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My Silk Road The Piglet stumbles across the continent

36 - Lahore - faded glory

PAKISTAN | Sunday, 7 Oct 2012 | Views [782]

Aside from the Karakoram Highway, Lahore was another big reason for visiting Pakistan.  It has a reputation for a confluence of Mughal architecture, British history and Islamic tradition and I was very much looking forward to it.  Driving into ... Read more >

35 - Living together peacefully - ruminations in Taxila

PAKISTAN | Friday, 5 Oct 2012 | Views [871]

I wonder when human beings lost the ability to live together peacefully and tolerate each other's different beliefs.  When did we all start getting so dogmatic especially about religion?  I visited the Taxila ruins today at the outskirts of ... Read more >

34 - Abbottabad - yep that place

PAKISTAN | Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | Views [746]

Never did I think that I would have the chance to visit Abbottabad.  Yep, that's the place where OBL apparently hid for years and was finally (apparently) killed by covert US action.  Abbottabad lies directly on the highway to Islamabad ... Read more >

33 - In the middle of nowhere

PAKISTAN | Thursday, 4 Oct 2012 | Views [775]

Day 7 in Pakistan - we need to go from Gilgit to Islamabad and it was 13 interminable hours on the road starting at 7:30am.  In the morning, we pass by the spot where the Gilgit and Indus Rivers merge and where the Himalayas, Hindu Kush and ... Read more >

32 - Headscarf on!

PAKISTAN | Tuesday, 2 Oct 2012 | Views [739]

Drove southwards from Karimabad for around three hours today and now at the historically significant town of Gilgit.  It is a "town" indeed and we're no longer in a picturesque rural mountain village.  Gilgit has many small shops and markets ... Read more >

31 - A little hidden gem - Ganish

PAKISTAN | Sunday, 30 Sep 2012 | Views [1412]

Because of the change in itinerary (riots and landslides ahead), we stayed an extra day in the Hunza Valley today which turned out to be an unexpected boon.  The Ganish settlement near Karimibad is definitely a must-see in this part ... Read more >

30 - At the Eagle's Nest

PAKISTAN | Saturday, 29 Sep 2012 | Views [1549] | Comments [1]

Just so as to prove that I am really in Pakistan and that there are in fact both sectarian and anti-American troubles here as well as natural disasters, the forward itinerary is now up in the air.  First - the good news: ... Read more >

29 - Hunza Valley cuisine

PAKISTAN | Friday, 28 Sep 2012 | Views [895]

Pakistan does not immediately strike one as a foodie country, but nonetheless, there has been a couple of interesting finds.  The typical cuisine of the Hunza Valley (north/central part of Pakistan along the Hunza River) comprises largely soup, ... Read more >

28 - How do you know when you've reached Pakistan?

PAKISTAN | Friday, 28 Sep 2012 | Views [724]

Simple - the road stops but the smiles begin!  But more about this shortly. On 26 September, 2012, I finally fulfulled a longheld dream to cross the border from China into Pakistan via the Karakoram Highway (fondly known by the locals as the ... Read more >

27 - The bus breaks down

CHINA | Wednesday, 26 Sep 2012 | Views [124139]

As with any great travel story, there has got to be a mishap.  And the classic one is that the bus breaks down.  Well, ours did today.  Fortunately, after various coughing fits and screeching halts, our bus managed to at least ... Read more >

26 - Aspiration

CHINA | Tuesday, 25 Sep 2012 | Views [1578]

As I walked through the winding alleys in the Old City of Kashgar today, I thought a lot about what it means to be "aspirational".  In the industry that I work in, we talk about "aspirational" television channels and frankly, I have always ... Read more >

25 - Only window shopping today

CHINA | Monday, 24 Sep 2012 | Views [604]

Today was the ideal day to visit Kashgar's famous cattle market, which only convenes on Sunday as well as its bazaar which is open every week of the day but becomes more hectic on sunday because villagers from rural Kashgar bring in their produce to ... Read more >

24 - Kashgar 喀什 - finally here

HONG KONG | Sunday, 23 Sep 2012 | Views [31435]

After a 13 hour journey today with two plane changes in Shenzhen and Urumqi, I arrived in Kashgar 喀什 tonight.  It was still quite bright at 8pm and at first sight, Kashgar seems completely scrubbed and spotless - suspect it's because of the upcoming ... Read more >

23 - Back on the road again

HONG KONG | Saturday, 22 Sep 2012 | Views [645]

Setting off bright and early tomorrow morning (car pick-up at 6:30am... UGH) to go back to western China - Kashgar, which sits close to the border between China and Pakistan.  Have enjoyed a short and sweet 3-day "refresh and replenish" break ... Read more >

22 - Homeward bound (end of Part One)

CHINA | Monday, 17 Sep 2012 | Views [2807]

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 [3811]

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 [2878]

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 [639]

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 [2053]

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 [1818] | 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 >

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