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Kashgar Mal Bazaar 048

Kashgar Mal Bazaar 060

Kashgar did not live up to our expectations. In addition to the disappearing city, the market also was well below its mythical description. The livestock market Mal Bazaar was just selling grounds for cattle and sheep. No camels or horses which would give it the Silk Road fare. The most interesting moments were the price negotiations with intermediaries working hard to reconcile the buyers and the vendors. The usual crowd accompanied such gatherings, food venders (polo, samsa, lamian, cha and nan. Some tourists like us, and most surprisingly the same Israeli couple met in Altyn Arashan, Kyrgyzstan.

The day started on an unusual note. We woke up 2 hours earlier being on Beijing time instead of the Xinjiang one. The taxi took us into a strange place at 4H00 am with a special fauna of late sleepers and early risers come to eat shashlik and a cup of cha. In any case it was the second error of the day.

Uyghur and Chinese names are different and all taxi drivers are Uyghur.

After a long siesta to catch up the lost sleep, we gave the night bazaar a second chance. It was lively and somehow retained the local authenticity. Over 80% of the city is still Uyghur and this has not been erased by the Han Chinese. Shashlik smoke fill the air everywhere, melon vendors cut and sell their fruit by the slice, women sit around the ice grater to drink coloured lemonade and crushed ice. Huge lake fish are cut to mouth size bites and are offered crispy fried. Large soups with head of animals soaking for hours to water the lamian in delicious (!) broths, steaming mutton dumplings in their bamboo baskets. In between these food stalls, the dentist celebrates his profession with white teeth arrangements.

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