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Kasghar China

Kashgar Travel Blog

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Chairman Mao Kashgar China

Well Kashgar is certainly very much accessible and 1000's travel here each year, each month in fact.  The one thing about travel is that you stumble across so many other people, all travelling.  Some for weeks, some for months, others for years.  Some of the people we have met have and are undertaking some amazing journeys that make our trip look like a trip across town to pick up some milk.  However the one thing that all of us have in common when we swap yarns, it's that there are some amazing people and beautiful sights to be seen, and some distance in between. 

 

Kashgar displayed hints of its exotic nature, with remnants of the old walls used to house the old original part of the city.

Kasghar Markets China
  But now the place has been well and truly Chinesed.  The main street in town is being torn up to make way for a multi story underground shopping centre, just like they have in your other Chinese cities.  Because of this, vehicles and all other associated forms of transport now use the footpaths to drive on, in complete harmony with the humble pedestrian.  It couldn't work back home.  But it works here....There is nothing that couldn't work here.  China is not another country, it is another world.  It is like being on a foreign planet.  It might as well be on Mars, because the Chinese are certainly from Venus.  Maybe I should have read that book "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" after all. Oh well....

 

We were duly accommodated in the former Russian Embassy of Kashgar, now home to a 600-or-so room complex comprising a number of buildings.

Kasghar Markets China
  The foyer was the usual marble floor, with designer stuff littering the walls, all the world’s clocks behind the counter (but can you trust what they say?).  We stayed on the 5th floor in a two-bedroom dormitory, yes a two-bedroom dormitory.  Paint left the ceiling quicker than a 100m sprinter from the blocks.  But at $8 AUD for the room, no complaints were officially registered.  Oh and the toilets and showers can be found on floors 2 to 4.  Hot water now seems to be a 24 hour a day phenomenon that they have caught onto.  Thank god.

 

It was Sunday so to the Bazaar we would go.  We couldn't find an ATM that would work so we had to go into the Bank and make withdrawal that way.  One of a 1000 banks was near Remin Square and what would have to be the largest statue of the former Chairman Mao, currently in existence.

Kasghar Markets China
  Very impressive. 

A 10 minute taxi ride saw us dropped off at the Livestock Bazaar.  Apparently the town’s population soars by 50 thousand for the day as people come from all over Central Asia for the trading frenzy.  There are horses, cars, trucks, tuk tuks, donkeys, pedestrians as far as the eye can see all jockeying for a position in the bazaar. They shout “boish boish !”, which means “coming through so get out of my way”.  At the Livestock bazaar, you get your hair cut, your horse a new set of shoes put on by the shoesmith, test ride horses, test ride donkeys and carts, use a middle man to negotiate the sale and acquisition of sheep and cattle or a camel or two.

Kasghar Markets China
  The sheep here have one distinct difference to those from home.  They have the largest over-hanging piece of fat on their arses, that looks like someone has thrown a blanket over there bums.  Then when you see them skinned you just see this big fat arse, and it is huge, but popular.  Most of the people here seem to be Muslims.  In fact some 50 million Muslims called Urgyhurs, Tajilks, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks populate the central Asian region of Xinjiang (which is a Chinese province)  taken over by the Han Chinese.  The Han Chinese appear to be moving people to the area to boost the number of Han Chinese, because 50 million is seen as a minority group here.  Which really makes me think about this free
Tibet campaign you see in shopping centres, on t-shirts and stickers back home.  Yes, to over simplify it, the Tibetans encountered some problems when taken over by the Chinese, of which depending on who you speak to or which author you read you  get varying accounts of who destroyed what and what good that did the region.
Kasghar Markets China
  My point is that there is a minority group comprising of 50 million and no one gives two hoots what's is happening there let alone, where it is. As I come down from my time on the soap box and return to a normal pattern of breathing, I think by weight of numbers involved that those riddlers back home that support this free
Tibet cause should get out of home a little more often and get a life, and jump onto another bandwagon, namely free Xinjiang. But don't expect me to be handing out brochures in the malls just yet, as I am paid to Police, not to care. 

