Mike Chernishov is a friend from New Zealand. Mike Chernishov’s dad is ethnically Russian. But Mike’s dad was born in China. In a small, closed-to-foreigners town called Narat, across the Tian Shan mountain range from Urumqi. When I started cycling in Urumqi, instead of taking the shortest route from Urumqi to the Kazakhstan border, I missioned it over the 4,200m high pass connecting Urumqi to the road leading to Yining. Which is a convoluted way to say that I wanted to check out Mike’s dad’s birthplace, and take some photos and footage for him.
One arrest, and a lot of shaky footage later (which never made it to the light of day), I made it to the Kazakh border. That was around September 2006. Now, almost 6 years on, Mike has worked some magic with the footage and photos, and created the video below. Originally intended for his dad and relatives, I post it here for posterity’s sake. The footage is still as shaky as ever, and at 33 minutes long it is a bit of a marathon, and my lack of rapport towards the camera is cringe-worthy, but here goes.