September 24th, 2006 – by: hyo
Boy riding his bike in the old city.
There are two official border crossings between Kyrgyzstan and China; the one near Osh and the Torugart pass. We take the Torugart pass, this crossing is infamous for it's long waiting times at the Chinese side and notorious for the bad conditions of the roads to and on the pass. The road to the pass is't as half as bad as the road on the pass it self when we have to get out the minibus on the first Kyrgyz checkpoint I'm still shaking of all the bumps we made. One of the passengers asked if this was really the main highway to China, unfortunately for her it was. After riding for another 30 minutes we reach the Kyrgyz border and say our goodbyes to Kyrgyzstan.
After an hour or so riding through nomands land, we are not allowed to take any pictures. We are allowed to take them from inside the car but the car must be moving.
Even moterbikes are allowed in the narrow streets of the old city.
Stange as this is nomands land so on whose authority we are not allowed to take any pictures. Anyway we finally can say hello to China. The first Chinese checkpoint, this is where our luggage is checked for the first time. We have to wait and wait and wait some more and after wating some more we had to wait a little more. But our waiting is being rewarded as we got through the check very quickly. Now it's time to get to our appointment with Chinese customs. As expected they were not ready for us and we had to wait once more. Again our patience was being rewarded as we were allowed to enter China.
The next morning in John's information cafe a lady from New Zealand asked if someone wanted to join her and her husband to go to Shipton's Arch. I remembered Danny Wallace's "Yes" book and decided that I wanted to join them.
Somehow I always ended up seeing this boy with his orange bag walking around in the old city. It could be that I was walking circles.
The journey to Shipton's Arch was even more bumpy than the Torugart pass, ironicly the husband Max was on a project to improve the highway to and from the Torugart pass on the Chinese side. Shipton's Arch is the world's largest natural arch and is named after Eric Shipton, Brittain's last emissionary in Kashgar
and accomplished mountaineer. The climb to the arch was fantastic, there were even two Chinese sleeping at the beginning, on the really steep points there were wooden ladders which made the climb easier. After we admired the arch it was time to get back but as we went back someone had removed the wooden ladders; it were the two Chinese men we saw sleeping!!! They asked Y10 per person to put the ladders back.
This boy is looking out of his window down the main street.
We paid the "ransom fee" of Y10 and returned safely to Kashgar.
Today it is sunday and Kashgar is most famous for its bustling sunday market and livestock market. I did the livestock market first and was just in time to see the animals getting brought in the market. On the way to the sunday market I decided to go first to the Abakh Hoja Tomb, this wasn't nearly as beautifull or magnificent I've seen in Uzbekistan or Kazachstan but it had it's distinct character as they used green tiles instead of blue ones. The sunday market was a bit of a let down but if you're into clothing and fabrics than this one is for you.
The old town of Kashgar is just beautifull,there are some 5000 families living in 2000 homes so it is a lively place with a rustic and golden glow on it.
He just caught my eye and I snapped him just before he went back indoors.
There are children playing on every corner in the intresic maze of narrow streets that make the old town. You see a lot of blue signs with a male figure on it, it is the sign of poverty and the families living in that home will receive state support between Y100 - Y200 per month. Housing and education untill high school is free for those families. If you want to buy a house in the old town you'll have to bring Y100,000 for a small house and Y200,000 for a big house with you and they do have a connection to the waterworks. Every home in the old town is connected to the waterworks since 1985, before that they used the water from the 7 dragon wells which are now polutated but not that much as many use it for washing there clothes.