 

At the livestock bazaar they had the usual food stalls to keep the masses of people fed and happy.  Of course you would expect the meat to be very fresh.

Kasghar Markets China
 

 

We then paid less than $1 dollar AUD for some 10 year old kid to take us on the back of his donkey cart some 40mins to the Sunday Bazaar.  He really earned his money, poor donkey. 

Upon arrival at the Bazaar we looked down the street and as far as the naked eye could see it was all markets stalls, selling silk, knives, jewellery, all sorts of necessary household items, carpets, Asian veges colourful and huge, fruit, all sorts of dried foods, men’s and women’s clothing like bras and pants and suits for guys. They sold animal skins, hats, scarves, TV’s, tape decks, DVD players, CD players, bikes, cobblers, steel guys, crockery, farming tools, saddles and stuff for your ride, and just every possible part that you would ever require in order to fix something or to build something.

Kasghar Markets China
  Every time you went past a side street the market extended in all directions as far as the eye could see.  We didn't or couldn't walk through it all; it was truly enormous, a hive of activity.  The sights, smells and sounds of a bazaar.  There was even a section of gold stores to buy that something special. 

We left the markets exhausted.

 

The sun didn't go down until 10.30 pm Beijing time.

Kasghar Markets China
  However they have an unofficial time for the region which is some two hours behind BJ time.    Your body clock gets thrown out the window when you sit down to dinner at sunset. 

 

We ate at a local restaurant that did an absolute roaring trade.  It was run by locals - not Chinese - and specialised in local dishes.  Menu was written in both Islamic and Chinese of which I am atrocious at reading both.  So it was point and shoot time, and say what you think you would like to have and see if the food that you think that you have ordered arrives as you expect it to look like.  Alternatively the waiter gives you a blank look and you start the process all over again.  The restaurant was very well patronised.  As soon as a table was cleared more people sat down to eat.  This went on all day.  I ordered a Gangpen?   a local dish, comprising a bowl of rice, sliced beef and thin stripes of local veges like carrot, some big red thing that we eat back home whose name escapes me, and what looked like zucchini.

Kasghar Markets China
  There was the host of oil, local spices and chilli peppers that also made this a dish to die for.  It was very oily like a lot of food in China as it is cooked in a pool of oil, but very tasty.  In fact it would be a dish that I would eat regularly back home.  It had a western flavour to it...... and cost 50 cents AUD.

 

Next in Kashgar we found a cafe run by two yanks, called the Caravan Cafe.  We parked ourselves in there to have some normal bread because they had a Swiss baker, unlike the Chinese bread which tastes like eating sugar.   The fresh aroma of coffee was also a relief. I was all green tea’d out.

We got around on some deadly Chinese treadlies, namely 1 x men’s and 1 x lady’s push bikes.

Kasghar Markets China
  I rode the lady’s bike just to really feel a part of China.  We rode around the old town, with clay or similar still used to make their homes.  A small section of the old Kashgar wall still exists in the middle of town.  Although most have been demolished to make way for development.  The part we did see was cut in half by a street, and it was very very thick and would have taken ages to construct.  We travelled to the Id Kah Mosque, to get culturally in touch with the Muslims. Unfortunately part of it was closed for destruction, but the Chinese like to call it re-construction.   And then onto Abkakh Hoja Tomb, which allegedly houses the bodies of some 70 odd descendents of a Muslim missionary and a famous concubine called "Fragrant concubine", because she had a nice smell to her.  Lovely.

 

After the 8 hour bike ride around the joint we went to collect our laundry and to our surprise we had everything, but our jocks and socks, which were admittedly in a sad state of disrepair were returned to us unwashed.

Tea House Kashgar China
  We were not impressed, but we were reimbursed after having been charged to have the "sad clothes" washed.  They would have to wait until Urumqi the next day.  One more day wasn't going to kill them now.....

 

portia says:
amazing and exotic experience!
Posted on: Sep 15, 2007
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Chairman Mao Kashgar China
Chairman Mao Kashgar China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Kasghar Markets China
Tea House Kashgar China
Tea House Kashgar China
Kashgar
photo by: Biedjee