Late on Day 8 we crossed the border to China and arrived to Bortala. Those of you who know my partner Aviv, will remember that he is a bit picky in food choices. actually he mostly eats bread or pasta. but after a long day on the road, when we stopped at a Chinese road side restaurant, even Aviv had to make a brave face and try this Western Chinese delicacy:
Day 9 from Bortala to Urumqi. First glimpse at the Chinese desert. it is vast, it is hot, it has nothing to be ashamed at as compared to the Sahara. This day had a “road” between and over very soft sand dunes with some vegetation. we started the special around noon, and the temperatures were over 45 C (115 F); it was brutal and we had to stop many times to cool off the engine, running it at barely the boiling temperature. it was frustrating to see car with bigger engines overtake us but we knew our limitation and preferred to take it slowly but to somehow make it out of that inferno. many hours into the race we ran into our friends Raz and Hillel in car #127. their engine, BMW diesle same as ours, seemed to have over heated and stopped working. we staying with them for almost an hour trying to restart the engine by towing the car. Hillel is a master mechanic and he built the “Yellow” from scratch, so no point in telling him what to do. we gave them most of our water (too cool off the engine), managed to start their car with a tow, and went on. they did manage to get out of the desert and into camp later that night, which will be the first of many long nights for them as their engine never really came back to itself after that day.
Day 1o Urumqi to Hami, greeted us after another 300 km on the road, with magnificent “African” style dunes of the next 400 km; standing at 300 feet and higher, bright orange, soft because of the heat, the dunes gave the competitors a real run for their money… all in all we did really well as Aviv turned out to be just fantastic in the dunes and we never really get stuck. here are some pictures of us, as well as of the leading competitors taken by professional photographers:
The next stay at Dunhuang suprised us with a strong sand storm; no helicopters could fly, and the viability of the ground was zero, so after a long wait, we continued by road to Jiayunguang