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We are in Urumqi since the afternoon. Just another Chinese city without any soul, with no identity. Being on the Silk Road is just something in a distant past with no relation whatsoever with the office towers, shopping malls, highways. We visited the Xinjiang museum which is quite well designed with its highlight the Loulan beauty 3800 years old European mummy found near the Taklimakan museum. Unexplained presence of Europeans in this area.

We jumped from all writings in Russian and Kyrgyz to Chinese and Arabic. Quite a change, especially after 2 months trying hard to read Cyrillic letters.

Urumqi Night Market58

Friday night in Urumqi! Quite a sight! Large open air square where they all come to eat al fresco. Every thing is being cooked, shell fish, all kinds of fish and seafood, kebabs of all meats and vegetables. Noodles being cut by blades and swirled into the steaming soup. Thin pastry swirled thin to the right thickness and then grilled with all kinds of fillings. Shellfish fried into flaming woks and dipped in several sauces before the final spices are sprinkled over. All in loud cries, smoke and laughter. I am reconciled with Urumqi. It may have lost its identity in its new construction clothes but not its soul. It is amazing how a few km away from the ‘stans how all is so different. Food here is an art, a refinement which takes every simple central Asian dish to unknown and unexplored heights.


We decided to skip breakfast tomorrow and go directly to brunch before Kashgar.

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