Mastodon Tag: Xinjiang | Yunchtime

Tag: Xinjiang


Journey to Xinjiang, 2001

In late August 2001, I boarded a plane at Hongqiao airport in Shanghai and flew to Urumqi. Riding in on the airport bus, I decided to jump off randomly in the center of the city and make my way by foot to the Hilton. Typically I would stay at a cheap guesthouse, but Dru Gladney said he was staying there that night and I wanted to talk to him about the possibility of creating a gazetteer of Uighur placenames. What an interesting place Urumqi was! After checking in and failing to find Dru, I took a camera and a notebook and started wandering the streets. Walking south I eventually found a large botanical park, fronted by a very large nursery selling plants and clay pots of every description. After wandering back through the center of the town to the Xinhua Bookstore, where I purchased my usual pile of maps and atlases, I decided to try a roast mutton stand that caught my eye earlier in the day. The place turned out to be well worth the extra hike, and I feasted on a platter of roast mutton and fresh baked Central Asian round-bread with sesame. The fellow outside carving the lamb carcasses and tending the grill was a good sport about letting me take his picture hard at work.