Another very large and hot city in the middle of China - Yichang (4 million popn) in Hubei Province. The whole of the lower Yangzi region seems to be in an extreme heat wave, but this is apparently normal for this time of year - blimey who organised our itinerary!!?
And the summer holidays meant the trains are all booked up to Xi'an, so we caught one of those evil sleeper buses that we hated so much on our first journey in China. But despite the fact that the journey took us 21 hours instead of the supposed 15, this journey was amazingly pleasant. Yes it was 21 hours to go just over 700kms from Yichang to Xi'an! The bus took the most round about route to pick up passengers on the way, but this was a very good brand new bus, the air-con was superb, and we actually managed to sleep on quite comfortable beds. Its a bizarre way to travel though. Scenery was so so, until the last part, where entering Shaanxi Province we cut through mountain ranges that slowed us down even more, as the bus could barely fit! Most strangely, and our reason for being late, was that the driver stopped in the middle of a highway before the mountains, and along with hundreds of lorries also blocking the highway, proceeded to sleep for five hours!! We proceeded to do the same. We could only imagine that they did not want to drive the mountains in the dark. It was also great to get some local life scenery in the mountains.
The journey today took us past 15,000 kms for Asia and up to 28,000 total.