A major crossroad on the Silk Road, Urumqi is the main city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.
On the flight from Beijing to Urumqi, I had the pleasure of “chatting” with this young man using my Chinese phrase book. I simply pointed at the English phrase and he read the matching Chinese translation and vice versa!
A warm welcome at the airport.
I was absolutely astonished to discover this enormous metropolis in the middle of the desert.
Your cannot turn your head in China without seeing a huge construction project!
And heavily-polluting power plants, too. : (
All around China, you can expect your room to be impeccably clean, but the beds will be a bit firmer than you are used to.
Urumqi nightlife, outdoors!
Friendly bartenders serve all the Chinese and imported beer you want!
Making some Han Chinese friends.
A small world… This gentleman, who spoke English quite well, is a mechanical technician and has been to Nashville several times on business.
There were not a single public toilet servicing this enormous outdoor café, so I stepped into the movie theater (in the background) to do my business. I thought it only fair that I buy something, so I got some popcorn… an acquired taste, like cracker jacks with garlic powder!
Urumqi has a large [Muslim] Uyghur population that feels quite segregated from the Han neighborhoods.
Near the Grand Bazaar.
Uyghur gentlemen doing some people-watching.
Dinner at a Muslim restaurant. Unlike the rest of China, Lamb, rather than pork, is the main source of protein.
Due to the 2009 Urumqi Riots, a heavy police presence patrols the streets in the Uyghur neighborhoods, ready to suppress even the slightest hint of disorder.
But let’s leave Urumqi on a more uplifting note… How many Chinamen does it take to open the hotel safe?
Some delighful translation!
A gorgeous day trip to Heavenly Lake, just minutes away from the bone dry desert valley.