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
Summer 2018

五号:Up the Fukang Mountain Again (Ürümqi)

(Alternative title: Fukang the Polis) Much of the rest of Ürümqi was just as I remembered, including the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), although weirdly they’re more relaxed now than before (they don’t confiscate water any more). I rather enjoyed the gentle familiarity of it as we drove into the city 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