Friday, March 14, 2014

China, Kashgar and The Uyghur People

     It took us almost two full days in Osh to figure our where, when and how to take the bus to Kashgar. After arriving at the burned out, abandoned and apoctolyptic "new" bus station, we were still a little worried. Slowly, the bus filled, including three little old ladies who we suspected were smuggling heroin inside their candy boxes. Eleven of us borded the "sleeper" cab and we were off at around 10pm. 
      The journey took us 25 hours, 12 of which we spent driving. The other 13 hours we spent enduring childish beratings, searches, and endless waiting all at the hands of the chinese military. The border patrol were particularly interested in Deb's feminine hygiene products, all the heroin the little old Uzbek ladies were carrying, and my Black Diamond snow saw.
       Somehow, we made it to a bed in Kashgar by sleeptime and were ready to check out town in the morning. The cultural/political situation in Xinjiang is similiar to Tibet, though much less publicized. The Uyghur people,their religion and culture are literally and figuratively being bulldozed, over-run and buried by the Han Chinese.

Uyghur man at the Kashgar Bazaar

      The Uyghurs, however, are not going down without a fight. What is seen by the outside world as terrorism, and billed by the Chinese as such, as well, are the last desperate breaths of a people fighting an un-winable war. Sad.
Hot peppers in the market

      Kashgar is crazy. One side of the street is crumbling mud hovels with thriving and lively street markets while across the boulevard are three story malls filled with plastic goods, giant plasmatron TV billboards and 20 floor cement tenament buildings. Deb and I enjoyed jumping back and forth, sport shopping and being the only tourists in a huge melting pot as we preprared our own goods for a trip to the mountain village of Subashi and Mustagh-Ata . . . without our skis. But that's another story.
Cultural graveyard with Ferris Wheel in background.

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