Yarkand to Hotan

Hotan Travel Blog

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There are as many donkey carts as cars.

The bus journey (no 2) was long and dusty. It was as if we were driving through fog a lot of the time, but it was dust. At one point the driver had to jam on the brakes, as we were enveloped by a dust 'storm' for a couple of minutes. It was impossible to see out of the windows at all.

There were six police/army checkpoints on the route. At each one, I endeared myself to my fellow passengers by being ordered off the bus by whichever official came on board, in order to have my passport laboriously and lengthily checked and logged. My neighbour on the aisle seat threw me a look of loathing each time she had to stir herself to let me out. On my own part it was always a worry. I had heard of several people who had been turned back in their attempts to reach Hotan - and the immigration officer at Shanghai had done me no favours at all by stamping my visa sloppily, so that the part of the stamper showing the port of entry never made contact with the paper.

This has caused consternation every time I've needed to use it.

I got through each time though, and we made it to Hotan...five minutes too late for my neighbour, who was violently sick just as we reached the outskirts. She vomited copiously into a plastic bag, which she then hurled out of the window! Out of the kindness of my heart, I offered her one of my precious, and carefully rationed wet wipes. She grabbed it out of my hand and scowled some more.

I found a nice hotel on the square, which accepted foreigners. I tried to read its service guide, but very little was translated into English apart from "Prostitution, whoring, gambling and taking drugs are strictly forbidden in the hotel" Relating this to Jon in my progress report phone call, he replied "but what will you do?"

I ventured into the square in the evening, to eat street food (a chive pancakey omelettey thing with a fried egg in the middle, and another pressed rice and honey pudding), and wander.

Sheep's head soup, anyone?
The square is a kiddy related recreational spot with little bikes and cars to hire, sideshows and playgrounds etc...except for the third of it which the army presence is using to practice their drills (or intimidate). 200 soldiers 'practising' marching, use of riot shields, and wielding big sticks. The message is as unsubtle as ever.

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There are as many donkey carts as …
There are as many donkey carts as…
Sheeps head soup, anyone?
Sheep's head soup, anyone?
photo by: orcio81