Published: July 24th 2012July 24th 2012
Me checking out the place
Hello Everyone! Thanks for the replies! The cabin thing was safe as could be I guess. I am trying to figure out how to add photos to this thing. I really do not like this blog website. Difficult to use and often doesn't work. Refreshes itself unexpectedly, blah blah blah.
Enough on that. Yesterday was a fun day. I travelled to the town of Turpan that is famous for having several old ruins around it. I saw some of the oldest and best preserved ancient ruins in the world. The ancient towns that flourished in the Silk Road days. Very very cool places (but also hot; damn hot!) There was a giant thermometer like the one they have in Las Vegas set up next to the highway in the desert. It sits in the sun and said it was 70 degrees celcius NOT in the shade. I don't know if that is correct or not. I found it hard to believe. It was 47 in the shade...
Anyway, the towns. First I went to Gaochang, settled in the 1st century BC. It is really just a ruins, but it was fun to wander around. It is so quiet there.
This is a single blade of a wind turbine. Xinjiang has one of the largest wind farms in Asia
Unbelievably quiet. I can only hear the sound of my mouth breathing as I pant my way around. I have a giant farmer hat that I bought in the jungle with Mi bun last month. It has come in handy. They are restoring the town now and I feel they are doing a decent job of it. They've started with the walls (at one time they were 12 meters thick! Again, another fact I find hard to believe). After Gaochang we went to some caves that had some really nice buddhist artwork in them. Half of the artwork was taken back to Berlin by some German researcher in 1911 and was lost in the second World War. This is was repeated on every display panel in the caves. "Oh, in case you forgot, these WERE a lot better before that German took away the paintings." Still nice. I got a picture next to a camel there. The guy wanted to charge me 10RMB just for taking the picture. I ran away. I travelled with a Chinese couple and he tried to charge the girl 10RMB for taking a picture in front of the mountains, too. Ridiculous bullshit you have to
Another ruined silk town. Very peaceful...
deal with sometimes at tourist traps. The Chinese will never give chase if you run. The civilians won't anyway... After the caves we went to a grape valley for lunch. This was really nice. It had just rained a sudden downpour for about 10 minutes before we arrived to the valley. Everything was cool and fresh. We ate lamb on rice with fresh grapes as an appetizer. Sitting on a patio beneath giant grape vines with a nice cool breeze. Felt like a king! What could be better? I met an American couple there as well. The woman was mom's twin. She dressed like ma, talked like ma, same hair style and color, AND she is a painter. I have her card and I will offer her tour services should she come to Yunnan with her husband. They both live in Beijing now. After lunch we went to another really interesting spot: the Karez Museum. Now, a karez was, and is still today, the lifeblood of Xiniang region. It is a system of underground channels dug for irrigation. The people drilled a series of holes (upwards of 100 meters deep!) and connected them together with tunnels. I suggest you guys
One of the remaining cave paintings in the Turpan area. Very old stuff.
do some light research on them because it IS really interesting. The longest karez is 100km long. At the height they had over 170,000 holes drilled through the deserts of Xinjiang. Crazy stuff! In the museum you get to go down into the karez and check it out. There was a private tour guide giving a tour to a Chinese family. She told them that you can drink the water. So they all filled up their water bottles. I did not. I've been down THAT road before. After the Karez Museum we made our last stop at the best ruins in the area: Jiaohe. This town was home to over 6,000 people 2,000 years ago. It is pretty well preserved, too. You can actually see the buildings with windows and doors and things. They had a temple there and a monastary. Good stuff! I went to the Xinjiang Museum today that had all the artifacts found around these places, too.
SOOOOO, today was a pretty good day, too. Most importantly, I got my Kazakh visa! It is beautiful, too! Sky blue with a map of the country in gold as the background. Very nice. Before going to the embassy,
I bought some yogurt from a street vendor (you can see where this is going). I had heard the yogurt is delicious. It is sour and they top it off with sugar, raisens, and nuts. Its so good! I have a German friend that said to me once, "Do you ever eat something in China and as you are eating it you think, 'this will give me diarrhea?' but you keep eating it anyway?" Well I had that thought as I was eating it. Sure enough about 2.5 hours later it hit me. Oh well. I think it passed now.
Well with that, I guess I will be on my way. This will be my last blog post for a while. I will be going to the north tomorrow to Kanas Lake. It is on the border of Russia, Mongolia, and China. It is located in the southern reaches of the Siberian Tiaga forest range. I've heard about this forest from Planet Earth, excited to check it out. There is also supposed to be a Loch Ness Monster type thing in the lake. More Chinese rubbish if you ask me. So the plan is to take the 12 hour
over night bus (groan) and arrive at the lake around 8am the following day. Then I will just hike for 3 days I suppose. I need to work on packing my bag. I prepared it tonight but it is really heavy! I'll figure it out. Tomorrow I have no pans at all. That is a first. Today I went to Xinjiang University to check it out. Ugliest university I've ever been to (and I went to Georgia State). It looked like it was abandoned. Overgrown grass, grafitti, COME ON! I paid 170RMB to see your lake park. Where is THAT money going? I also went to the International Bazaar in town. Not bad. Lots of junk but it is interesting junk. I left before buying something. Okay, I bought a bag of lavendar to keep in my pack to prevent stinking. The ram skulls were tempting... Really big horns on some of them. Also went to the museum (free!) and that was all! Okay, that is enough. I'll work on uploading pictures.
Ｐ．Ｓ． Ｉ ｗｉｌｌ ｆｉｘ ｔｈｉｓ ｓｔｕｐｉｄ ｔｅｘｔ ａｎｄ ｔｈｅ ｐｈｏｔｏ ｐｌａｃｅｍｅｎｔ ａｆｔｅｒ Ｉ ｇｅｔ ｈｏｍｅ． Ｔｈｉｓ ｃｏｍｐｕｔｅｒ ｈａｓ ａ ｖｉｒｕｓ． Ｎｏ ｆａｕｌｔ ｏｆ ｍｉｎｅ．