There should be some accents on the two “i”s in Xining but that’s life. We caught a night bus to the capital of Qinghai province. It took us through a mountain pass 3600 metres up, in the midst of a Day After Tomorrow blizzard. Suddenly I realised we might be near the Himalayas. Boarding the bus in the desert town of Zhangye we had kitted ourselves out in flip-flops and shorts . Bad decision. The bus winded through sharp bends and curves, the driver overtaking lorries on hairpins as he simultaneously wiped the windscreen free of snow. Meanwhile an idiotic Chinese woman took flash photos out the windscreen, temporarily blinding everyone inside, including the driver. No matter, with some cheap whisky to see us through we made it to our destination (not before getting off at the wrong place and chasing the bus down upon realisation). To top off the most interesting bus journey of the trip so far, at the first pee stop, I was greeted with the sight of about 35 Chinese guys peeing in a line in field – like a primary school day out.

Next stop = somewhere south.


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