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The Chinese motorcycle diaries

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  • Dane Mads Nielsen and Chinese American Anthony Tao encounter China''''''''''''''''s Mars base on Earth in remote Gansu province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

    COVID-19 seemed be chasing them, always just a few towns behind their tailpipe. Before them lay the open road, their handlebars guiding them to zigzag across China like a jostled compass'''''''''''''''' arrow.

    True North, for them, was to head west and interact with the people they met along the way.

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    And the motorcycle journey would, at least for the driver, last for four months starting in late spring and cover 18,000 kilometers between Beijing and western China.

    Along the way, they helped an injured motorist, wobbled precariously for hours atop the bike while grumbling up mucky roads that twisted up mountains, camped in the wilderness and detoured to visit China''''''''''''''''s Mars base on Earth in Gansu province.

    But despite traversing often-desolate stretches of the country, they were less exploring the land than engaging its inhabitants. Their mission was to better see places as people.

    "This isn''''''''''''''''t just us driving around and having fun," says Beijing-based Danish writer, speaker and consultant Mads Nielsen, who drove for their trip.

    "We need to create, and we need to document what we see out on the road. When you see the changing landscapes, the provinces, where the province''''''''''''''''s borders are, then the story, the history of different areas and regions of China start to make sense."

    The pair will recount their experiences at a storytelling event that includes poems inspired by their journey at Camera Stylo in Beijing on Sunday.

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pubdate:2022-01-19 | postnum () | copyToClipBoard | print

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