papers & driver’s license valid for the remaining 9 days of my allowed bike import into China. The agent said I should consider myself lucky to get the bike permits. I ask myself if I am really lucky or am a fool to have paid to enter China ?? After all, if they make it so difficult to get in, who knows it could be just as difficult to get out with my own bike.

The consolation of my 3 days stay at Yinning was that the management of the hotel I was staying finds it an honour that a long distance traveler had chosen to stay at their hotel. At their inauguration day, I was made their guest of honour and even had to give a speech !

Now if only the Chinese customs would be more cool like this… and welcoming…[/english]


Un aperçu d’une rue de Xinjiang

Du 28 mai 08 au 30 mai 08

Finalement, après des mois de préparation (et bien sûr, avec une avance sur le paiement à l’agent chinois pour s’occuper de mes permis entrée/sortie etc.), j’ai roulé jusqu’à la frontière Kazakstan/Korgas Chine le 28 mai au matin. J’étais préparé. J’avais payé (trop pour justifier n’importe quelle entrée de territoire) et je gardais mes doigts croisés en espérant que mon agent avait toutes les permissions d’entrée, les documents adéquats, etc. avec lui, et qu’il m’attendait à la frontière. Ça a sûrement été le passage en douane le plus cher de ce voyage.

Le Kazakstan a un petit poste de douane, alors que la chine a deux grands immeubles avec des centaines de personnel à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur (soldats). “Vous êtes le premier motard que l’on voit cette année. Êtes-vous venu ici sur un camion ?” m’a demandé le douanier chinois. “Je suis en moto, pourquoi je viendrais ici sur un camion ?” De là ont commencé une séries d’obstacles difficiles pour obtenir mon visa de passage pour ma moto, avec des règles imposées aux véhicules étrangers, chaque règle étant suivie à la lettre dans les trois sections de douane (visa, identité et santé). Les gardes n’ont pas permis à l’agent d’entrer dans le bureau de douane, aussi j’ai dû parler au chef du département pour demander une permission spéciale pour entrer en Chine. La moto a été vérifiée deux fois plus et la section santé chinoise a refusé de la laisser passer. Elle a exigé que la garantie de l’agent par rapport à la moto soit multipliée par trois. Une surprise également pour l’agent, mais il a rapidement fait le nécessaire le jour suivant.

Nous avons passé les trois jours suivants dans la ville de Yining, allant du département d’inspection des véhicules au département d’enregistrement, puis au département de police pour finalement obtenir mon permis de conduire chinois provisoire. Le modèle de l’administration chinoise est énorme, et ne fait preuve d’aucune flexibilité. Un permis de conduire international n’est pas autorisé ici. En fin de compte, tous ces allers-retours sont pour un ensemble de papiers provisoires pour la moto, et le permis de conduire est valable neuf jours, durée de mon séjour en Chine. L’agent m’a dit de m’estimer chanceux d’avoir obtenu les laisser-passer pour la moto. Je me demande si je suis vraiment chanceux ou bien si je suis pas un peu imbécile d’avoir payé pour entrer en Chine ? Après tout, si c’est si difficile d’entrer, qui sait si pour sortir du pays avec ma moto ça ne va pas être aussi difficile.

La consolation de ces trois jours à Yining a été que la direction de l’hôtel où je suis resté a trouvé que cela avait été un honneur qu’un voyageur de si loin choisisse de rester dans leur hôtel. Le jour de l’inauguration, je suis devenu leur invité d’honneur et j’ai même fais un discours.

Maintenant, ce serait bien que les douanes chinoises soient aussi relaxes… et plus accueillantes.[/french]

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