AsiaChinaTurpan

In the oven of China

Turpan Travel Blog

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cafe under the grape trellisses

Last night I bumped into an Aussie/Kiwi couple I'd seen at Karakul. They'd hired a car and driver to see the same few sights I'd had in mind. None of us could bear the thought of baking alive at places we didn't have any interest in, on the day tours that are available everywhere. So I joined in the car share, and we set off early, in a vain attempt to beat the heat.

The first stop was the ruined city of Jiahe. It's massive - 2km long, and comprises hundreds of surprisingly well preserved (considering it's 2,000 years old and built of mud) buildings such as temples, public buildings, graveyards and houses. Then we went to see a Karez. It's so hot here, that the only way the place survived is due to the karez irrigation system of underground channels connnecting a series of wells.

Then we passed the Flaming Mountains - sandstone mountains of varying colours, that in the afternoon light look like flames. We were on our way to an adobe village, the name of which escapes me.  It was a gorgeously photogenic place, with vineyards behind the mud and straw buildings.

We must have kept the bottled water companies in business. We'd buy one chilled and one frozen bottle at a time, but they melted and warmed up in no time at all. When we got back I just wanted to sit in a cool shower for hours. I put my third change of clothes on at 7pm, to go to the bus station to book my ticket to Hami tomorrow. By the time I got back I had to shower and change again. It's only 500m away and I'd taken a taxi both ways.

I can't begin to describe the heat here, at 300ft below sea level.

Out again at 10:30pm. A breeze had come up, and as it was still in the upper 30s, it felt like being under a giant hairdrier - but still much more bearable than the rest of the day. I like Turpan at night. the place seems to come to life. Everyone's out, walking under the grape trellises of the pedestrianised areas, or walking in the park-like People's Square (where the trees are all lit up with flashing lights), and eating at one of  the myriad street stalls that spring up out of nowhere. I called at one, and made my selection of kebabs, to be basted with chilli oil and grilled over coals. 1x unspecified meat, 1x chicken wings, 2x cauliflower, 1x broccoli and 1x folded flatbread with something green inside. I love this stuff. I'm almost sorry to be leaving now. Turpan in the day, just drains me, but late night Turpan is fun.

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cafe under the grape trellisses
cafe under the grape trellisses
Jiahe
Jiahe
Girl at karez entrance
Girl at karez entrance
Turpan
photo by: Biedjee