08 May, 2008

On the road day 3 - Wednesday 30 April. Guiding to Chongqing

Guiding to Chongqing - 450km.

After leaving Guiding I was able to take expressway all the way North through Guizhou province and into ChongQing province (ChongQing is both a province and a city).

It was a great ride and the expressway was a wonderfully scenic road. The Chinese have truly learnt some excellent engineering skills, and the number of bridges and tunnels is in the hundreds.

In Guizhou I had no problems whatsoever from anyone using the expressway, but shortly after I had crossed over into ChongQing province I heard (and saw) the sound of flashing lights and sirens in my mirrors. I pulled over and had a tete-a-tete only to discover that once I had crossed the provincial border I could no longer ride on the expressway. The traffic police were very helpful and escorted me another 20km to the exit at Jiulongpo, where we left the expressway and I was subsequently "invited" to attend their offices whilst they worked out what to do with the stupid foreigner.

Inwardly I was quite annoyed as I knew that now it would take me much longer to reach ChongQing (especially as I had made such good progress today) and that I would struggle to find my way in and out of ChongQing using the regular roads.

As it turned out, I was around 45kms from ChongQing. The traffic police had contacted the local schools and found a very helpful local primary school teacher to translate for me and show me the route into Chongqing.

The traffic police officer was on his way home for the night so he changed into his regular clothes and then asked the teacher to accompany him whilst he led me out of town and on to the correct road. Once again, the police had no interest in my lack of appropriate licence and registration documents.

I was assured the regular roads would be far safer for me than the expressway (an absolute nonsense given the risks drivers take on the roads - at least on the freeway there s divider separating oncoming vehicles. The remaining 45km was on absolutely shocking roads and took over 2 hours to complete. The only bright side was the very interesting insights into local agriculture in the areas immediately surrounding big cities (i.e the suburbs).

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