Sunday, October 15, 2006


Here we are, China. Actually I should say Xinjian, as it is very different from the rest of China: people are Uygur in majority (75%), the language is Uygur (Turkic like Kygryz and Uzbek, but written in an arabic script), the food is Uygyr, etc.. We feel more in Central Asia than in China, except for our license plates.. yes we now have a Chinese license plate and a Chinese driver's license!

Kashgar is now a modern city but in the old city one can still see craftsmen working in the street, and in the rug factory the women still work like centuries ago. Although they also make wool rugs the local specialty is really silk rugs, and the precision and patience needed to make one is mind-boggling. It would be nice to buy one as a souvenir but even the small ones run for more than 1000$.

We were looking forward to seeing the world-famous Sunday market, and we
weren't disappointed: it truly is amazing in its diversity and size: it is
said to have 10'000 shops. The livestock market on the other hand was half-empty and a bit boring. The one camel there was surrounded by tourists taking pictures more than by potential buyers.

And, at last, we get some good food! Soup and potatoes is OK to feed you and keep you alive, but after 3 months it's a real pleasure to enjoy eating someting that was nicely cooked.

Tomorrow we hit the road, and not just any road: the Karakoram Highway (KKH), another mythical road that will lead us south to Pakistan through the mountains, just a couple freezing days away.

Oh, and I finally got rid of that beard, courtesy of a barber working in the middle of the livestock market, between donkeys and sheep.


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