Thursday, October 1, 2009

Final Post on our Xinjiang trip...

Just one last post about our trip at the beginning of the month to Urumqi, Kashgar, and other stops in the Xinjiang Province. What we may have slightly understood but didn't fully grasp was how much of the original Silk Road we were traveling.

The stops that we did - Kashgar, Urumqi, Turpan, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, and even Xi'an (we will count our airline stopover, and we had been there before) were all main stops along the route that Marco Polo had taken all those years ago. From the Marco Polo hamburger we ate in Dunhuang to the livestock market in Kashgar there were constant reminders of how important these cities had been in the past and you found that you were always trying to see the cities as they must have looked over 600 years ago.

And then a final point about Xinjiang is just that it is incredibly far west, sort of like going to Los Angeles from Chicago, but because China only has one time zone everything seems shifted. It's about a 2 hour difference in time, the sun comes up around 08:00 and sets much later at night then you would ever expect. The local Uyghurs all talk on their own local time, which is shifted 2 hours, but hotels, the airport, the government, all of those items run on Beijing time. This can get slightly confusing, and that is the reason I use for waking Tina up too early only to spend time in the hotel lobby waiting for Hasan to come and meet us. Mohemmed told us that they have to always think about it, as when they are talking to any of their friends it will be in local time and then if they are talking to a Chinese or planning trips they have to revert back to the official Beijing time.

That's all, just some interesting facts and tidbits. With this I think we should be done with our Xinjiang posting....

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