The Rules 规则

Here are the rules we have to follow during The Great China Quest:

  1. The Starting Point Must Be Decided by a Stranger.
  2. We Must Return Within 30 Days.
  3. We Can’t Travel by Plane (After the Start).
  4. We Must Tackle 15 Challenges.

1. The Starting Point Must Be Decided by a Stranger

The finish line is Peizheng College (where we work) in China’s southern Guangdong Province (see map). But we needed an exciting way to determine a starting point for The Quest. Here’s what happened:

Late one night we were sitting at a noodle stand discussing who to ask. A friendly worker served us our food and we made a snap decision to ask him to recommend one city in China that we should visit. We agreed that wherever he said would be the starting point of our trip. Adrian hoped it would be near the sea. Albert hoped it wouldn’t be too far away.

“How about my My hometown: Urumqi” the man replied without hesitation and suddenly our first destination was settled.

Just in case you’re wondering, Urumqi is very far away, more than 2000 miles from our college, in China’s remote north-western province of Xinjiang (again, see map). The region shares its border with 9 countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia and Russia. And it also happens to be the farthest point on Earth from any ocean.

As for the route we’ll take between Urumqi and our college, well we’ll be making that up as we go along. We’re prepared to follow the advice of strangers and go wherever adventure takes us.

2. We Must Return Within 30 Days

On July 29th, 2010 we will fly to Urumqi to begin our adventure. We’ll then have just 30 days to travel back across China and return to our college before our deadline is up: the start of our new term on September 1st.

3. We Can’t Travel by Plane (After the Start)

We will fly to Urumqi for the start of the journey but once the trip begins, we’ll only be allowed to travel overland (or water) all the way to the finish line.

As well as conventional modes of transport such as buses and trains, we’ll travel by any means necessary to get where we want to go. Whether we’re forced to hitch a lift, take a river barge or simply trek, we’ll go looking for adventure and travel wherever it takes us.

4. We Must Tackle 15 Challenges

As we make our way back across China, we’ll be attempting to complete 15 challenges that our students have set for us. In our classes and English corners, we asked our students to come up with tasks and missions that they’d like to see us, their two foreign teachers, try to achieve. We gave them the following criteria and let their imaginations do the rest:

  1. Entertaining: We want the most interesting experiences for us and the reader.
  2. Diverse: We want to explore as many different aspects of Chinese life as possible.
  3. Unique: We want to attempt things that most foreigners do not do in China.
  4. Legal / Ethical: We will not intentionally break the law or do anything we consider unethical to accomplish any challenge.

The suggestions we have received so far are…”diverse,” to say the least.

Some students appear to have missed the point completely and gave us challenges such as:

  • Make a funny face.
  • When you arrive back at Peizheng College, walk back to Urumqi.

Some seemed to think the challenges needed to involve some form of punishment:

  • Wear your underwear outside your trousers for a whole day.
  • Expose your naked body and let mosquitoes bite you for 2 nights.

But already we’ve also received some excellent ideas:

Once we’ve collected all the suggestions, we’ll sort through them and choose the final 15.