Jun 21 2010

Breakfast outside? Too big windy

The March trip to Yunnan province was a fantastic opportunity to see the province again and how glorious it was 🙂

Rough Edge took a group of five from the UK, travelling to Kunming for a couple of decompression days, followed by our arrival in Dali (after a hot bus ride of 4 hours). Once again the delightful Bird Bar was our home for a few nights and that was wonderful and chilled. We took in a day on the Cloud Pass to acclimatise ourselves at an altitude of 2400m.

In Dali we ate mostly outdoors, the temperatures were gentle and the air was sweet. The only times we didn’t eat al fresco were when our restaurant host was to tell us “no, too big windy!”

From Dali we headed once again to the oasis that is the Carnation Inn in Lijiang. Among the trinkets and tourist trash we planned our trek along Tiger Leaping Gorge.

And after a couple more hours in a bus, there we were heading into the gorge again and arriving at the extremely friendly Naxi Guest House at sunset – to some awe inspiring views across the back of the Jade Dragon Mountain range – truly wonderful 🙂

Our three days in the gorge also took in Halfway House, where the new accommodation is now complete – and very comfortable to boot.

On the final day, we took loads of video and pictures in the middle gorge and were driven out by micro-bus on a scary trip under roadworkers blasting a wider road through the rock. (Health & Safety regulations haven’t really reached Yunnan yet!)

Finally, refreshed by a night back at the Carnation Inn, we found ourselves back in Kunming and reconnected with Melodie (owner of the International Nail & Beauty Salon & a huge help in securing our accommodation on day one two weeks before).

Flying back everyone agreed it had been an action packed trip – lots of laughter, loads of welcoming and friendly people and a host of new and different experiences and sights 🙂

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Peter (one of our trip members) and his company Gripped Communications for making this short video of our Yunnan 2010 trip – take a look, it should give you a good feel for the place.

Be happy.

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics China 2010. DofE Gold Expedition. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.


Nov 17 2009

Explore 2009 at the Royal Geographical Society

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Rough Edge were fortunate enough to be at the RGS’s Explore weekend, which was fantastic. So many people with so many amazing and creative ideas, not just about their expeditions and journeys, but also how to tell people about them and how to make each of them have a positive impact.

More than one of the main speakers talked aout travelling with humility – this is what we try to do; from now we will ingrain it into the Rough Edge philosophy.

If anyone asks you to Explore another year and you are at all interested in the world, whether that is China, or anywhere – just GO!

While the rest of London walked or drove past the doors with the gloom of winter nights and global depression hanging over them, the RGS was a bright shining light of optimism, where anything was possible.

Thanks to all the wonderful people we met and we will be in touch to see how these brilliant new connections can evolve.

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics, China 2010 DofE Gold Expedition. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.


Sep 23 2009

It’s all about balance

Yesterday was an equinox. An equal number of daylight and nightime hours all over the world. Yesterday was also the day the DofE signed off Rough Edge as an Approved Activity Provider. On a day of perfect balance.

It has been a long journey so far, but it has all been worth it and it is fantastic to be here. Now the even harder work starts.

Thanks again to everyone who is involved so far – this is truly only something for those committed to doing some good and there’s a lot of us already, so spread the word and let’s watch it grow.

And now here’s our first official sign from DofE… Now all we need is an office window to stick it onto 🙂 (On gaining DofE AAP status 23 September 2009)

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Rough Edge Adventure Logistics

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.


Jul 28 2009

And once more back again

Isn’t it always brilliant to arrive back home? Such a warm feeling.

So, Yunnan is incredible, but now the real work starts (not just the washing), we have to put together the right programme, with the right people, in the right places ready for 2010.

If you are interested, the blog will continue as plans become realities. Meantime thanks for reading. There’s loads more I could say, but it’s best saved for another time after some reflection – it’s a bit soon for a summary today. (on arriving back in the UK 28 July)And once more back again

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.


Jul 28 2009

From here to there and back again

From here to there and back again3

Busy Shanghai and it’s amazing energy. The city is racing to finish loads of roads, metro lines and buildings before the 2010 World Expo there next April. It is an incredible sight and it’s very noisy. This is the first time I have ever seen a live decibel counter in the street…
Then landing in Hong Kong there was surreal mist over the hills of Lantau island, it was 31 celsius, the city was busy rounding off its weekend, I was marking time before Monday night’s flight home. I’m glad I can sleep on flights 🙂 (Bits of the long journey back 25/26 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition.


