Greetings from Turpan. Yes, I was here two weeks ago. In two weeks I made it about 95km. Har. But all is well…
How much does it cost you to go to a film at a movie theatre in your country? I presume it’s not much less than 10 to 15 Euro. I bought a DVD player (brand new) for 15 Euro a week ago, and enough VCDs of the most recent blockbuster films for abour 5 Euro. So for 20 Euro, I was set up. Lay in my hotel room for most of every day. Two favourites from the epic film screening: Bandits with Bruce Willis (don’t let that put you off, it’s actually quite good), and Master and Commander with Russel Crowe.
I did get something constructive done also (not that rest is not constructive). The board I am riding at the moment is a Longboard Larry custom pusher, and it is what is called a dropdeck board. That is, the trucks (axles) are attached to the top of the board, rather than the underside. This means there is a hole in the deck where the whole thing goes through.
Anyway, I decided to drop the deck even lower, so I mutilated a plastic riser and set it up so the deck is now a further 1.5cm closer to the ground. A small change, but over many miles, it makes a difference. Less energy required for each push.
In other news, I now have a second Chinese visa extension in hand. Here in Turpan, I dropped my application off at the PSB in Turpan (Regional Public Security Bureau – 地域区公安局 (gong an jie)) at 12 noon, and picked up the fresh 30-day extension at 5pm that same afternoon. This is very different to a big city like Urumqi, where it took 5 days. It cost the same as the first extension – 160RMB (16 Euro). The extension was from the day that my old extension expires. This was unlike the case in Urumqi, where my extension was from the day I applied for the extension. The PSB in Turpan had application forms, did not require proof of residence, and I had the required passport photo available.
So the grand plan is to hang out in Turpan this weekend, and take a bus back to Shanshan on Monday morning, where I will begin skating at 6pm on Monday towards Hami. The plan at present is to skate naval style – in shifts (watches) of 4 hours at a time. From 6am till 10am, and then from 6pm till 10pm. In Turpan yesterday it was 43 degrees Celcius at 2pm. The overnight lows are not low at all – 28 degrees last night.
By 10am, it is just starting to get unbearable. At 6pm, it is still very hot, but within an hour the direct sunlight is drifting off towards the horizon. I hope to skate four or five 40 minute intervals within each four hour shift. It will be a very rigid schedule, but one that I will have to keep to if I am to get out of this desert that I am feeling rather stranded in!