Thursday, 29 October 2009

In chains:

When we arrived in pakistan the border guards had somehow lost the key to the visa cupboard so we had to wait some time. To entertain themselves the border guards put me in handcuffs and dragged me around the yard.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Close call for Mr Bent (something I forgot)

I was hungry and tired on the way out of China and was told by a local to go to a small village for food. On my arrivals there was a lot of fancy dressing up going on but I was still welcomed in in my licra and smelly gear. On my way in I passed a women dressed up to the max and then three very disgruntled men.

What seemed to be the mother and father asked me lots of questions as I stuffed my face with whatever was on the table laid out again all nicely. Nodding and smiling seemed to get me so far then they turned there attention to the other men one by one.

it wasn't until i was leaving that I realised that the parents were looking for a suitor for their daughter!! i was first in - no wonder the other guys looked a bit cheesed.

As I left the father said something along the lines of 'don't call us, we'll call you' so i suppose all you ladies are in luck. i haven't been married off yet.

Three new folders of pics - just click on the pic and you'll enter the depths of the folder





Osh - Kashkar:

Osh - Kashkar

Mr B is back and kicking (the cat that keeps sleeping on my pillow)!!

Long time no chat - China having a lock down on internet (none at all) and calling (outside of the country - which includes hong kong strangely) can do that!!

So Kyrgyzstan continued in the same vain - I was cycling up one of the passes about 4000m and a bandit riding a horse in a balaclava (and other clothes) decided to attack me with his horse whip. Luckily a truck came past at the same moment and I was able to outstretch my hand grab the back and fly up the mountain leaving the bandit with a look of shock in his eyes!! I've been doing that quite a bit - sometimes on the flat too!! (It's not cheating - I'm still in the saddle. No it's not, OK maybe just a bit!!)

Barring that Kyrgy is an amazing country with Pamir mountain range on the right hand side. Up one of the higher passes my front pannier fell off. Nice and cold fixing it. The other then fell of and my seat snapped. So when I got to Saritash Shirley was screwed, banged, poked with a red hot poker, nailed - the list goes on... it didn't last...

We were flying down a totally unmade road and the same pannier fell off again but this time got stuck in my front wheel breaking spokes and stopping the bike in it's tracks - obviously catapulting me over the handle bars landing at the feet of a police officer with the bike landing on top of me some time after. "Asalomalicom" - hello.

What else?? Cycling through snow and ice - skidding out. Nice pic.

Then China opened it's borders after 12 days and let us in...

First night at a restaurant - no Chinese between us. We pointed to two dishes on menu and waited. To our delight chicken legs started and then the head was for main course. Yummy.

After that we could eat anything and the sheep's head floating in soup was delightful. The tongue was tasty, the rain was like cream cheese and the eye ball was like meat flavoured chewing gum that you've picked off the bottom of a chair from school.

With the chinese lock down this year in an attempt to squash the passion of the Uiga's - the indigenous people to the Xing Jang province it was impossible to get into Tibet - the area where the Chinese had previously brought destruction and ruin. So I was faced with a question. What do I do? Pakistan or fly? A few people were heading into Pakistan and seemed to think it was OK but remember we had no contact with the outside world for 2 weeks.

On our first day out of Kashkar it got colder. I woke with a frozen sleeping bag and my tent frozen inside and out. Thanks again Cotswald - I was super warm!! The silence made me feel like I was in one of the balls you get at Christmas with a beautiful winter scene inside. Totally silent. Then I touched the top of the tent and it was like the ball had been shaken, a blizzard inside. Snowing inside. Or at least the frost all falling in tiny pieces slowly. We heard on the radio about the Pakistai offensive against the Teliban. Oh dear I thought - but every else was more relaxed so we continued!! (needless to say when we passed a mining place where they were using explosives I cycled a bit faster than normal not knowing whether I was a target!)

Thank goodness we did. The road into Pakistan is the most beautiful place on earth and the people have the most wonderful welcoming smiles and hearts! I cycled for 2 miles and was almost in tears. I thought I'd found what I'd been looking for... I almost felt like I fitted in?? Which is something special for someone who has lived 30yrs feeling like an Alien in this world. (Or Angel, huh? Gergana??)

(I'll post some pics and make you jealous soon - I took 1000 pics in 5 days (but did lose all my pics of Kyrgyzstan and some of china when I accidentally hit delete all - hoping a techy can get them back??!))

So mum and dad are hoping to come out in week or so to see some of the amazing scenery here and feel the love of the people. So excited. Meanwhile I have made a bet that I can cycle the hilly road from the Chinese border to here in one day with the hostel owner. It's an awful unmade road over many hills, and 190k. The chinese are mining rock and sometimes just though massive bolders onto the road for lorries to collect later when they feel like it. Closing the road and at one point taking my pannier off. (Also had to dodge some football size rocks on a night time trek to the celebration fires as goats passed over head!!) Maybe we'll be dining out on my funds!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Into China

Quick note to everyone that I will hopefully be entering China in a few days (after cycling to border) and once inside, the province I will initially be in has a 'China Wall' stopping people calling outside the country or emailing.

So I'll be quiet for a bit - no need to worry - I'll be busy eating insects and trying to get my visa to Tibet?? Sounding doubtful.

I do have a new mobile for the next 4 days till China as English one has finally said 'no more'. My number is 0996771427177 - I haven't received any texts on English number for past 4 days or so coz no reception so sorry for not replying.

