china DSC

And the walking man walks

One month in China has already gone by, and a lot of ground has been covered. I made it out of tibet on the shiny new train, the Lahsa Express, into quinhai province. I started out on the southern section of the silk road, i started in a place called geermud and headed west. after an overnight bus ride i made it into a small town near the border of xinjian province (which is where i was heading), from that town i had to take a bus to a smaller town even closer to the border. it was crazy the whole town was white, i thought it may have been dust or sand or something…there were factories, it turns out it may or may not have been asbestos, and i was inhaling lots of it. anyway, i’m alright (for now), i had to sleep for a night waiting for the jeep to fill up, there were only three of us the day before. the next morning there were ten of us (all locals except for me). so we squeezed into the jeep and into xinjian we went. i made it to the first city which is an oasis on the taklamakan desert, which takes up the majority of this province (and northwestern china). i went to buy a bus ticket and found out there wasn’t a bus for two more days, so i waited around in a tiny city, although it was nice it got boring after the first few times around the 4 blocks. so two days later i was able to go on and i made it through the desert in about two more days, and i got my visa renewed (one more month). then i got into kashgar which is the western most city (kinda) in this area, it’s on the kyrgyztan border. it’s got lots of history and all that stuff, being on the silk road and all, lots of old buildings and international traders from pakistan and tadjakstan and all over selling knives and carpets and hats….and yes, carpets made of cat hides. multiple cats (like 9) of the exact same color cut into squares of about 1ft.X2ft. and sewed together, nice and soft. so i was there for a day and then i went to a place called lake karakul which is on the way to the pakistan afganistan border and i decided to take a camel ride to the base camp of mt. muztag ata (not really world famous, i know). the camel ride actually went well, everyone who said they were uncomfortable hasn’t riden on enough pick-up truck beds, or hard bench trains, maybe. so anyway me and this chinese tourist guy i was with convinced the guide that we didn’t want to pay the entrance fee (three times more than the everest entrance fee)to the mountain, so we took the camels around a back way and up to about 5,000 meters. when we got to the base camp there were people who work for the company who aparently owns the mt. (i have no idea how that works), anyway they kept asking how we got in and if we paid, and we just kept pretnding that we had no idea what they were talking about and saying thank you, and..being intentionally confusing to people who don’t speak..much english, it was fun. then they figured out that we didn’t pay and kicked us out, my first time getting kicked out of a..central asian mountain base camp, let’s hope it’s the last. so we left and got back on the camels and headed down, anothr 3 hours or somehting and then back to the road where we hitchicked to the kyrgyztan yurt where we spent the night before, and our taxi was waiting to take us back to kashgar. so late night back to kashgar, an interesting massage (paid for by the chinese dude) and to bed so i could see the sunday market the next morning. the market was good and i saw lots of stuff i had seen earlier in the week, just more of it and more people. yesterday afternoon i was able to get on another (yes, yet another) overnight bus, through the desert again and 24 hours later here I am in Urumqui (look at a map), the capital of xinjian province. now i’m gonna get some KFC cause it’s the first US fast food restraunt i’ve seen since….thailand? then i’m off to bed. I’m not sure where i’m going from here, I think it’s time to head east.