Summer 2018

十一号:Sweat Central, Also Known as Nanjing

I don't like Nanjing. Never mind the fact that on both of my visits, dorm A/C has been either ineffectual or non-existent. Nanjing is a part of the world where good A/C is very important, or at least it is in the Summer. What in Shanghai is mostly-bearable musk becomes full-on sweat-drenching in the former capital (Beijing and Nanjing are two respectively Northern and Southern sides of the same coin, so to speak). (more…)

By TJC, ago
Summer 2018

十号:Shanghai, for the Fourth Time

I like Shanghai. It’s almost always slightly damp; in the Winter it reminds me of the UK (only warmer), and in the Summer there is occasional rain to take the edge off the heat. Failing that, there’s always A/C. It’s busy and it’s vast but there’s a metro station almost every other street corner, and any shop imaginable will be somewhere, if not where you expect. (more…)

By TJC, ago
Summer 2018

八号:A Fort-full Day in Jiayuguan

Jiayuguan glided into view with the abrupt bark of a particularly terse train attendant, and we scurried into the early morning. A taxi driver tried it on with us but at his prices I’d honestly rather have walked; after collecting train tickets we caught a bus in search of breakfast. (more…)

By TJC, ago
Summer 2018

七号:Into Tur(frying)pan, and Into the Fire

I once said that Turpan was akin to living inside a pizza oven, and my most recent visit has only served to strengthen this particular belief. The sweltering climate's only relief is its low humidity, but the urban legends about eggs boiling themselves on the ground don't come from nothing, that's all I'm saying. Worst for me is the fact that the Sun is a few hours behind the times (Beijing time, to be precise), so 2-5pm is actually the hottest period, when the Sun reaches its zenith. This means that it doesn't start to cool off until very late at night - something my confused body simply cannot cope with. (more…)

By TJC, ago
Summer 2018

六号:In Which a Karamay Boy Comes Home

The skyline sidled in much larger on the horizon than I remembered. My travelling-home-to-Karamay song, The Lion’s Roar, came on shuffle as we pulled in - fate? - and I noticed that the city really has expanded to (nearly) reach the distant station. I’d always had my doubts but it’s only a matter of a few blocks now. Our hotel was actually one of those new developments, albeit closer to Karamay proper. (more…)

By TJC, ago
5 Things

5 Things to Prepare You for Xinjiang

  1. SWAT teams are your friends No, really. If your papers are in order and you’re not doing anything wrong, they’re there to protect you as much as anyone else. Coming from the UK, I find it unnerving and intimidating when faced with armed police - but I also understand that I am lucky enough to be in a position where I will not be targeted beyond the occasional micro-aggression with which any foreigner in China will be familiar. Once you get past that, the police presence is actually weirdly reassuring. Who on Earth would mug you in front of a policeman?!
  2. (more…)

By TJC, ago