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Hami Travel Blog

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Hami is a town that is not listed in the Lonely Planet. Being an idiot, I imagined it'd be a one-horse nowheresville with nothing but dust and donkeys pulling bundles of hay. Of course, it was a thriving little city that looked a lot like a lot of other thriving little Chinese cities.

It looked different in one respect, though, and it was an impressive moment when i noticed it. We were out of Gansu province now and into Xinjiang, and instead of English being the second language on the signs it was all Uighur. Written in Arabic. Most exotic. Apparently Uighur used to be writted in Latin script but the Chinese government changed that when they realised it gave Uighurs too big a head-start learning English.

There was one big sight in Hami, the Uighur Royal Family Mausoleum, but I couldn't go and see that straight away cos I had to get my visa extended. This involved waiting around like an arse outside the police station, waiting around like an arse inside the police station, waiting around like an arse in a different police station, and finally handing over about eleven quid. Another sticker in my passport. Woo!

Got a taxi out to this mausoleum, though, and I was blown away. I only knew about it cos it was mentioned in some coffee-table Silk Road book that D had been ripped off for in Xi'an, but it was fantastic. Green and lush (sprinklers on the lawns, see) with beautiful Islamic architecture on every side. Ageing, but magnificently so. And deserted. I loved it. It was one of the finest things I saw in China. D thought it was okay.

Got on the first bus I saw in the hope it'd take me back to town, which it did. Bought a train ticket to Turpan for a rather expensive hundred and eleven kuai. Ate a ropey noodle dinner (to be honest, almost all noodle dinners I had in China were ropey.) Killed the evening online before my train. Which, as it turned out, was so expensive becuase I was travelling first-class. La-de-dah!
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photo by: sarah55