Day 104: The Sunday bazaar and livestock market
Kashgar Travel Blog› entry 143 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the peope I met here and/or travelled with: Abdul (China)
Well, not much catching up with sleep today, as I had to get up at 6:30 in the morning - Beijing time! (so for the viewers at home, that is 4:30 Pamir time!)
Reason for getting up so early was the main reason why I had wanted to come to Kashgar in the first place. Every Sunday morning there is a livestock market where thousands of farmers, herders and traders from all over the province come to buy and sell goats, sheep, cows, donkeys and horses. Despite modern progress, deals are still made here the way they have been made for over a thousand years.
The guy where I had booked yesterday's tour, Abdul, had offered to show me around today.
We arrived at the animal bazaar early in the morning, just when it started to get going. Some locals were still arriving with their livestock, while others were already engaged in hard negotiating.
It was interesting to see how people arrived at the market. Some farmers came walking, leading a single goat to the market, while others had a truckload full of livestock. Some of the cows, goats or sheep were tied down on the back of a motorcycle or tuk-tuk, having travelled for hours to this market.
Abdul told me how in recent years the prices of meat have increased dramatically. Apparently since the Olympics in 2008 the East of China has developed a taste for mutton and now the Xinjiang autonomous region is exporting most of its meat to Beijing and Shanghai.
Not entirely sure why this is a bad thing, but according to Abdul the prices for meat are now so high that farmers sell their best livestock to traders from the East, which leaves second-rate meat for the people in Xinjiang. He showed me the difference between Xinjiang sheep and sheep from other regions. The sheep here are much larger and fatter than they are elsewhere in the country. And he was right, they were certainly larger and fatter than the sheep I'd seen across the border in Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.
The other famous bazaar in Kashgar is simply called the “Sunday bazaar”. This is a typical Asian bazaar, which in fact proved so popular that authorities have decided to hold open this bazaar every day now. As a result there are far fewer tourists here on Sundays than there used to be and these days the bazaar doesn't have much of an atmosphere.
With temperatures soaring north of 40 degrees I spent most of the afternoon in the comfort of my (finally working) air-conditioning, enjoying my last day (for a long while) with a proper Internet connection in my room with some excellent beer (Xinjiang beer) and some pistachios I had bought. The latter had the most brilliant slogan I have ever seen: “ Pure European Taste, Give you the authentic exotic flavour”. Somehow 'European' and 'Exotic' don't seem the right combination of words.
I was sad to be leaving again tomorrow. I would have loved to have spent more time in Kashgar and the region. There are plenty of things to see and do around here. For the first time this trip I feel like I planned my route wrongly. What I should have done was go to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan first and then travel through China down the Karakorum towards Pakistan and India. Well, good thing I didn't since the Karakorum is now closed and I need to be in north India before the end of the summer, so I wouldn't have had enough time to do it this way. But still it felt like I was doing something wrong by heading back to Kyrgyzstan tomorrow.