Big love, Danx

Monday, 5 October 2009

Massive thanks

I quick blog to say a massive thankyou to everyone who has sponsored me during my trip. We're getting close to 5000 pounds now all added up. If you haven't yet then feel free to click on

Special thanks to the children of St John's. (And mums and dads). Jude in answer to your question your horn is still entertaining everyone I meet and helps me when cars are trying to run me off the road too!! When I can't communicate with locals a squeeze of the horn says everything there is to say.

Tatty - when I was supposed to be packing my stuff at midnight the day before I left I was busy sewing your star onto my yellow shirt. That yellow shirt is much less yellow now as it is being faded by the sun. But I wear it as often as I can purely becuase of the star. It really has brought me good luck.

As have my ribbons that I am still wearing on my wrist. Emma, your thread of cotton with my initials on in pink is still there too. I had no idea a bit of cotton could be so strong. But where clothes, cameras, watches, bags have been ripped and damaged by the desert, mountains and weather a single string has stayed round my wrist for almost 3 months.

Joe, your socks are still with me but have got a bit smelly. When I get back you can have them back as a souvenir if you want?

Holly, Carina - my hat will be coming into use in the next 2 days when I have to climb to mountains with snow on top. The biggest being 3600m - 3 times higher than Ben Nevis - the highest peak in the UK!! And I've got to cycle it!??!! Oh dear....

Thanks so much for all your emails - everyone makes me feel so special!!! My email is dannyjbent@googlemail - let me know what you are up to!! :o)

I'm a bit behind on 3B birthday wishes - Happy Birthday to Maisy and Olivia E for September and Zoe for earlier this month, Ami for the 9th.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Some of my best I think.....

Samakan - Osh


So I've been a bit quiet recently and there are good reasons for this!!

Barring some beautiful sites and people met along the way the real story starts when I get to Tashkent (a city that rivaled Bagdad in its prime).

When you stay in Uzbekistan you need to get a form called your registration filled in each day. If a hotel in Tashkent realises you don't have it they don't let you stay and call the police who slap you with a $1000 fine. I've been spending a lot of time in Chai Hanners (tea houses) and my tent. So bit nervous when looking for places to stay.

First hotel looks and gives me my passport back and tells me to leave. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, are all full. The next one lets me in and I'm celebrating in the shower when there's a knock at the door. "Mr bent? Problem". Here we go again. But no.....

My visa was only for 10 days!! I've been in the country for 19 already. That pretty much puts me in a very bad position. If the police catch me I'm in for all sorts of trouble - I'm illegally in the country. So first plan is to get off the street which is littered with bribe hungry policeman at the best of time. But no hotel will have me.

Luckily I have a Serpie contact on my side who just so happened to know the Russian Mafia. After a few calls we pull up a dark alley and a bear gets out of a car ("the Russian") and squeezes into the back of our Daewoo Matiz. We then drive to his safe house. 2 steel doors with numerous locks later and I'm in my home for the next 2days. It's a Palace.

Now how do i continue to stay inconspicuous in the Stans? That's it - get hammered on vodka and eat kebab. The people we met had been waiting for us for some time by now and vodka bottles littered the table. Several more were added and then we went dancing!!

Back at the safe house the following morning I sat for 5 hours scared to leave, eating yesterdays cold kebab left overs and coke, waiting for my friend to pick me up.

Maksud (Serpie contact - thanks Derek!!) picks me up on the second day and drove me through all the police checks in the city to the road I'd come in on and dropped me off. I just had 3 days and about 10 police posts and some big mountains to get through!!

3 days - 3 more chai hanners - it's only getting worse.
Mountains - fine and dandy. As ever attacked from the bottom and was wasted by the top!!
Police - no problems - they were too interested in having their pictures taken, playing my ukelele, asking for presents to pay attention to the passport. I even manged to hold onto the window of a police car whilst it dragged me up the hills. Just like in old mega drive games - I held down the fire button and blasted my way through with my finest smiles. But still there was the border - they have computers and all sorts - I was bound to be caught.

Massive crowds of both Uz's and Kyryg's trying to get through. They parted like the sea for Moses I was pushed to the front. The guards were ahead.

I turned on all the charms again.

Before I go on I need to mention that everyone in Uzbekistan thought I looked like wayne rooney!?!? "Come on - give me some credit here... please".

The guards were looking at the fine details of my passport - comparing them with the things on screne. Not looking happy. So I pulled the wild card out - and introduced myself in Russian as Wayne Rooney. Everyone laughed a lot and wanted to come and shake my hand. So the documents were stamped and given back to me with smiles!! :o)



And it continued.......

Last night out on the tiles we had some drinks to celebrate being in a town and getting through borders.

Now whilst in the restaurent there was a big fight. Knifes, blood and bottles everywhere. It was messy.

Quite a lot of vodka and beer later we were in a club being plied vodka by the locals. There's just me and an Afro French guy left. Someone drank his drink and he got really angry.

This all cooled down and we ended up in a taxi with 2 locals. The taxi stopped and we were asked for our money politely. Oh dear. Cut a long stroy short the french guy ended up in a big fight and when their reinforcements arrived I got a good smash in the face. Little bit of swollen lip.

I was trying to break things up but eventually had to leave to get the police.

Crazy days...