We’re going to be camping a lot more this week as our passports are awaiting processing in the visa office in Urumchi. All hostels, guesthouses and hotels are supposed to ask for our visas and register all guests, foreign or local, into the PSB (Public Security Bureau) system. Since we don’t have the passports, and don’t want to spend several hours each evening explaining to the local cops of each little town the perfectly legitimate reason why, camping from here to Urumchi sounds like the most hassle-free option.
Camping has several distinct advantages. It will save some money as we’re avoiding accommodation costs, and we can do as many or as few kms as we like as we’re not tied to reaching a specific point on the map. The lack of rain and pleasantly cool nighttime temperatures are perfectly suited to a few nomadic nights on the road, and we should be able to get a hot meal or two in the little towns along the way (assuming they actually exist, but that’s another story). However, the lack of washing facilities means it’s going to be a pretty stinky week, so I’m glad we each have our own tents.
I’m a big fan of camping, desert spiders excepted, and am really looking forward to sleeping underneath the stars. I tried sleeping without my rain-fly the last night we camped, and the view of the night sky was nothing short of spectacular. Highly recommended.