Return to Urumqi China

Urumqi Travel Blog

 › entry 19 of 30 › view all entries
Mosque in Kasghar China

We caught a sleeper train from Kashgar back to Urumqi, taking some 24 hours.  Also on the train was a group of people, late teens, who were travelling around the silk road.  The group comprised of the children of parents who lived in China to work, and were from a variety of nationalities.  We met a few other people on the train, as it is a popular way to leave, so you're gonna meet people who you haven't necessarily seen before but who are travelling around the same places as you.  Again it's good to hear where they have come from and are heading to.  So far the nationalities travelling in this part of China have been Israeli, Canadian, Swiss, Belgian, Norway, Germany, Malaysia, Australia, America, and the Scots.

Park in Urumqi China
  A healthy blend of people of all ages from 18 to 65, literally. 


Again as some of the scenery going back to Urumqi passed me by, I had to check that we were in fact on earth still and not Mars.


At the hotel we checked into a 6 bed dorm and discovered that the only shower we could get access to was on the floor known as "-1".  It was here that we took a single 5 yuan note equivalent to 1 AUD.  We got out of the lift to be met by some seedy looking lights, red and blue, spinning from walls and the ceiling, and there it was on the left, the barbers pole.  The Chinese signal for haircuts and a brothel.  So we spoke to the senior hairdresser aka brothel manageress, paid our money and were shown to a room down the hall way.  I was escorted in past a series of smaller single bed rooms and into a very dark, black tiled room which had 3 showers within.  The manageress then departed and thankfully hot water eventually arrived.  But for a minute there I wasn't sure what was going to happen, or who was going to pop out of the other rooms. 


The same scene is the then repeated nightly, as we walk from our building across to the lifts and onto "-1", with all our shower gear in hand past all the other conference rooms and more upmarket rooms where people have actually bothered to pay for the shower in their rooms.  Reception just love us swanning around half naked....


In Urumqi we located and attended the Kazakhstan Consulate, to have a Kazak visa issued.  This would take a number of days and so we have been stuck in Urumqi since last Wednesday, but hopefully fly out of here on Wednesday (tomorrow) the 26th of May 2004 for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan


Good news is that we received our visas back yesterday and bought our onward plane tickets so all is good for tomorrow now.  Every day is a new surprise; again we were not disappointed with the lack of efficiency at the Kazak Consulate.  It tires me to even think about describing what lengths we waited and the number of different doors or windows we had to line up in similar to a rugby scrum in the super 12's final I imagine.  


Oh and another thing.  On our return to the consulate I thought I would "speed" the process up with the taxi driver and show her the consulate receipt and she would take us there easy.  No.  She dropped us off in the next drive way and made several phone calls but couldn't help us.  We flag down another taxi, show him the paper work and no sooner had I closed the door, and we were in 3rd gear tearing down the street ducking, dodging, weaving erratically, braking, skidding, horn blowing.  This paper work may have killed us or he was last for lunch, whatever he was cutting off cars and giving us the formula 1 tour to the consulate.  My personal favourite was the overtaking on blind corners, driving the taxi as if he had stolen it, I loved it.  It was just like being back at work:  rules?? what road rules....


I gave him the thumbs up, paid and exited the taxi, brakes still smoking as he casually departed the area.  The thumbs up will perhaps ensure that the next "low eye" or "whitie" that gets in the taxi driven by licence holder 0652059 will get the ride of his/her life.  He was Hollywood behind the wheel of a taxi.


The next time we see our name in lights is hopefully at the airport depature lounge.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Mosque in Kasghar China
Mosque in Kasghar China
Park in Urumqi China
Park in Urumqi China
photo by: AndySD