Saturday, 22 August 2015


PICTURES OF THE NW CHINESE DESERT (TAKLAMAKAN DESERT) (THIS POST IS INCOMPLETE, WILL BE FINISHED LATER, PLEASE BEAR WITH ME) As I left the oasis city of Kashgar for the Taklamakan desert, old Mao was there at his post to give me a "farewell" sendoff (or was that "good riddance"?).
At first there was the occasional oasis town, as well as the big town of Atushi. Then just some dusty really crappy little clay-brick villages, mostly catering to truck repairs and basic food and drinks.
The Taklamakan is apparently the 2nd largest sandy desert on earth. Beforehand I had worried about the wind direction and so forth. Well, no need to worry, as the wind changes direction at will. Also, it may be cloudy (probably dust clouds) cutting out the sun, and the the next thing you know you are being barbequed alive!
I hope you like pictures of desert mountains and other desert scenery, as there is not much variety.
Ghost towns are plentiful in certain parts of the Taklamakan. For some reason they have been closed down and left to decay. Some of the buildings still seem habitable. In the top picture is a view of many graves (in the background). So at least at one time there were people living here. Often these ghost towns were a disappointment to me, as I thought there may be water or a Coke, or something.
About 500 km after Kashgar I got to Aksu, a much bigger town than I had expected. The rain came down, and I got stuck in the city for the night. I found my way down to the railway station, where there are often cheap rooms, but because if was a foreigner in an out-of-the-way town they refused me. It was pouring with rain, and I walked into a little bar/restaurant to shelter and think about what to do. (This was already the 4th place I had gone into, the other 3 had chased me out, because of my beard, I guess). As these people were busy chasing me out, a local Chinese guy and his friend stopped them and asked me in broken English where I was from. Then they invited me to sit at their table, they shared their food with me and bought me a drink. When Sheia discovered that I did not have a place to stay, he invited me to sleep on his couch, just around the corner (one of my lucky days).
Daily distances cycled:- Atushi district 101 km; Service village 83 km; Rock Desert 107 km; Tollgate camp 86 km; Uyghur town 67 km; Aksu 78 km; Road camp 130 km; Kuqa district 122 km; Dust junction 97 km; Hill camp 102 km; Bayingol 93 km; Bosten Lake area 77 km; Desert camp 115 km; Service area 68 km; Turpan turn 37 km; and Turpan 103 km. Total so far is 131 138 km.