We packed up the tent and started pushing our last few kms in Mongolia, i was still happy to be free again and excited to be crossing this particular boarder. I had wanted to cross this for over a year and now it was open and i was free to cross it. I was excited and smiling to myself as we got closer. We had probably done only about 5km when a white car pulled up in front of us and a familiar face got out. It was our driver, he was a passenger in the car that was actually a taxi going to the border. The driver of this car and our old driver explained that the border was closing in just under an hour and would be closed for a week because of the Chinese holiday. This was a tricky and funny situation, on the one had he could be after more money, on the other had he could be telling the truth. We know that China do have some long holidays and the government does shut down during this time.
It was an easy decision really, although it would cost us £10, we could not risk being stuck here for a week. We quickly packed the car up and i was fuming all the way there as i had lost my freedom again and was pretty sure that the border was not going to be shut, but we could not risk it.
We arrived at the border and spent 2 hours waiting for lunch to finish. We had missed the morning entry and the border was not closing that day. I put it down to experience, and Liz and I spent the time designing our house that we want to build when we get back. The border guards were friendly and we chatted with them for a bit until eventually we were let through.
We cycled the bikes to the main building and were directed to an office and asked to wait. Eventually a guy turned up and looked all our paperwork over, he made a few calls and 30 minutes later we were on our way. We crossed the line and were greeted by a friendly Chinese face. We were now by the bag check point, we leant the bikes against the wall of the office and we had all our bags checked. They were quite thorough but polite and nice throughout. Once this was done we went to the passenger terminal and put all our bags through the scanner. Our passports were scanned by a small machine and our entry cards were printed for us. We moved to the next desk got our entry stamp and opened the door, we were back in China.
We cycled a few kms down the lovely smooth road and had a light late lunch before heading to the town of Tashiken. We cycled around the town looking for the bank, after a loop we ended up at a hotel. We checked with the staff at the hotel, no bank in the town and it was not really clear where the next bank was. The friendly staff told us there were buses and taxis going to Urumqi for reasonable costs. We decided to cycle out of town to camp and work out what to do.
We had the equivalent of £30 on us, it was just enough to get to Urumqi that was about 600km if we were careful. Liz really wanted to have a wash and sleep in a bed and was worried about the time it would take to get to Urumqi, as she had to start work and we had no power on the laptops. The other issue we had was my bike was down one spoke and my rear hub was moving from side to side.
I was super keen to get back on the bike but Liz was ready for a break so we discussed the option of me cycling to Urumqi alone and Liz getting a taxi. We had some food and got some rest. We were both excited to be back in China but kicking ourselves for not be a bit more prepared. Tomorrow would be a new day and things would work out, as they tend to do.