Its been an entire month. As we say goodbye to April, we also prepare to say goodbye to China.
We drove into the desert and were met with a dust storm on the way. Even though we were in the middle of nowhere, I could see oil rigs in the distance and there were solar panelled communication lines throughout.The communication and connectivity in this country is mind blowing. One may not find a person for miles together but you can be sure to pass a couple of cell towers!
The wind and sand have danced together for years to create some of the most beautiful natural sand sculptures I have ever seen. Quite the sight for sore eyes considering we hadn’t seen anything but flat sandy land for miles.The dust storm showed no signs of easing up and we were driving wth almost zero visibility. In fact at one point, I could see absolutely nothing in front and it was quite frightening considering it was a two lane highway with oncoming traffic.
We started off our day with a temperature of 5° at an altitude of about 3,500meteres and ended it with a temperature of 35° at an altitude of less than 1000meteres (lower than Bangalore!)
We stopped for dinner at a dusty town. The dust gave the town a vintage feel and it seemed as though I was seeing everything through a sepia filter.All that dust made me wonder how people must live in a place like that and how difficult their lives must be because of it. It had been only a day but I was yearning to see something that wasn’t bathed in a dusty haze.
At the hotel, we were told that the dust storm was going to last another day. We needed to take a call about whether or not to push on the next day. A unanimous decision was taken to continue driving. Kashgar was waiting for us and we simply couldn’t disappoint.
Once we did reach Kashgar, the first order of business was to get our cars checked out at the service center. We were have brake problems and couldn’t afford to take any chances. Once we got that out of the way, we checked into our hotel and ventured out into the night market to fill our tummies. Street food stalls were everywhere, each offering an appetazing delicacy, so different from the Chinese cuisine we had gotten used to hating. From marinated meats to spinach stuffed momos and handmade ice cream, the variety was incredible. Kashgar as a city, embodies a culture truly unique to itself. If it weren’t for the signs written in mandarin above the urdu, one would never believe themselves to be in China. For all practical purposes whether its the food, language, culture, architecture, history or even the way the people look; the Xinjiang province is merely an occupied state!