Posted by Evan on Saturday, 22 October 2005 at 2:23 pm
The train network in China is an amazing engineering and managerial feat. The fact that it covers almost all of the country makes travel in China efficient in a way that I’ve only seen in Europe before. With that said, however, finding a Chinese person who can actually read a timetable is pretty tough. After being told that my train to Urumqi would take 28 hours I was alarmed to find a Chinese person pulling me out of bed by my left arm at 2 am while yelling about me needing to get off. Thanks China International Travel Service (CITS ) for telling me I arrive at 9 am and then booking me on a train that arrives at 2:20 am!
Staggering out of the station I find the bus into town only to be told that I doesn’t depart until 3:30 am. Considering that I had nowhere else to be I settled down in a seat and went back to sleep. Bus departure times in China, however, are a complete farce. Instead of departing at a fixed time most wait until they are full. In this case that took till 6:30 am!
After arriving in town I soon met up with J and embarked on a trip into the desert. Dunhuang used to be an important oasis city along the Silk Road, and now serves as something of a tourist theme park. The picturesque lake surrounded by sand dunes is now ringed in with tourist operators who offer everything from camel riding to para-glider flights. After doing both, J and I climbed to the top of one of the largest dunes (over 1500 meters above sea level) and raced down.
The following day we took a bus out to see Mogau caves–supposedly one of the most amazing series of Buddhist cave grottos in the world. Unfortunately what would have been an interesting day spent exploring the intricate paintings in each cave was spoiled by an insistence that everyone must be part of an official tour group. Walking around in a pack of people being lectured to by someone who is clearly just reciting a prepared speech is hardly my cup of tea.
From Dunhuang we got a train north west to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. Like Lhasa, in Tibet, Urumqi is now predominantly occupied by Han Chinese rather than the indigenous peoples. The city itself is a sprawling decentralised mess and hardly worth spending the night… so we didn’t. In the afternoon, after organising Jon’s flight to Hong Kong, we got a bus to Turpan–supposedly the hottest city in China.
Day one in Turpan was spent sitting about smoking hash and drinking beers late into the night. Day two, however, involved a small package tour of the surrounding sights. After a delightful visit to a historical Uygur town we visited an abandoned desert city and some more Buddhist grottos before heading back to the train for a trip out to Kashgar. On the way we met an Aussie girl, Jane, who spent the next few days with us.
Kashgar itself is a fascinating city and somewhere that I would like to have been able to spend more time. After a day spent exploring the city we hired a mini-bus to drive us out to the amazing Karakul lake–on the border with Tajikistan. It’s amazing how quickly the weather can change in this part of the world as we drove from the relative warmth of Kashgar to the ice and snow of the Karakul highway. By the time we arrived at the lake it was beginning to snow.
Being the largest province in China–comprising 16% of the landmass–Xinjiang province takes a long time to cover overland. After returning to Urumqi on a 29 hour sleeper bus J and I discovered that no ATMs in this province take international cards and that neither of us had any money. After a tense wait on Sunday morning for the bank to open we managed to get some money and sort out my 53 hour return ticket to Chengdu. Unfortunately all tickets were sold out for the next three days, so I was stuck in Urumqi. J’s flight left the following morning so we decided to have a couple of quiet drinks with two other Aussies whom we’d met earlier that day…
Check out the photo gallery.
Comment from Betsie
Posted on Sunday, 6 October 2013 at 4:39 am
Thank you for the post - have you traveled this route, or near it? And have you ever read the Lost Heart of Asia, by Colin Thubron? He wriets about this area, and its rich history. If you haven’t, I recommend it highly.
Comment from my website
Posted on Monday, 4 November 2013 at 4:34 pm
That’s the kind of image that i really thing
is super image like. If more images very real like this were out there we’d be
super full of graet images in the world.
Comment from candy crush sur windows Phone
Posted on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 at 10:58 am
I just like the valuable info you provide for your articles.
I’ll bookmark your weblog and test once more right here frequently.
I am relatively certain I will be informed many new stuff
right right here! Best of luck for the following!
Feel free to surf to my webpage :: candy crush sur windows Phone
Comment from GTA 5 Sur Android
Posted on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 at 10:48 pm
Very good blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
I’d really love to be a part of online community
where I can get advice from other experienced people that share
the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Here is my web-site; GTA 5 Sur Android
Comment from yebhi coupons
Posted on Friday, 22 November 2013 at 10:40 am
Hello There. I found your blog using msn. That is a really smartly written article.
I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of
your helpful information. Thank you for the post.
I’ll certainly comeback.
Comment from cheap auto insurance
Posted on Friday, 22 November 2013 at 2:36 pm
Absolutely first rate and copper-bottomed, gentlemen!
Comment from msc it distance learning
Posted on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 6:49 am
Thinking like that shows an expert’s touch
Comment from florida health insurance
Posted on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 2:44 am
There is a critical shortage of informative articles like this.
Comment from www.youtube.com
Posted on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 11:55 pm
Bamboo window blinds can be pleated, venetian or in
roller bathroom blinds format. They are fairly easy to
install, or you’re feeling unsure about the installation of shutters could be so easy, and that is bathroom blinds all you need.
However, one of the most flexible ways of controlling light within a room.
If you want more privacy, this is what we use.
Comment from ugg メンズ
Posted on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 8:00 am
ことができます洗濯あなたのブーツを使用して、特別な洗剤が価格ために作られたugg のブーツ。それは持続行わ20 年下ケアの適切なと同様メンテナンス。裏与えることができる上方ブラックベリーのカーブに、配置ヒント。これらのメソッドと、ポインターの練習するつもりだ可能性が高くなりますを取得する、本格的なもの。
Comment from car insurance in florida
Posted on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 1:11 am
Hot damn, looking pretty useful buddy.
Comment from xnxx
Posted on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 2:13 pm
Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how
could i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal.
I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea
Comment from mt car insurance
Posted on Sunday, 5 January 2014 at 6:14 pm
Wonderful explanation of facts available here.
Comment from Cheap Short Term Health Insurance
Posted on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 at 3:10 am
Your posting lays bare the truth
Comment from Candy Crush for Windows Phone
Posted on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 at 6:19 am
Wow, that’s what I was exploring for, what a information!
present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this site.
My weblog Candy Crush for Windows Phone
Comment from The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Posted on Monday, 10 February 2014 at 12:55 am
Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a
few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a
linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.
my web-site … The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9
Comment from thẩm mỹ viện uy tín
Posted on Thursday, 3 April 2014 at 11:45 pm
Good way of telling, and pleasant paragraph to get
information regarding my presentation focus, which
i am going to deliver in academy.
Comment from Buy Christian Louboutin Shoes Online
Posted on Sunday, 8 March 2015 at 1:35 am
At this time it sounds like Movable Type is the preferred blogging platform out there right now.
(from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?
Comment from Rick Jubert
Posted on Tuesday, 5 May 2015 at 4:57 pm
Check out such sites prior to buying a payday lending business Rick Jubert these
type of loan’s interest rates is going to be greater than the ones from secured loans, but these are still an substitute for be mentioned.