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7 cent Ice cream

Turpan Travel Blog

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Train station at Daheyan, nearest stop to Turpan.
After 2 days on the train, I'm finally in Turpan.  I always have a nervous and excited feeling when I leave the train station in a new city.  That feeling almost made me forget that I needed to buy an onward ticket from Turpan to Kashgar before catching a taxi from the train station to the city 40 minutes away.  By the time I had my ticket, all of the people who arrived on the same train as me had gone, as had the bus from the station to the city.  I found a taxi driver who offered to take me to town for 20RMB in a shared taxi or 80RMB for just myself.  I tried to bargain down the 80RMB, but he wouldn't budge.  "Fine," I said.  I'll wait for more people and share a taxi.
Jiaohe Ruins East Gate
  We waited about 15 minutes and nobody else going to the city materialised.  "Okay," he said.  "60 RMB."  And we were on our way.

On the way to Turpan, there were fields of white wind driven power generators.  We stopped along the road to pick up the driver's friend and drop him at the tourist information center where he works.  The the information center was a family visiting from Xi'an with a young boy who was pretty surprised to see me.  "Waiguoren ye qu Xinjiang?" (Foreigners go to Xinjiang too?) He asked in amazement.  His family laughed and posed for photos with me.  Then I got back in the taxi and continued to town.

At the hotel I paid the taxi, got out, and started walking to the door.
Vineyards behind Jiaohe Ruins
  As I reached the steps, a young man ran up behind me.
"Hi!  I've been waiting for you," he said.
At first, I thought he was an english speaking meember of hotel staff, for some reason waiting to greet the foreigner.  I quick glance at him took that thought from my mind though.  He was young and not wearing a hotel uniform.  I guessed he was a tout, maybe trying to get a finder's fee from the hotel for bringing me to them.  This was a no-go though since I had mad a reservation online in  advance.

I continued past him to the desk to check in and he followed, making small talk.  While I was checking in, he continued asking me questions.  A little annoyed, I asked him, "who are you?"
"The driver's brother," he answered.  "He called me and told me you are comming.
Karez
"
Well, my driver had clearly been Chinese and the young man talking to me was Uighur.

When I had finished checking in, the young man asked if he could pitch some travel ideas to me.  Why not.  I didn't have any other ideas and the guide book did say that "the tour guides will find you."  While we walked to the lounge to discuss tour options, I asked him, "You're not really the driver's brother are you?  You don't look alike."
"You're right," he said.  "Most foreigners would have fallen for that, but you're too smart."
Ahh, flattery.  After talking to him a bit longer about tour options, I was feeling more comfortable, but still a little paranoid that he'd lied to me  once and might do so again.  I told him so.  "You would have a deal now if you hadn't lied to me about being the driver's brother.
seattlejon and guide at green mosque.
  Now, I don't know if I can trust you."
He seemed genuinely worried and apologetic about this and knocked another 100RMB off the price.  That's how Mardan became my tour guide for my two days in Turpan.

As it turned out, Mardan was a very friendly and dependable guide.  The first day, we went to see the Jiaohe Ruins, a Karez exhibit, Emin minaret, the market, and a mosque where Mardan and the driver took a break to pray while I explored the small streets in the old town nerby. 

At a restaurant for lunch, we were approached by an Amway rep who asked me to write my contact information in his notebook so that "we can be friends".  I flipped through the book, loaded with thousands of names and said, "you have a lot of friends!"

I was staying at one of the nicest hotels in town, and my guide was very curious to see the excercise and gaming facilities inside.
Emin Minaret
  We went in and played on the excercise and weightlifting equipment for a while.  The whole time, he tried to convince me that we should swim in the very nice indoor pool.  It did sound good, but unfortunately, I hadn't brought my swimming suit.  Mardan really didn't think this an obstacle.  He would swim in his underwear, he said.  I had to tell him I was wearing briefs, but even then he wasn't satisfied.

The next morning, Mardan and I met again to see the sights further from the city: Tuyoq, Khocho Ruins, Flaming Mountains, and Bezeklik Caves.  In the afternoon, he returned again to the mosque to pray.  While he was inside, I found a soft serve ice cream vendor in the market and got a tall refreshing cone.  The flavor and the price were astonishing.  For 0.5RMB (about $0.07 US) I had a tall, delicious, refreshing soft serve ice cream cone.  It had traces of yellow color.  I'm not sure about the flavor.  Banana or pineapple I think.
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Train station at Daheyan, nearest …
Train station at Daheyan, nearest…
Jiaohe Ruins East Gate
Jiaohe Ruins East Gate
Vineyards behind Jiaohe Ruins
Vineyards behind Jiaohe Ruins
Karez
Karez
seattlejon and guide at green mosq…
seattlejon and guide at green mos…
Emin Minaret
Emin Minaret
Desert on the road from Daheyan to…
Desert on the road from Daheyan t…
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Vineyards behind Jiaohe Ruins
Vineyards behind Jiaohe Ruins
seattlejon at Jiaohe Ruins
seattlejon at Jiaohe Ruins
Vineyards below Jiaohe Ruins
Vineyards below Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Desert around Jiaohe Ruins
Desert around Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Green Mosque
Green Mosque
From courtyard of green mosque.
From courtyard of green mosque.
Bricks drying in street behind gre…
Bricks drying in street behind gr…
Old Turpan from top of green mosqu…
Old Turpan from top of green mosq…
Green Mosque
Green Mosque
Green Mosque
Green Mosque
Emin Minaret
Emin Minaret
Jiaohe Ruins
Jiaohe Ruins
Emin Minaret
Emin Minaret
Grape Vineyard near Emin Minaret
Grape Vineyard near Emin Minaret
Turpan Hotels & Accommodations review
Good Facilities and Service don't Justify the Price
Every hotel I found reviews for in Turpan had negative reviews. I couldn't find any reviews for the Tuha Petroleum hotel, but noticed it is the newes… read entire review
Turpan
photo by: Biedjee