Categories
china Travel

BACK TO ÜRÜMQI

In the evening I went to Ürümqi, back to He’s parents’ house and I went to dinner at the night market. The house was at my disposal, but it was agreed to pay an amount equivalent to that of a hostel, a RMB 25 or USD 3 per night.

The next day I didn’t do anything interesting. I bought an airfare to anywhere between Ürümqi and Xian, I decided to go to Lanzhou impromptu, but I would have to wait four days because the flights were sold out and I paid dearly for it, USD 180.

I slept all the afternoon I was feeling weak, I was starting to get a flu, I had a little fever and my bowel decided to misbehave due to last night’s fish that wasn’t fresh.

On Sunday it was the day 40th since I began my adventure through Asia.

I arranged to meet with Cassandre and Sébastien at Ürümqi railway station, they came from Kashgar. They stayed with me tonight, the next morning they went to Heavenly Lake. I recommended Mr. Rashit’s tents to stay, and I asked Cassandre to deliver some photos to Kul Joen. As I knew Ürümqi well, I took them for a city-tour and took the opportunity to know two more places that I had not yet gone. We went to Erdaoqiao, Mount Yamalik and two night markets (Jia He Yuen and Wu Yi), the latter was quite large, occupying several blocks. When it was already dark we went to a park where there was a movie playing on a huge big screen in an open air, there were hundreds of Chinese.

I finally found deodorant in Carrefour, besides expensive there was only the Adidas roll-on or the Nivea spray, even so it was rare to find, the Chinese of any ethnicity do not have the habit of using perfumes. Even seeing black people here was easier! Here at Carrefour you can buy live frog, because it is part of the local cuisine. Well, at least I managed to find dental floss, another rare thing in this country!

Anywhere in the countryside of China, where westerners are rarely present, children shouted “hello.” Just as the Asians are like aliens in some cities in the Brazil’s countryside, white people are like aliens here.

In the next two boring days I rolled up until the date of my flight. I updated a little more of my blog going to cyber-cafes. In China the cyber-cafes look like a smokehouse, it’s horrible, 90% of men smoke, 100% of which are drivers, and do not respect whether they are in a restaurant, bus or any other enclosed environment. The non-smoking signs is more like adornments, similar to pictures.

Hotmail and MSN didn’t work in this country for days. Maybe it has to do with the violation of correspondence and spying mainly from non-Chinese websites. I was searching on sites what was attractions and accommodation in Lanzhou. With my diarrhea, I took the opportunity to rest.

One day I would go to the zoo, but I changed my mind, it was very complicated, getting there at the gate of the zoo it had to take a bus from the zoo, because the entrance was not there, but elsewhere. As I was feeling weak and sleepy I sat somewhere on the sidewalk and dozed a little in the shade. And in the other day I went to Erdaoqiao again to buy some little bags, a Brazilian friend who was in Xian had ordered.

Categories
china Travel

THE MUSLIM QUARTER

Flavio and I went to the local market called Erdaoqiao, in the Uighur or Muslim neighborhood. There was a beautiful mosque of brown and beiges bricks. In addition to many Uighurs, there was a camel for tourists to ride and take pictures of. It was a new market (if you consider the age of the region) of almost 200 years, with its stalls selling typical things such as carpets, musical instruments, bags, hats, food, skins, souvenirs, knives, clothes, chestnuts, condiments, etc.

Muslim quarter in Ürümqi.

I bought a VCD from the Shahrizoda band that I loved. The group was three beautiful Uighurs from Uzbekistan who were making great success in the countries of Central Asia and Xinjiang as well. Their songs were played incessantly in all the local stores. On Youtube you can see some clips of the them. We had lunch right here and had ordered some unremarkable food that I neglected to photograph. I bought a VCD from the Shahrizoda band that I loved. The group was three beautiful Uighurs from Uzbekistan who were making great success in the countries of Central Asia and Xinjiang as well. Their songs were played incessantly in all the local stores. On Youtube you can see some clips of the them. We had lunch right here and had ordered some unremarkable food that I neglected to photograph.

Categories
china Travel

“NEW TERRITORIES”

Arriving in Ürümqi was like having traveled to another world, even though you were already in another world, not only because of the distance and different landscapes, but also because it had an atmosphere and people so different from most Chinese. I was thrilled to see non-Asian people in China.

In front of the train station, Flavio and I started taking pictures with these people in the background. The Ürümqi railway is more beautiful and organized than Xian’s, and also younger.

Here almost in Central Asia, the atmosphere looks like in the Middle East. There are many Muslims with their heads covered, the people of ethnic minority are Turks, called Uighurs (or Uyghurs), they have no similarities to Chinese, because the majority of Chinese people are Han ethnically. I came to find out that I am also a Han, just like most of Chinese anywhere in this world, in my ignorance I thought all Chinese were equals. The Uighurs are very beautiful, as they are Turkish some have mixed-race face with blue eyes, green or honey and wear colorful and beautiful clothes. Some men wear long beards and dress badly. Some do not speak Mandarin, speaking a Turkish dialect, and those who speak Mandarin have a dragged accent. Here the writing used besides Chinese is Arabic.

Ürümqi (it is pronounced ‘ulumutí’), is the capital and largest city of Sinkiang province or Xinjiang (new spelling), meaning “New Territories”. Located at the very far west of China and close to Kazakhstan. It is also the farthest city from any ocean according to the “Guinness, the Book of Records”. The population is 2.2 million people.

As Flavio and I did not go to the “English Camp”, we separated from the group and went to the parents of the friend of Flávio’s friend, phew! She, who we didn’t know yet, was supposed to pick us up at the station. She also had a cell phone, and to identify her she was with a black cover book holding to her chest, on the staircase of the main entrance.

In the afternoon after lunch the typical local food, a “laghman” (or “lamen”, freshly made pasta with pepper, vegetables and meat), Flávio and I went for a walk in the center, well developed by the way, with shopping malls and avenues. We climbed to the top of Hong Shan Park (“Red Hill”), from where we could have a panoramic view of the city, the desert and the mountains in the background. Then we met the gringos and went to the top of Yamalik Park, another mountain. Since we were all Christians, we prayed for the city, like Jesus, when he went up the hill.

In Beijing I had bought, from another backpacker, a used guide book of the “Rough Guide” – China, but as Flavio had gifted a used “Lonely Planet” guide book, which it was my preference, I left my guide in Xian. What we didn’t know was that Flávio’s guide book was missing pages, just from the region we needed. I was glad the gringos had the same guide, so we went to get copies.

The dinner was at KFC.