“Holdin’ it in” and practicing Putonghua in Northern Xinjiang during October 2012
All pictures here.
Holdin’ what in?
Read on and you will be enlightened. But until then, here’s the story.
Strange departure from the original plan
The original plan called for a trip to Vietnam in October 2012. The group was supposed to consist of 6 of us. That number first went down to 5, then 4, then 3, then eventually … 2. We could have still gone to Vietnam but then came one of our brainwaves. Why not do something MORE adventurous?
Enter Xinjiang in Northwest China. Picture Muslim music playing in the background. Then picture eating some nans (bread). Picture kebab and lamb. Picture thousands of square kilometers of desert and contrasting grasslands and majestic mountains. That’s Xinjiang. It occupies 1/6th of the total land in China. It’s home to several distinct tribes. It’s a mysterious land – a land far, far away geographically, ecologically and, of course, spiritually to Central in Hong Kong!
So, Martijn and I decided to be brave and explore Xinjiang. “Brave” because, of the two of us, only I could speak the best Mandarin. And my Mandarin was unfortunately largely limited to “Wo bu ji dou Potunghua” (I don’t know Mandarin). But then again, both of us could draw! Isn’t sign language the oldest form of communication known to mankind?
Then came the question WHERE in Xinjiang were we going to go to.
Enter Sandy Yiu, our expert Xinjiang consultant who has traveled to 40 different countries and rates Xinjiang as the best place she has ever been to. She spent 17 days there and yet didn’t find it sufficient. We had 7 days!
Sandy gave us a Xinjiang 101 lesson. She told us that the western part of Xinjiang is home to Kashgar (or Ka-Shi as the locals call it) and Karakul lake. The 7000m high mountain Muztagh Ata is also accessible from Kashgar after 1-2 days of road travel through the Gobi desert. The northern part of Xinjiang is home to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world – the Kanas lake. This area, which is quite close to Russia, is also home to some very dense and beautiful forests. Getting lost in one of those forests might result in an inadvertent trip to Russia! In late September, which is autumn, the colors of the tree leaves there change to a beautiful golden orange color. The different shades of red, orange and green give this place a truly majestic touch.
After her presentation, our minds were made up. Northern Xinjiang it was!
Beauty of Northern Xinjiang
Tags: Asia, Baisha Hu, Black Lake, Burqin, China, Hei Hu, Hemu Village, HIKIN' THE WORLD, Jiadengyu, Kanas, Kazakhstan, Travel, Travel, Urumqi, Xinjiang, Xinjiang