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Miles from the sea

Urumqi, China

First of all, I'm fine and missed the Earthquake, disconcertingly close though as the road to Songpan passed though the epicenter of the quake and we were there 4 days ago. Scary to say the least. We didn't feel a thing up here and it took ages for any news to come through. Sounds pretty bloody awful in the rural areas in particular I think Chengdu is fairly untouched.

Urumqi is an interesting place, officially the furthest city on Earth from any sea, its in Xinjinag province which is a predominantly Muslim area of NW China, It also has 30% of Chinas oil reserves so its pretty affluent.

Urumqi itself looked a bit of a hole as we came in on the 27 hour train form Xi'an. The train was cool by the way it traveled all the way from Beijing, we just took the last 2500 km's. Spent most of the time entertaining the natives with my seriously lacking conversational Chinese!

After arriving and scratching the surface its not such a bad place, the buildings are fairly eastern blockish and painted fairly garishly but theres lots of different faces and scripts everywhere. The Chinese claimed the province officially in the 50's and moved a lot of Han Chinese over here to run the big businesses so theres a lot of regular Chinese faces too but you also see Central Asian and Turkish looking chaps along with Russians.
There really friendly too and they can cook, we found a massive bustling food market last night and ate yet more lamb and really good bread!

Nick is getting his visa for Kazakhstan today and tomorrow were going to head to an Oasis town just south of here. Most of Xinjiang is desert so theres going to be some interesting landscape to check out.

permalink written by  Dan on May 13, 2008 from Urumqi, China
from the travel blog: Been there, Dan that!
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Sounds like an excellent trip Dan and glad you where no where near the quake.

Your Dad posted the blog on the forums so just been ctaching up. :)

permalink written by  Tommy Brown on May 14, 2008

Aye that was a bit close!

Kudos to Bill for posting the link, I'd lost it, so I've just been catching up on what you've been up too.
Must say I'm a little envious.

Ruth sends her love.
Keep well.

permalink written by  Jonathan Taylor-Yorke. on May 14, 2008

Well it's good to know you're safe, I was so glad to get your text and email last monday am (after I'd texted you...) Lots of queries from people at my work too..stay safe and Nick in Kazak too.
Ma xxx

permalink written by  carol atherton on May 15, 2008

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