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My Silk Road The Piglet stumbles across the continent

Trip: China - Xian to Hetian

There are [22] stories from my trip: China - Xian to Hetian


22 - Homeward bound (end of Part One)

CHINA | Monday, 17 Sep 2012 | Views [2517]

Returning to Hong Kong tomorrow after 17 days on the road.  I will have travelled all the way from the historical capital of Tang dynasty China (Xian, then known as Chang An) in central/eastern China to almost the western border of China.  ... Read more >


21 - You can get in but you can't get out!

CHINA | Monday, 17 Sep 2012 | Views [3503]

Apparently this is the translation (from Uighur) of "Taklamakan", the desert which we crossed today travelling from Kuqa 库车 to Hetian 和田 in 11 hours.  The Taklamakan desert is so known because of its almost complete lack of vegetation and animal ... Read more >


20 - An exploration of local street markets

CHINA | Sunday, 16 Sep 2012 | Views [2632]

Many of you will know my fondness for local street food - in my view, the best way to get to know a city and its people.  (I know this isn't particularly original; Anthony Bourdain has said the same).  My street market explorations started ... Read more >


19 - An oasis in the heat

CHINA | Saturday, 15 Sep 2012 | Views [582]

Stopped by a typical Turpan village farm today for lunch.  Like most farms in the region, they grow grapes which yields them around RMB 30k profit per year.  To supplement their income during the tourist season, they open their home to tourists ... Read more >


18 - Musings on Ozymandias

CHINA | Saturday, 15 Sep 2012 | Views [1883]

Thoughts of Ozymandias came into mind as I visited the Gaochang ancient city 高昌古城ruins and Jiaohe ancient city 交河故城 ruins in Turpan 吐鲁番. Both cities had once thrived as early as 2000+ years ago (in the case of Jiaohe) and have since disappeared ... Read more >


17 - A first glimpse of Xinjiang (via the stomach)

CHINA | Thursday, 13 Sep 2012 | Views [1645] | Comments [1]

Dinner at Urumqi 乌鲁木齐 tonight was at a local restaurant (no foreign tourists seen and most of the staff only spoke the Uighur language).  Almost Hansel and Gretel-like in its decor and charm.  The food is perceptibly less Han and has ... Read more >


16 - Concluding on Caves

CHINA | Thursday, 13 Sep 2012 | Views [1870]

Landed in Urumqi this evening, flying in from Dunhuang. Greeted at the airport by our guide and driver both of Uighur origin. Our driver is quite the cutest guy I have seen in a long time with typical Uighur faintly exotic eurasian features. Something ... Read more >


15 - Al fresco dining under the vines

CHINA | Wednesday, 12 Sep 2012 | Views [1867]

Today (Day 11) ended with "high tea" (aka late lunch) in Yangguan 阳关 town, a very pleasant leafy little enclave that has prospered on the back of growing grapes. Throughout Yangguan town are vineyards - they grow mostly green grapes which are ... Read more >


14 - China has better camels

CHINA | Wednesday, 12 Sep 2012 | Views [1862]

Dunhuang 敦煌 surely has to be one of the most picturesque towns on the Silk Road.  Probably anyone with an pocket automatic camera will be able to take an impressive photo as the scenery simply doesn't permit failure.  Dunhuang ... Read more >


13 - There's a first time for everything

CHINA | Tuesday, 11 Sep 2012 | Views [2397] | Comments [1]

And today's first was donkey meat.  Served with noodles (soup-less), as well as plain sliced.  The noodles are the same type of noodles as used in a Lanzhou beef noodle soup, except it is coloured with a natural plant extract which makes the ... Read more >


12 - More noodles (and mutton too)

CHINA | Sunday, 9 Sep 2012 | Views [8369]

As we leave central China, distinctly, we seem to be straying away from rice country into noodle country.  And there seems to be an assortment of noodles to sample, ranging from Lanzhou beef noodles 牛肉面, to Bang Bang Noodles (chinese characters ... Read more >


11 - The End of the World

CHINA | Sunday, 9 Sep 2012 | Views [2191]

Jiayuguan 嘉峪关 was regarded by the Ming Dynasty as the border of China separating "home" from the western barbarians.  Today, Jiayuguan city is a small industrial town largely populated by immigrants from all over north and western China.  It ... Read more >


10 - Approaching the end of the world (with a sci-fi twist)

CHINA | Sunday, 9 Sep 2012 | Views [1906]

Leaving Zhangye (张掖) with a goodbye wave to Marco Polo. Yes, there is a statue of the man in the centre of town. Apparently he lived in Zhangye for almost a year whilst waiting for permission to enter China proper. See - another bit of evidence for my ... Read more >


9 - No - those are not worms!

CHINA | Saturday, 8 Sep 2012 | Views [10724]

This is a speciality noodle in the town of Zhangye (张掖)- translated as "kneaded fish noodles" (搓鱼面)because the noodle is kneaded by hand to be shaped like little fish.  They are deliciously light and slightly al dente, served dry but eaten ... Read more >


8 - Night outing in Wuwei

CHINA | Saturday, 8 Sep 2012 | Views [6083]

Set out to visit the second set of historical buddhist caves and carvings on 6 September - the Binglisi Grottoes (炳灵寺石窟).  (First was the Maiji Mountain grottes). Turns out to be a really long and dull car ride from Lanzhou to a dam along the Yellow ... Read more >


7 - Onwards to more caves and mutton

CHINA | Thursday, 6 Sep 2012 | Views [2794]

Have finally crossed the border into Gansu province today.  On the road towards 兰州(Lanzhou), the capital of Gansu, I stopped at Maiji Mountain 麦积山 where there is a very interesting set of grottoes with buddhist cave paintings and mountain sculptures.... Read more >


6 - Departing Shaanxi

CHINA | Thursday, 6 Sep 2012 | Views [2100]

It turns out that I was still sleeping in Shaanxi last night in the one-horse town of 宝鸡 (Baoji) which is on the border between Shaanxi and Gansu.  As you will see from the photos, I stayed at the very international "Vancouver International Hotel".... Read more >


5 - You can't take it with you...

CHINA | Monday, 3 Sep 2012 | Views [3122] | Comments [2]

That's the moral for the day after visiting first the Han Emperor's tomb and now Qinshi Emperor's tomb (or rather the location where thousands of replica people and animals have been bured to keep the emperor company).  Impressive no doubt, ... Read more >


4 - First stop Xian

CHINA | Monday, 3 Sep 2012 | Views [673] | Comments [1]

Arrived at Xian on a sunny and dry afternoon.  Absolutely wonderful weather - I can tell as I have volume in my hair, which isn't sticking to my head limply as it normally does in Hong Kong...  Left the Xian airport and went straight to ... Read more >


3 - Unintended Consequences

HONG KONG | Saturday, 1 Sep 2012 | Views [545]

One "good deed" has led to another!  The mere decision of taking time off from work has propelled me into a fit of efficiency on the home renovation front.  After years of procrastination about my unenvironmental halogen spotlights at home ... Read more >


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