Wednesday, March 08, 2006

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Peter N-H thinks the Great Game is still alive:

Looking for something completely different, I accidentally stumbled across this account of a Khunjerab Pass crossing from 1991.

It should be emphasised that most of the struggles and discomforts described in the account of crossing China are long gone. Tickets are much easier to obtain, highways everywhere, and there's a rail route to Kashgar now. I first travelled across the top of the Taklamakan the following year, also taking three days on a wooden-seated bus on largely unmade roads, but even by 1995 there was a highway and the journey time, on vastly more comfortable buses, was down to 18 hours.

Now there's a better road still, luxury buses (I'm told), and, as I said, the train as an alternative. But anyone who travelled in China back in those days will likely feel a nostalgia for what was a completely different country.

Wooden-seated bus? Oooh, how bold! But obviously there was a bus line running across those mountains, so give that entrepreneuring Pakistani guy who set it up some credit for pioneering the path before you could ever plunk down your cushy tush on his bus-bench.

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