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Xinjiang, China

I thought I was dreaming!
I saw the weirdest thing in China's hottest city - everyone, cars, buses, bikes, scooters and pedestrians, obey traffic signals. Really weird!

S finds me in Tuyoq
I just can't lose the guy! In Kashgar we shared a bunk room. He had a normal bed in the inner room. I had to pass through to get to the toilet. I had a hard cot in the outer room. He had to pass through to get outside. It was late and I wanted to sleep. He semi reclined two cots over and chatted. And chatted and chatted and chatted. Two days and one city later I'm getting on the 1:30 bus and there he is. His sleeper berth being far from mine we do not get to chat. We do concede that accommodation hunting together will be mutually beneficial. 25 hours after bumping into me we disembark the bus and check the traveler's bible -- the Lonely Planet Xinjiang chapter. Being a sunny day I am able to orientate the map to north. This actually impresses him. We find the budget lodging not as budget friendly as hoped but other options are unavailable. I spend the afternoon planning for the morrow's adventure and invite both room mates, S and a French Berber gentleman. On the morrow I am ready to go but S must meditate. I leave for adventure A. Climbing the China famous Flaming Mountain. The earlier the better because of the third lowest point on the planet basin heat. Fortunately I miss the 40rmb hokie tourist stop and am dropped off 300 yards beyond the fence. This means I can save $6 and just cross the empty plain, which I do. Climbing is good but hot. Terrain is crumbly and tricky. If only I hadn't waited to see if S was coming with me I could have started my ascent two hours and ten degrees Fahrenheit ago. Oh, well. The views are good and I'm the only one there. I descend and flag down every bus I see hoping for a cheap ride to Tuyoq, a small Chinese city that is one seventh of Mecca. Bus after bus refuses me. Taxis offer to take me for 7.50, ten times the bus rate. I hold fast. Hope starts to fade. But finally a bus did come and take me to the town of Tuyoq, the main tiny, four square block town. I walk 4 kilometers before I find old, 1/7 of Mecca with famous Muslim tomb Tuyoq. But not before S finds me on one of two possible old, 1/7 of Mecca with famous Muslim tomb Tuyoq access routes. The longer one, it turns out. I can't lose the guy!.

Looks Can Be Deceiving:
We want to flag down a bus to Turpin but were? We head to the closest crossroads. There happens to be three old men at the tiny convenience shop. We inquire as to passing buses to Turpin. The smallest of the wrinkled trio says, in Chinese, 'at the crossroad' and even draws a diagram on the dust. This crossroad or another? He does not use vocabulary I understand. 'This one?' He does not use 'yes' or 'no.' I repeat my question he repeats words that don't make sense to me. Finally I understand him to say that he 'will get his horse and deliver us there.' Is my interpretation correct? Amazingly it is! Well, a donkey and rickety cart, anyway. He doesn't want money. Good deal. Bumpy but fun. He takes us about one kilometer. So it was a different cross road. We would have accepted, 'not here; that way' but he assumed too much of my Chinese. So, how old was this shrunken, weather beaten, hunched over, fly wide open but you forgive ancient peasants for such man? 73. I would have sworn he didn't look a day under 85.

permalink written by  prrrrl on October 6, 2009 from Xinjiang, China
from the travel blog: China 2009
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