Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Special Circumstances in Xinjiang

The project has hit a rather large bump in the road: due to “special circumstances in Xinjiang” my contact in China is unable to obtain the invitation letter I need to get my visa.  I'm told that if the China Tourist Service in Xinjiang is unable to obtain the letter, it is unlikely that any other agent will be able to obtain the letter, and therefore crossing the border into Xinjiang "may prove impossible at this point in time".  This, I am told, "would have been a high level decision, which also means that it is unlikely that there will be a later change of heart."

Definitely not the best news of the day.

The maps are back out. China is now a big obstacle between Kazakhstan and Vietnam. Suggestions welcome!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Ukraine in Crisis / Chinese visa / Donations to RoadPeace

As I write, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have just signed a deal leading to an early presidential poll before the end of the year, and hopefully putting an end to the terrible toll of recent days as the country looked on the brink of civil war.  Hopefully things will be back on a more even keel by mid-April when I am planning to pass through, and the FCO will no longer be advising against all but essential travel... but I do have a Belarus visa application form ready just in case I need to re-plan my route.

I've still not got my Chinese visa, but am making progress and now in touch with people in China who can get me the invitation letter I need, once I have answered all their questions, which seem to keep coming on an almost daily basis.  Not sure why they are apparently quite so worried about a harmless bicycle traveller, ho hum.

Donations to RoadPeace are steadily trickling in now and I have set a target of £5,000 - can you help me reach 10% of that target before I leave?  Click here to sponsor me if you can please!