Sunday, 14 November 2010


The roads just keep on climbing, higher and higher. I start to notice a definite reduction of power from the engine but as yet no major problems. I ask Serena just how high we are, she guesses at 1500m above sea level but she‘s not sure - I have suspicions that we’re quite a bit higher…

Earlier on Bex bought a box of the popular Asian junk food “Custard Cake”; Individual cakes sealed in foil packets. Peckish, I pick one out of the box only to discover that the sealed packets have inflated massively and are almost at bursting point. I knew this was because of reduced air pressure, confirming that we are indeed a long way above sea level….From here on a sealed custard cake was to become our make shift altimeter for the mountainous areas of our route!

Meanwhile the power from the engine just keeps on falling, so much so that we’re almost in first gear for some of the steeper inclines. .. A glance over the edge of the mountain pass grants fleeting glimpses of the valley floor a long, long way below. I could lean out the fuel/air mixture to compensate for the altitude by swapping out some parts on the carburettor, but time is marching on, I’m not keen on night driving in the mountains, so we crack on.

The descent down to Kuming takes several hours. With the reduction in altitude comes an anticipated increase in performance and deflation of the custard cake packet....

In due course we arrive at our hotel in Kunming, I waste no time in logging onto the internet to check out the altitude of the region. I’m not entirely surprised to see that the Chinese National high altitude training camp for the Olympic games is based nearby, the altitude varies with some peaks exceeding 5,000m above sea level…… No wonder the engine was struggling at times.

We’re almost at the end of our time in China, its been brilliant so its time to celebrate with a night on the lash. We head into to the centre of town for a Budweiser fuelled evening of cards and cabaret, a pretty funny night, Serena is in top form!

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