…or at least the beginning of it!
It’s been a couple of days since leaving the UK, but we’ve finally caught up with the crew from team from the Journey of Discovery by Land Rover. The journey they’ve had from Birmingham to this point in Western China has been incredible – with all manner of dramas along the way. They’ve administered first aid to a couple of road accident victims, been through Russia and Ukraine, and breezed through the ‘Stans.
I’ve had a day or so to acclimatize myself to China – and the way this place is growing, combined with its sheer scale, and interesting history make it an absolutely fascinating place. The smog in the areas I’ve visited so far is a real problem, and it’s clearly a side effect of the rapid pace of development here. After having spent some time in Xi’an yesterday, there’s a good supply of British cars in attendance. They’re pretty much all hailing from the JLR stable, with Land Rovers currently dominating. But then they do just look at home here.
Back to the expedition, and the Discoveries have been indomitable along the way, riding the roughest roads smoothly on their air suspension, and soaking up all the challenges thrown at them. We’re in the city of Jiayuguan in the Gansu province and at the site of the start of the Chinese Wall. Although the earliest section looks unremarkable, its age and significance make it a humbling experience to visit – although being one of the seven wonders of the world, it’s a shame it can’t all be protected. But then, how could you protect nearly 3900 miles of wall?
Needless to say, the Land Rovers haven’t missed a beat along the way, and as we waft along the road into town – which is currently being made (it will no doubt be excellent once finished, as modern Chinese roads are brilliant) – the car just does not feel like it’s been on an adventure that would have shaken lesser vehicles to pieces. In fact, it feels as tight as a drum. Impressive…