I apologize for my long absence from the blog. For friends living in China, I hope you had an enjoyable Golden Week holiday, celebrating the National Holidays with good cheer. If you were as crafty as I was, you’d extended it and reveled in an extensive vacation.
I was in Xinjiang, both north and south, hiking mountains and eating too much mutton. The above is a shot of a Kyrgyz nomad wading his horse into Lake Karakul, a spectacular site with undisturbed waters, riveting reflections and air so fresh, I wish I could bottle it and share with you.
For our southern trip of Xinjiang, we traveled part of the Silk Road from Kashgar, passing by Lake Karakul onto Tashkurgan County and landed at the Khunjerab Pass, also known as the Sino-Pakistan border. Altitude sickness got the better of me at over 3,000 meters, making me a miserable cow that evening. Below is a sweeping and stunning view of the Pamir Mountains.
I had also spent a good part of the second week in a 4×4 speeding up north to Lake Kanas, a beautiful nature reserve that borders with Russia and Kazakhstan. In spite of the endless hours traveling through no-man’s land and seeing more sheep and cows to last me for a lifetime, I realized I’ve barely covered half of Xinjiang, being 1/6 of China’s land mass.
You can view a selection of photos and travel commentary from my Xinjiang trip over here, which I will continue to update.
Meanwhile, we resume regular programming here at Shanghai Street Stories. I’ve missed you all.
That top image knocked my metaphorical socks off this morning! Really gorgeous – and not just the frame and color. But the feeling communicated from it really tells a lot. Its very natural, and the slight lens flare almost matches the movement of the horse in the water. Well done – and welcome back to civilization!
Welcome back Sue Anne. I just saw the article about you in That’s Shanghai.
I travelled the northern silk road from Xian to Kashgar (via Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Turfan and Urumqi) in 1988. Even with local guides, it was not the easiest of journeys then but the reward was a lifetime of memories. In fact, I was so impressed that two years later I visited Soviet Central Asia and resumed the silk road, journeying as far west as Ashkahbad. I’ve enjoyed following your travels in Xinjiang. You saw many places I didn’t see but it still brought back many memories for me.
Keith, I believe our guide mentioned that before 2005, the highways weren’t paved yet, so what now takes about 3-4 hours from Kashgar to Tashkurgan County (the town you stop on your way to the Pakistan border) would take about 9 hours with a sore bottom to show for after a long bumpy ride. A lot of development has taken place in Xinjiang, so I imagine that in 1988, you must have seen Xinjiang in its most original and natural form (not that it isn’t now, but you know what I mean). I’ve always wanted to do the Silk Road in Central Asia, especially since I do know a bit of Russian to get by, I’ll have to seek your thoughts on the matter in the future.