Sunday, May 04, 2008

kaya in Tashkorgan and other adventures

our first day (1 May) was a disaster. our flight to Kashgar was almost landing when it had to turn back bcos of dust storm. can't blame the pilot or airlines since I could see the dust plumes from the plane. it was like a scene from The Mummy!

we kena turn back to Urumqi to fly back the next morning. the usual mayhem followed, including a long wait to retrive our luggage, plus lousy transport by the airline (China Southern). it was almost 2am when we reached the lousy hotel provided by the airline.

when we landed in Kasghar and left on our coach, we saw a highway advertisement board being twisted like aluminium foil just outside the airport. it shows how strong the winds were on Thurs night!

as we started our journey proper, Xinjiang landscape was spectacular! we drove from Kashgar to Lake Karagul, then to Tashkorgan. we went from Uighur farmland to open desert up valley gorges, pass glaciers and onto the Pamir highlands at 3600m.

we stayed at Crown Inn at Tashkorgan, the best hotel in the Tajik town. the hotel is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and it seemed more like the Swiss Alps than the Pamir plateau. surprisingly it was runned by a Singaporean couple. they were very nice and efficient (as usual). the hotel was clean and beautifully furnished. we even got kaya for breakfast! quite surreal actually: kaya at Tashkorgan!

this morning we visited a Tajik family. our tour group was feted with naan, yoghurt and various pastries. Robina bought a hand embriodered Tajik hat from the family. their 19-year old daughter, Kemartigol, was very sweet and liked Robina a lot. she kept talking to Robina and hugging her. She seemed very reluctant to let Robina go when we were supposed to leave. Robina was nearly adopted!

now we'r back in Kashgar and the city is blanketed in a dust cloud. we heard that all flights in and out from Kashgar were cancelled. apparently, the dust were brought up to high altitudes by the strong winds on Thurs and was now falling back to ground level. hopefully our pm flight on Sunday would be alright. anyway we will hit the Sunday bazaar in the morning and load up on local specialties!

P.S. posting from free internte in Kashgar Hotel


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