Saturday, 30 October 2010

Yining (China)

Its snowing! Just a light dusting on the car at the moment, but its cold enough for it to settle.

After breakfast we motor out to the licensing centre and start the long, drawn out process of obtaining Chinese driving licences and vehicle registration plates.

The first port of call is the medical desk for an eyesight test. I quickly realise that I don’t have my glasses with me, but have a crack at it anyway. Despite a few wrong “guesses” we’re issued our medical approval certificate and sent on our way. (When taking an eyesight test, it always helps if your response is translated then dictated to the doctor by your translator - who also happens to be standing next to the eye test chart…!)

We leave the rest of the work to Serena, who spends the next couple of hours queuing in various lines in order to get the required rubber stamps on our paperwork. I use the spare down time to carry out a few minor jobs to the car - “FOG X” is applied to the interior side of all the windows, the plastic rain tray is fitted back underneath the engine grill and I finally manage to come up with a fix for the bonnet. (Its been popping open for weeks now)

An official comes out to inspect the car and take a pencil rubbing of the engine and body number stamps - Unfortunately he’s not happy with the aluminium data plate on the front slam panel and insists on inspecting the factory stamp on the bulkhead as well. A little inconvenient as it means I have to completely empty the luggage compartment in a snowstorm… But after checking this second number, he’s happy and issues the final stamp of approval. We collect our new Chinese driving licences and registration plate before heading back to the hotel for some liquid refreshments.

It’s a long drive through mountain roads tomorrow, if the snow persists overnight we’ll have to delay for another day. There are no gritting trucks over here; Snow, ice and Chinese drivers on narrow mountain roads can be a lethal combination.

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