Day 14: Crossing into China, Part I

We’re heading back to Customs in just a few minutes, but I have access to wireless and time for a quick post to let everyone know we made it across the border into China yesterday. I plan to write a more detailed account later this evening about yesterday’s rather eventful crossing. I will say now that if our guide, Sventlana, hadn’t intervened for us, we’d probably still be sitting in Russia. To give you an idea of how the day went, here’s the first attempt at loading John’s Roadster onto one of the Russian trucks for transport — despite the much appreciated effort on the part of four different truck drivers, this didn’t work out very well … By the time we abandoned this method, it was already almost 3pm.

First loading attempt in Russia

First loading attempt in Russia (Eileen Bjorkman photo)

The four of us and the cars all made it across the border and into Suifhenhe late yesterday (Luke and me on the bus about 6pm and Leo and John with the trucks/cars about 9pm Vladivostok time), but as of noon today (Friday), the cars are still awaiting customs release. We are going to stay another night in Suifhenhe and will drive directly to Harbin tomorrow instead of stopping in Mudanijiang.

This morning, we completed the paperwork we need for driving in China, include Chinese driver’s licenses; now all we need is the cars! So far, everything on the Chinese side has gone smoothly and everyone is very friendly and helpful.

Now if I could just figure out the time zone change here. Somehow in the 200 km drive to the border from Vladivostok, we managed to gain three hours — we’re now on Beijing time.