“On the 26th I arrived in Shanghai and the welcome was fantastic… the whole staff of Ducati Asia and their wonderful boss Mirko were there waiting for me… they’re such great, big-hearted people, with an immense Ducati passion who, alone, promote the Ducati brand in Asia.
As soon as I was up I checked that Lidia was okay and immediately headed for the Police precinct. Because, dear readers, after riding Lidia 28,000 km and after more than 10 years in Ducati, I have to, well, do a course to get my Chinese driving licence! Ten minutes later I’d be with Lidia, out of there and on the open road for ten days…Or, rather … NO I WOULDN’T! We discovered that being able to roam the roads of China not only requires visas and documents explaining the reason behind every sneeze ever made on planet Earth since birth, it also requires that we have a guide who follows you in a car wherever you go and it also requires that he be paid!
And it was in China that Lidia and I rediscovered each other. The asphalt under our tyres had disappeared to be replaced by an ocean of fine sand. We launched into the dunes, the spectacle of this new wonderland simply breathtaking. Between one dune and another brief strips of tarmac rose to the surface, each just a few metres long: then earth, a few rocks and then dunes again. Lidia and I began to get the hang of things and in her ENDURO mode, she started to gobble up everything that emerged beneath her tyres. We were in Pakistan, it was night time, the road was nothing more than mud and stones, we hadn’t felt any tarmac underneath us for more than 2000 km, practically since the Chinese desert, and misjudging a bend would have meant falling down the ravine and both Lidia and I getting hurt. Luckily we caught sight of some small lights in the distance and at last we came to a village, Ashim, where we soon found a place to rest our weary bones, even if there was no sign of electricity or running water. Some Pakistanis asked me if I was afraid of them with everything you hear these days. They told me that foreigners always locked and bolted themselves into their rooms. To prove that I trusted them I left the door open and the next morning I found a piece of bread and a little milk on the floor... a real miracle!