Continuing my 1985 diary of a trip to China
Today we are going to hitch to Golmud. Since it is a forbidden city, in a banned state, and hitch-hiking is banned, I’m slightly apprehensive. But apparently it’s been done before. The Chinese, being thoroughly practical, apparently don’t do anything terrible if they discover you, they just want to get you out of the area ASAP, and since we’ve got our passes to Lhasa, hopefully they’ll send us on in that direction.
We start out really early. It is dark and very cold. We walk right out of the town so as not to excite suspicion and when a truck comes along, we stick our thumbs out. No luck. Some trucks stop, and the drivers are very helpful, but none is going as far as Golmud. This is not going so well.
The day wears on and we decide to keep going until 3pm. No luck. Most of the trucks that go past are full to busting anyway, with people standing up in the back.
Decide to open a tin of corned beef, and even that is against us. The tab for the key has been soldered firmly to the can. We open it with a penknife and a rock. No more lorries stop. We sit about in the dust by the side of the road and dig out lumps of corned beef and bicker about what we should do. The girls are much braver than me. They’d take a truck half way to Golmud and chance it. They’ve been in China long enough to know what is possible. But I’m seriously concerned about only getting part of the way and ending up somewhere even more out in the boondocks than here. Especially as it’s in a state where the Chinese apparently do their nuclear testing and foreigners are not officially allowed in. There’s nothing to say, that if the Chinese police do decide to scoop us up, that they’ll be nice.
Also, none of us is very enthusiastic about standing for several days in the back of a truck. We talk some more. Cheryl gets her guide book and her railway timetable out. There is a bus from Cheng Du. We could get that. Or we could possibly fly. Although that might be expensive. We finish off the corned beef and agree to go to Cheng Du. It will mean our schedule is a bit buggered, but I’m quite relieved we’re keeping everything legal.
Back to the hotel.