[pic id = 99942 name = imagearticle type = small] To travel to China, you first need to solve the visa issue. Through Moscow, where the Chinese Embassy is located, is expensive and troublesome. Through the Far East, the path is long but problem-free. We found a tour operator in Omsk. The company manager spoke about an exceptionally interesting bus tour to the Chinese city of Urumqi on a highly comfortable two-story Neoplan, equipped with berths, a dry closet and air conditioning. The path lies through the territory of Kazakhstan, the trip will take about 12 days. They agreed, especially since these days in Urumqi there was an annual international exhibition, as we had before at VDNH, where cars were also presented.
The journey begins
[pic id = 99943 name = imagearticle type = small] After the travel dates were postponed several times, we were informed that the departure was two days later. Surprises began immediately. After a two-hour delay, the “highly comfortable” Neoplan, a two-story pink shed, drove up to the departure point. Despite the hot, dry weather, it was covered with mud to the roof of the second floor. Kazakh bus numbers justified the worst suspicions: non-laundered bedding, broken dry closet, faulty air conditioning, a thick smell of diesel fuel in the cabin. Belching up puffs of black smoke, this pink monster set off. There is no desire to describe the path itself: the crazy vibration in the cabin and the condition of the Kazakh roads will be worse than a storm at sea. But finally, we are on the Kazakh-Chinese border, where it became clear why the bus is Kazakh: Russia does not have an agreement with China on crossing the border with Russian transport. At first, Kazakh customs officers did not allow the bus to leave in China because of its deplorable technical condition, in addition, different tires were on the leading Neoplan bridges. But after some "negotiations" the bus began to meet international standards.
Chinese autobahn and city highways
[pic id = 99944 name = imagearticle type = small] The road through China began with a magnificent highway. Our path lay along the spurs of the Tien Shan, along the ancient Silk Road. I have visited many countries of the Old World and Asia, but I note the fact - roads in China are better than in old Europe: when driving on the autobahn, even tea in a glass does not splash. Fare, depending on the length of the site. After a certain number of kilometers there are payment points with a barrier. The maximum speed on the highway is 120 km / h. But unhurried Chinese truck drivers rarely go over 60 km / h, and carts and tractors are even slower.
Of particular danger on the road are rural drivers in three-wheeled trucks. This monster with a two-stroke diesel engine, a huge flywheel and a belt drive to the rear axle can emerge anywhere on the road, turn around and go towards the autobahn. At the same time, his driver is absolutely sure of the correctness of his actions. Priority signs, it seems, only adorn the roads, they are generally not paid attention to.
When we arrived at the hotel in Urumqi, it turned out that our tour operator did not have a host to organize excursions. The leader of the group, she is a guide, does not know Chinese, and her receptionists do not understand her English, by the way they speak very well. But in China, without knowledge of the language, it is like no hands: all the inscriptions, numbers are either hieroglyphs or Arabic script (Muslim North is China's north). But we solved this problem with the help of Russian friends who found us two translators. One of them agreed to accompany the leader of the group, the other - us.
On the roads of Urumqi, a huge number of cars moves in four rows in each direction. At the intersection of large highways - the denouement in two or three levels. Ground pedestrian crossings are indicated by zebras, but this does not mean at all that a pedestrian walking along the zebra and into the green light will be surely missed. Moreover, dozens of cars will beep for him to stomp faster. And the Chinese often cross the street without turning their heads, anywhere.
I saw Chinese traffic cops only two times. Although at first glance, car traffic is chaotic and erratic. A double continuous strip is not an obstacle to a turn on it. Everyone is desperately honking, cutting, but understanding that others are doing the same: no one is angry and is not trying to teach anyone a lesson.
In China, you can drive a car only with international or Chinese rights, the latter can be registered with the police (temporary) upon presentation of a national certificate.
Taxi and the dream of a motorist
[pic id = 99945 name = imagearticle type = small] Taxis in China are mostly state-owned. The minimum payment is 6 yuan, then 1.3 yuan per 1 km, which makes taxis very accessible by transport. Taxi drivers do not charge for tapping, they clearly give change, the fare is rounded down. Red public taxis, Volkswagen Passat cars. We used a copy with a mileage of 750-800 thousand km in very good condition. Taxi drivers do not know Russian and English, you show a card with a hieroglyph, and you are taken in the shortest way. The driver is separated from the passengers by a metal guard - for safety. In the evening, passengers are seated only in the back seat. As an exception, a woman can go next to the driver.