Photographs. On The Road: China. Vol. 1

One and the only problem I have experienced while hitchhiking in China was the language barrier. When I first entered China I olny knew two words in Mandarin: “ni hao” (hello) and “xie xie” (thank you). I had no idea how to explain what hitchhiking is, why I don’t want to take a bus/train, and what the hell do I want from the driver anyway. Surprisingly, China was one of the easiest countries to hitchhike. And what was even more interesting, people somehow understood what I was doing on the highway, so I only had to name my destination, and that would be enough.

Interesting fact: According to The World Factbook’s 2011 data, the total length of roads in China is 4,106,387 kilometers, which makes it the 2nd country in world by total road network size.

On the Road to Ürümqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Winter Road from Kazakh border to Urumqi, China
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Windscreen: Nine Frames from the Road

Getting in the cars while hitchhiking on the Road is like visiting movie theaters, where the car’s windscreen is the large white screen in the cinema, the drivers are the people who watch the movie with you, and the just released movie is the Road itself. Every such “movie” has completely different soundtracks, based on a certain musical taste of the driver who offers you a ride, or a country where you’re watching the movie. What I like most about it is that every “cinema” I visit on the Road has a unique design, and almost all them are different from one another. I like movies, especially those about the Road. Cinemas on the Road. The only thing is you don’t get popcorn. But sometimes drivers offer beer, or even whiskey. Rarely, dope…but this also happens.

Between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Any Road Will Take You There…

Before January 2007 my life was all about studying, working and earning money to be able to live a decent life. Then I hit the Road for the first time, hitchhiking from Moscow to St. Petersburg (the ones in Russia) with a close friend of mine. It was all spontaneous. But it changed my life completely. Since that very first hitchhiking trip began the part of life I would call life on the Road… The Road became part of me. I guess it was always in there, hidden somewhere deep down in my soul in the form of a vague idea, waiting for the only kick to burst out. Many a Roads I had taken since then, yet many a Roads are still to be traveled one day. “You may not know where you came from, may not know who you are, may not have even wondered how you got this far… For if you don’t know where you’re going, any Road will take you there…”

On the Road to Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Early in the morning. January 2009.

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Dali Old Town: Bai architecture

According to literature, Dali Ancient City was a gateway to the Silk Road in Southwest China, and also served as a seat of government and a major military barracks for Yunnan Province in ancient times.. There were four city gates facing West, East, North and South, upon which a gate tower sat.. Four further towers were also placed at the four corners of the city wall.. As it underwent many phases of prosperity as well as decline, only the city base remained till today.. The North and the South Towers were restored in 1982..

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Litang Chode Monastery

Litang town is the administrative centre of Litang County in the southwest of the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province of China. The town is located at an altitude of 4,014 meters; its actual altitude is about 400 meters higher than Lhasa, which makes Litang one of the highest towns in the world. And just to the north of the town the famous Litang Chode Monastery is located.

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