or 10 Days West of Fast Food
20-23, 2001: We had a great 3 days
in Kashgar (variously spelled Kashi or Qashqar, if you're trying to find
us on the map). Kashgar is just north of the Pakistan border in far western
China. The locals are Uyghurs pronounced "WE gur"), not Han Chinese, and
are related to the Turkish people. They look just like Turks and are very
Muslim - mosques were everywhere. Our 3 days seems like 2 weeks as we were
very busy and there was much to see. On the first day, we took a tour up
the Karakoram Highway that connects Kashgar with Pakistan. This "highway"
is actually a 2 lane, often washed away, road that climbs from 3,000 feet
at Kashgar to 18,000 feet at the Pakistan border. We went as far as Karakkul,
a lake at 11,000 feet, before turning around. Karakkul is a beautiful,
large lake with a 26,000 foot peak right behind it. We did manage to get
Spencer (Larry's friend who is with us) up on a camel that some of the
local folks brought over for the occasion.
SCENES FROM THE KARAKORAM HIGHWAY
SOUTH OF KASHGAR
Day 2 we went to the Sunday market in Kashgar. All of the neighboring farmers head to town to buy and sell. There were thousands of people jammed together selling horses, sheep, goats (imagine the smell), fresh fruit, bread, you name it. I think this is the point at which Spencer went into culture shock. This huge market occurs every Sunday morning and is the big social and business event of the week. Much shouting, haggling, dirt, and confusion. At least 3 of us had a great time there. We ended the day at the Caravan Cafe, a cafe owned and operated by 2 young Americans. We finally had ice in our drinks and recognizable food to eat. Of course, this is where Neil got the bug that has laid her out for 2 days.
SCENES FROM THE KASHGAR SUNDAY
Day 3 Larry, Spencer, and I toured some mosques, a large cemetery, and some market areas. Spencer has recovered from shock and is back to his old self. We had lunch at some rich Uyghur family's home - much bigger house than any of us live in - Mao Tse-Tung would be rolling in his grave if he could see it.
PEOPLE AND SCENERY OF KASHGAR
Kashgar, like many towns in China, is far larger
than one might expect. Located among 3 mountain ranges and thousands
of miles from the main population of China, it still has a population of
300,000 people. In my mind, it was an end of the world place, but
actually it is a town with wide boulevards, new apartment buildings, and
a very, positive attitude. It also has the 2nd largest statue of
Mao Tse Tung still standing in China. We asked the tour guide why
it was still around. He said that everyone was too busy to tear it