Jul 28 2009

Schoolboy errors flashing lights and policemen

DON’T leave a gas canister in your rucsac when you check in for a flight. All the check in counters in the row let out a piercing alarm and red lights flashed on all the scanning machines as I tried to check in at Kunming airport to fly to Shanghai. Resolving the situation was very friendly and not difficult, except there was a lot of paperwork the clerk had to fill in, oh and the police had to come to put their stamp on it too, which took a while. Eventually though I was checked in and all clear.
However.
DO remember to take your penknife out of your hand luggage and put it in your check in luggage before you try and pass through security. Imagine the surprise on the face of the check in clerk when I returned 10 minutes later with the smallest bag I had with me containing just my penknife. “Knife?” She asked. “Hmm” I nodded. No alarms and no lights this time (thankfully). Just a smile and a shrug.

Schoolboy errors flashing lights and policemen

The best surprise however was on arrival in Shanghai. Having picked my humungous rucsac (sans gas) off the belt, I honestly thought the small bag may not have survived the competition, surrounded by daunting bigger bags and muscular suitcases… but minutes later there it was heading towards me on the belt, my penknife returned to me! (The picture of the policemen is not very revealing, but I didn’t want to cause any trouble and so took it with my phone, as they were walking away.  (Kunming to Shanghai 24 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 24 2009

Ba Bye will take over the world

There is no point learning how to say goodbye, zai jian, cheerio, adieu, see you anon, au revoir, auf wiedersehen or see ya. Just know how to adapt ba bye to whatever situation, it is sweeping the world. This is not ba bye, there are a few more posts to come before I get back. Tonight however I am reunited with my laptop after a month so I wanted to share this thought. Ba bye – see you tomorrow (just arrived in Shanghai 24 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 23 2009

This bit’s all buses

So, Lijiang is as I left it – packed with tourists. I find the Carnation Inn again and I’m met with smiles and a warm welcome from the family there. I repack my rucsac and I can'[t quite believe just how full it is again. Mr Carnation Inn organises me a ticket to get me to Kunming – I am to take a sleeper bus…
Finding my way to the bus station for a 7pm departure the sky clouds over and there is monumental thunder and lightning and it rains, like really rains! Once at the bus station however, confusion reigns as it turns out I have been taken to the wrong bus station. Great. But thanks in no small way to the incredibly efficient ticket office clerk, for somehow she manages to track down my bus, which by now (7.40) must have already left it’s departure point and she redirects it and it comes to pick me up – awesome. However, while I have been waiting I have been admiring the extremely smart Volvo and Daewoo buses at the bus station – feeling reassured by their gleaming paintwork and efficient looking drivers and staff. As my true bus pulls in two scruffy bus drivers approach and wave me towards a much less attractive looking bus and – alarmingly – thrust Y21 back at me saying I have overpaid. This is not the most reassuring start to an overnight journey in the rain back down through the mountains of Yunnan, but hey ho – let’s see.
There are no really good pictures of this bit, just some video I took in the dead of night to give an impression of what it is like crammed onto the top bunk of a sleeper bus on a “bed” that is about 8 inches wide and surrounded by 40 other people in similarly cramped bunks all of whom seem to be suffering from chest infections. This is one journey I don’t want to repeat. Here’s dawn over the lake in Kunming. I was extremely glad to arrive here and I really didn’t care how tired I was. (Lijiang to Kunming on a “sleeper” bus 21/22 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 21 2009

The bus off and on

Image Thumbnail Image Thumbnail
Image ThumbnailImage Thumbnail It is an awesome bus, very smooth and excellently driven. So once the tyre is fixed we make good speed and head high into the mountains – passing slower traffic easily and quickly. All of a sudden though we come to a roadblock and the bus slows to a stop again. There has been a landslide and workers are suspended in harnesses high above the road to hack away at the loose earth letting it crash to the road to be cleared away. Traffic is stopped in both directions while this operation unfolds. We all head up onto the grassy hill by the road and wait in the sun, we are there for about an hour until a siren sounds, the men haul their way back up their ropes to a makeshift platform they’ve carved out of the muddy hill and traffic is allowed slowly past this obstruction – we’re off again, Lijiang is only hours away. (On and off the bus again from Zhong Dian to Lijiang 21 July)Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 21 2009

On and off the bus

Heading south from Shangri La about an hour into the journey there is a loud bang. The driver slows to a halt and his sidekick steps down from the bus to see what has happened. The bus has had a blowout on one of the rear wheels. Thinking about it now, I am quite glad it happened on the long straight flat road across the plain from Zhong Dian and not in the mountains through the pass down to the Haba range. Anyhow, there is much discussion, one incredibly small looking jack to hold the wheel aloft (people still in the bus and free to come and go both in and out of the bus throughout)… It takes about 20 minutes to fix and we are on the way again – heading south towards Lijiang and for me the place I am to be reunited with some of my travel baggage – left behind before Wenhai and the trek to Tiger Leaping Gorge… Onwards. (On the bus from Zhong Dian to Lijiang 21 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce