Brewing up in Beijing

It had to be a mirage. A large frosted glass full of beer with a frothy head standing ten metres high in the Gobi desert, as the sands beneath were being blown into small drifts by the strong winds.

A ticket on a rocket. Dhaka.

You don't need to wait for Virgin Galactic to get their act together. You can buy tickets for a rocket today, down at the port of Sadarghat in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Of course this will not take you into space but down along the rivers of Bangladesh, and for a bargain price too.

Treks and Drugs and Chapati Rolls. Passu.

This is the Passu Cathedral. The magnificent snow covered mountain spires that reach over 6,100 metres (21,000 feet) surrounding the small Hunza Valley village of Passu in north east Pakistan. My plan was to find a good spot for a photo, probably just off to the side of the Karakorum Highway on which I was travelling, and then head to the border town of Sost for an early bus the next morning into China. Yet, exactly as Rabbie Burns had predicted in his poem about the dangers of making detailed plans over two hundred years previously, things went awry.

How to lose something larger than the Empire State Building. Shipton's Arch

It is easy to lose things. I have lost count of the number of decent pairs of sunglasses I have lost in my travels around the world. Yet to lose an arch, and not just any arch, but the largest arch in the world, which could easily fit the Empire State Building in New York into it with room to spare, well that seems to be a whole new level of carelessness.

Kashgar. The last stop on the Karakoram Highway

The Stone Fort at Tashgurkan
I felt like I was in Tajikistan not China. The clothes, the food, the way people dressed, all were just so Tajik. Yet I was in Tashgurkan, the first Chinese town on the Karakoram Highway which I had been travelling on since Islamabad.

Borders and Bandits. Into China on the Karakoram Highway

US Dollars. The greenback is useful in so many places in the world, not just of course the USA, and proved to be the means for my escape from Sost at the Pakistan end of the Karokaram Highway. I had been stuck at the here due to a tit-for-tat dispute between the countries which had led to the international border being closed for nine days.

Heading North on the Karakoram Highway. Pakistan

The Karakoram Highway, connecting Pakistan to China, regularly makes it into the top 10 most dangerous roads in the world, alongside the Kolyma Highway, or ‘Road of Bones’, in Russia and the Yungas track, the ‘Death Road’ in Bolivia.