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Turpan Travel Blog

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Now I liked Turpan.

My liking for Turpan is due in no small part to John's Information Cafe, which may be one of the finest places I've ever had a drink. Wasn't cheap, and the food was cack, but you could sit under a trellis covered so densely with grapes that not a chink of light came through. The air was cool and the beer was cold.

So that took care of two days for me. The other day was spent on a tour of Turpan's environs, some of which were good and some of which were arse.

There were the Jaohe ruins, all that remain of a great big two thousand year old garrison town. Old mounds of buildings the same colour as the surrounding desert, hot and bleak. And there was the Emin Minaret, built in 1999 and considered one of Tracey Emin's most innovative works. Those two I liked a lot. (And the Emin Minaret is actually seveteenth-century and Afghan.)

The visit to a karez was a bit more middling. Well, I liked it, but only in a cheesily bemused this-is-so-far-beyond-shit sorta way. A karez is the way that yer Central Asian farmer irrigates his crops: digging a tunnel to carry snow-melt from the mountains, with access shafts every twenty metres. The whole thing is powered by gravity and having it underground means much, much less water loss by evaporation. It's a very clever system, and some Chinese entrepreneurs decided to make a theme park out of it. The walk through the karez itself took maybe ten minutes; the walk through the gift shops, restaurants and other money-extractors outside took rather longer.

The Astana graves were mildly interesting, the Flaming Mountains were nice, and I skipped the Bezelik Caves and the Grave Valley (sixty kuai to get in! for what?) and the Gaoche ruins.

I still liked Turpan, though. A lot.
Deats says:
wheres the fecking photos?
Posted on: Nov 28, 2008
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photo by: Biedjee