A quick journey across the Taklamakan desert
Kuqa Travel Blog› entry 30 of 79 › view all entries
In Hotan, I got tired of mutton, dust, sand and a lack of communication with outside world that's why I decided to cross the Taklamakan desert right from here through a newly built highway (2007). My soft-sleeper bus departed at 6pm so I could enjoy the scenery of a desert for a couple of hours before the sun set and I got to Kuqa as early as in 4am in the morning....Well, the bus stopped at the intersection somewhere in the middle of nowhere (like in Turpan) and when I asked the driver three times: "Is it really Kuqa?" he pushed me into a taxi that was "awaiting" our bus. I already started to think "what kind of trick is that?".. but to my great surprise my taxi ride was included in the bus ticket (the bus driver paid the taxi driver). I got into Kuqa's city center at 5am and as you can imagine it was dark and.....freezing (I guess it was around 0'C)! Yes, I could go to a nearby hotel and sleep for a couple of hours but then after my cost-benefit analysis I decided to wait for a new day in front of the bus station (hopefully, they would open at 8am). Thus, I sat on my backpack wrapped in my summer sleeping bag (comfort level of 20'C) and to be honest I felt quite warm...After 30 minutes two security guards, surely protecting the bus station, noticed my little existence, came to me, directed their flashlights into my face and started explaining why I can't really wait here....I couldn't think of any better reply than to point my little flashlight into their faces and express in my home dialect that "Jo tu syncy jyny czakom az autobusak sie odewrze" (in eng: "Guys, I'm only waiting for the bus station to open")...After 5 minutes of that Babylon communication I felt I better change my position before Police would be involved and moved myself 100m further, outside the bus station premises....There I spent about 2 hours having a nice warm nap.......but....at around 7am I kind of woke up ultimately freezing!!!...I knew I had to warm up myself somehow so I put my backpack on my shoulders and started to run about the city center....20minutes later I was still very cold because the running didn't help much but furtunatelly for me I saw that a Chinesse restaurant/bar has just opened. I went inside, pointed at a meal on the menu for 6yuan hoping to be a SERIOUSLY hot meal....and few minutes later I was served with a big hot pot of noodles......Happy days!!!
There's not much to see in Kuqa so I spent the whole day by strolling around its streets. And there was, like in Kashgar, a Sunday market which is never boring.