Sunday, 2 August 2015
NW CHINA - URUMQI AND KASHGAR
FIRSTLY, HERE ARE SOME PICTURES ALONG THE WAY IN URUMQI, CAPITAL OF THE JINXIANG PROVINCE IN NORTH WESTERN CHINA. My efforts to get to the western extremes of China have resulted in somewhat of an epic journey in itself (without riding the bike). From Lanzhou, where I produced my previous pathetic blog update, I have headed constantly in that westerly direction. My objective being to get as close to the China/Pakistan border as possible, where I have been before (from the Pakistan side – without being able to enter China at that time). Hard seats on crowded trains were the order of the day for 24hrs at a time. Old Saartjie (my bike) and baggage which was booked into the cargo department never arrived on the same day as me. So, first stop was Urumqi (Wulumiqi Nan to most Chinese further East – which makes things rather confusing to someone like me who does not speak the language). Anyway, Urumqi is a large modern city, and the capital of this vast western Xingjian province. If this province was a country on its own, apparently it would be the 8th largest country in the world. However, the provincial population is only 4% of the total Chinese population. There is a notable security tension in the city, after the 2009 rebellion (military, police, and security checks all over the show – even armored cars outside shopping malls). I booked an onward ticket at the quiet ticket office in the city (the train station ticket offices are all absolutely chaotic, and you can expect to be in “pushy” que’s for hours). Then I stayed over in the Mai Tan Hostel, central and quite a pleasant place. This province is home to the largely Moslem Uighur people, who have their own style of food, mostly based on mutton (where in the rest of China the staple meat is pork). The following pictures are just some shots around Urumqi.