Martijn and Mariëlle

Martijn and Mariëlle Follow

🚴🏼‍♀️ Crossing the Eurasian continent on bikes.
🌏 Groningen (NL) - Tianjin (China)
🇨🇳 Currently in China

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Hurray we are in China! Around one year ago we jumped on the bike with one goal. Back then we were very cautious when explaining that goal. We would say: we are going to try to cycle to China. To temper expectations. Because, who knows what could happen? One year later we can say: we did it. We cycled to China! 13.000+km. 120.000 meters up. 15 flats. And luckily we can still smile 😊.
There’s life on Mars.
Life in Laos.
The beautiful Kuang Si falls. The water gets it’s bright blue colour from limestone particles that reflect sunlight.
We celebrated Martijn’s 29 birthday in Nam Dong national park. Certainly one thing didn’t change over the years: he still likes to climb trees.
Spooks and big booties in Paklay.
Laos kids make us smile 😃
Burning Laos. In the hot season farmers burn down fields and forest for new crops. It’s a cheap but very polluting way of farming. The air quality here is one of the worst in the world. The smoke is bad for lungs and warms the earth by increasing the greenhouse effect. We crossed not only burned down fields but also fields that were actually burning. Sitting before the tent in the night we could not see the light of the stars (due to smog); instead we saw the light of fires. It also happens in Thailand but there you’ll find advertising against this practices. We hope the governments are capable of changing this habit because this is not good for anyone.
Bamboo bridge crossing.
Campers collection Laos.
A friend once said: ‘touring cyclists have three possible problems: traffic, visa’s and climate’. The last weeks we struggled with at least two of them. 
First was quest for a Chinese visa. We visited the consulates of Georgetown, Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang. After being turned down three times our hopes were low. Thinking about plan B, C and D kept us awake at night. We took boats and busses to arrive on time in Vientiane to try our last chance. We presented the staff of the embassy a pack of 50 papers. Desperately trying to convince them of our good intentions. The woman quickly scanned the papers and gave half of them back. She asked: ‘When do you want to pick it up?’ We were ecstatic.
The second problem is the climate and the way people deal with it. In Laos it’s the hot season now. Temperatures rise to 40 degrees and the landscape is very dry. Farmers take ‘advantage’ of the situation to burn down forests and fields for new crops. The result is a hell on earth. Extreme temperatures, burning fields and smog so bad that the air quality is one of the worst in the whole world.
But let’s end on a positive note. We’re back in the saddle with a Chinese visa in our pockets. Here some pics from an off road route through banana plantations. Thanks @dfietst for the tips.