Friday, July 13, 2007

Where and What is Urumqi?

Urumqi is my entry point into Western China (pronounced Wu-lu-mun-kh). It is a city with 1.2 million residents, located 200k from the Kazahkstani border in central asia.
My first impression upon my arrival at the airport late last night was - am i the only westerner in Western CHina. No one tried to sell me anything, even the taxi guys were quiet (i guess they were lost for 'english' words). I have since found a few westerners, which was quite a relief. When around the locals i just keep my mouth shut, which is a challenge for me, but was suggested by Nana before i left (thanks Nana).
People do everything very late here, its wierd. Last night there were families everywhere at 1am, I even had dinner with one family. They also eat rabbit heads here, whats up with that.
The few people that can speak english (mainly students), are very friendly towards me. They want to practice. So that has been quite helpful, i can teach them how to give me directions in english. Everyone else looks at me funny, as though they're thinking - what the hll are you doing here? On the way to the lake pictured above (read below), people in the small villages were yelling out 'hello' to me as we drove past in the shtty bus. These villagers live in mongolian style tents, called Yurts. I'll be sleeping in a couple of these types of villages over the next week.
I went running up to the pictured lake today. Its called the heavenly lake. Unfortunately what is missing from this photo are the two 5000 metre peaks in the background, which are doused in cloud. The lake is at 2000 metres, so as you can imagine, the peaks would usually look pretty spectacular, maybe even heavenly. It was a mild 18 degrees up there, which made a nice change to 30 plus degrees in Beijing and Urumqi (which is nasty when combined with suffocating smog).
Tommorow i'm heading to Kashgar, in far Western China. From there i will be hitting the Himalayan/Karakoram mountain range. excellent.
Thats all from me, its time for my standard meal - egg fried rice. I'm a sucker for monotonous food choice.


Mum and Dad said...

Hi J what a beautifull place to go for a run. I will pass on that message for nana. I didn't think you would try the rabbit head, egg frid rice sounds safe Go safely .
Love Mum

Tee said...

Bet you're hanging out for baked beans and weet-bix.

Go well, young man.


Melanie said...

Yo Jase,
Thought I'd check this out and see what you've been up to - I'm still at work, boo. All sounds amazing..not too many surprises in there either (apart from rabbit head??). Still think you're crazy!! Be safe.

j-dogz mum said...

Ni chi fan le ma? Have you eaten rice today? China is renowned for it's variety of cuisines. The Sichuan/Szechuan provinces doubly so and you will only eat egg fried rice - peasant. At least try their renowned tea smoked duck (zhāngchá yā). Or ask where to buy baked beans.

Kate said...

Hey Jase! I've had fun reading your blog today. Sounds like you are having an interesting time alright! I started work yesterday. I miss being able to turn around and say stupid stuff to you. Here I need to be sensible. At least for the first week. Keep having fun!

Nat said...

Hey Jase, Great to see you already look like you havent showered in a month! Im in NZ at the mo bloody cold over here although its cold in Sydney too. I hope you are having a great time, have a drink for me at in every place you visit dont worry you dont have to drink rum :) Have fun and be safe Love Nat

Brian and Lynn said...

Great to read your story Jason.
It will be a great book one day.
Enjoying the read so far.
Brian and Lynn

Mum and Dad said...

Glad to hear you are in Karimabad. Looking forward to some good photos. Nice to have you back on the map.

Love Mum