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vbx000 Turpan - A travel report by Veronica
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Turpan,  China - flag China -  Xinjiang
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vbx000's travel reports

Kazaks at Tian Chi & Uygur Village Stay

  16 votes
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Our 2nd & 3rd day along the Silk Road was spent camping with the Kazaks than staying with the people at a local Uygur village. Both experiences were incredible.


Small oasis before we reached Tian Chi.
Small oasis before we reached Tian Chi.
The Kazaks are a mixed decent of Turkish peoples and Mongolian nomads of the steppes. Historically they were a fierce people that raided that often raided the trade village outposts along the Silk Road and ruled the route from horseback. Today they are still mostly nomadic and spend the warmer months at Tian Chi (Heavenly Lake) surronded by Tian Shan (Heavenly Mountains). I loved this portion of our trip, partly because I enjoyed the people and scenary and partly because I was surronded by horses.

Favourite spots:
Tian Chi... absolutely beautiful!
Tian Chi... absolutely beautiful!
Tian Chi is a beautiful lake in the middle of the Heavenly Mountains. The Kazaks live in traditional tents in the mountainside while they care of their herd. We hiked around the lake, explored the upper mountain region, and ate dinner and partied with the Kazaks. They were great hosts, told us stories, answered our many (sometimes politically sensitive questions) and explained what life was like to be a Kazak. These little Kazak children were constantly running around us and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to have Tian Chi as your back yard and playground!

What's really great:
I feel like a badass but that bridge is only like 4 feet above ground...
I feel like a badass but that bridge is only like 4 feet above ground...
After our afternoon and night at Tian Chi we spent a night at a local Uygur village outside of Turpan. I didn't really like Turpan itself, it was quite boring and uneventful so I'm going to focus instead on these two experienes. If you want to know the ins and outs of Turpan, read Lonely Planet because last time I gave an angry opinion I got yelled at. So, read the optimistic Lonely Planet.

Sights:
First glimpse of horselife...
First glimpse of horselife...
Well, I mean, we didn't really see anything except the absolutely gorgeous Heavenly Lake and Mountain! It was just beautiful. That night there was a full moon that was so bright it lit up the entire lake. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures because I suck big time. But, the image is imprinted in my mind as second most beautiful to Tibet. I was really a huge fan of Tian Chi.

In the village it was mostly centered around the wedding. So, we saw a wedding.

Accommodations:
Watering His Mounts
Watering His Mounts
At Tian Chi we stayed in their traditional yurts. They weren't exactly warm but I slept well regardless.

In the village all of the girls piled into one big room and slept on blankets on the floor. Despite threats of scorpions it was one of the best nights of the trip.

Nightlife:
Our Home for the Night.
Our Home for the Night.
At the local village there was a wedding. We were really lucky to be there on a night of an actual event instead of having them re-create one for us. The wedding was fun to watch, and we danced with the locals.

Uygurs dance a lot like my Chaldean relatives, but a little bit more exotic looking I think. They step lightly and move only their arms and shoulders. It's really interesting to watch, and definitely nothing like our college level uhh booty shaking. I've never seen dancing with just ones shoulders and arms, it's beautiful and different. We tried but we can't help but shake our hips as we dance, I just don't know how they do it!

Hangouts:
My favorite picture from Tian Chi. Look at the character just outlined in their bodies and horses.
My favorite picture from Tian Chi. Look at the character just outlined in their bodies and horses.
No pubs! No drinking! Rawr!

I don't really know what kind of rule that is because I was taken to a dinner with Uygurs for my Peoples of China sociology class and during that dinner the old Uygur men pressured me into 6 shots of bijiu (Chinese rice wine that tastes like pure rubbing alcohol) and themselves took at least triple as many! So, I don't really know the difference between the dry Urumqi and Turpan but the very very wet Uygur dinner where I left sloppy drunk and feeling like death in the morning.

If any of you have spent any time in China, you know that once you accept one shot of Bijiu it just keeps coming and all the begging and pleading in the world doesn't stop that awful liquid from flowing.

They stopped when I put my hoodie hood (haha) over my head and hid under the table. I'm serious, I did that. Shut up... you do 6 shots of bijiu.

Restaurants:
A Herd Passes Through Our Camp
A Herd Passes Through Our Camp
All local food. At Tian Chi they roasted three lambs (can you say lambs?) for us. It was deilicous. Fresh roasted lamb is the way to go. Mmm... that was so good. And we had fruit. It wasn't really well balanced but who needs welll balanced when you have meat? I'm such a carnivore.

At the village we had a huge meal of bread, fruit, and soup with beans and meat. That doesn't sound as huge but afterwards we were all completely stuffed for some reason. Probably the bread and soup. the soup reminded me of my grandma's bean, ham and potatoe soup but instead was bean, potatoe and lamb. Lamb is better than ham anyway. It was good.

Nothing is better than my grandma's soup though. Nothing.

Other recommendations:
Our Greeting Upon Arrival at the Village. haha
Our Greeting Upon Arrival at the Village. haha
Although, good story, at the wedding we were all sitting on this platform with the locals watching the bride and groom dance when suddenly a woman stood up, hit her child over the head repeatedly, people screamed and everyone managed to jump off the platform at the same time even though few knew why.

Apparently, a scorpion had crawled onto the childs head while some of our students were giving her a piece of candy. They saw, screamed, the mom or grandma saw and slapped it off the childs head onto the platform. Everyone moved like a wave away from the deadly creature. One of our manly boys smashed it to bits with his shoe.

We all feared scorpion attacks while we slept.

Published on Monday November 7th, 2005


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Tue, Nov 08 2005 - 03:25 PM rating by jesusferro

Excrellent!

Tue, Nov 08 2005 - 04:35 AM rating by rangutan

Wonderful!

Tue, Nov 08 2005 - 12:08 AM rating by eirekay

Veronica - GREAT report. Camping/backpacking is my favorite way to see anything!
Eire

Mon, Nov 07 2005 - 07:48 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Wow! what an energy and good writing!

Mon, Nov 07 2005 - 05:44 PM rating by isaacmolina

Ni heng piaoliang.
Ching, lai Shipania

Mon, Nov 07 2005 - 01:55 PM rating by bear495

Very nicely written.

Russ

Mon, Nov 07 2005 - 01:48 PM rating by davidx

How can I get on with anything else when you keep posting things as good as this?

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