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Published: August 3rd 2015
The train from Hami stopped quite abruptly in the middle of the desert, we're guessing it was because of the wind because once we were at a standstill the train and electric wires were swaying all over the place. Apparently it's a common problem that they've tried to fix by building a wall along the north side of the line. To steal and bastardize the quote from Jaws - they're going to need a bigger wall.
It's unbelievably hot here - over 40c in the shade in the afternoon and not lower than the mid 20s at any time of the night. Like the other places we've stayed in western China it also has a weird daily rhythm and routine. Because the whole of China officially operates on one time zone out here it's dark until quite late in the morning, but then stays light until late at night. So the mornings start with a late breakfast around 9 ish followed by some sightseeing and a late lunch at around 2, the afternoon is too hot to do anything so it's time for a siesta. In the evening the restaurants start opening once the sun goes down at around 9pm
and get busy and lively about an hour later.
The sights around here are OK, nothing particularly special - more Buddhist caves and grottoes, more interesting geology, a couple of ruined ancient cities. For us the ambiance of being in a hostel (after endless bland, anonymous hotels), relaxing, meeting fellow travellers, and just doing nothing has been as enjoyable as going places and doing things.
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