Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Osh to Kashgar

Well guys, here we are right in the middle of the silk road. Very different from everywhere else we've been, lots of big markets and high mountains out here. Our drive down to Osh was a very scenic, but dusty, 12 hrs ending with a fight with our taxi driver in Osh. I told you taxis were evil.....
Osh is within spitting distance of the Uzbekistan border so the population is a mix and there is lots of trade between them. Osh has one of the largest markets around, stretching for over 1 km along the river. Equally impressive is its 2000 year trading history. There is a very strong muslim influence in this area as well with numerous mosques and much more conservative dress codes, despite it being in the mid 30s or more during the day. The girls were not too thrilled about "covering up".
The road from Osh to Kashgar in the far west of China is very beautiful with numerous mountain passes to climb and great views of the Pamir mtn range in Tajikistan. At 7000+ meters these are by far the tallest mountains I've ever seen. For now.... Unfortunately the road on the Kyrgyz side is horrible and the girls were really sick that day to start with. We had to overnight at the border in Irkeshtam. I can only describe it as trucker's purgatory. The border only open a few hours a day and nothing to do but wait and nothing around but dust, more dust and huge trucks carrying scrap metal across the border. This border is by far the most messed up I've crossed. I don't know what system they think they are on but we must've passed a dozen passport checks in a stretch of 7 km, each time with them recording our info. Sometimes we'd only walk a few feet before they'd do it again! As there is no other transport crossing the border and the border posts are 7 km apart, the border guards force the truck drivers to drive us backpackers in between. Anyway, weird but very scenic anyway.
We are now sitting in Kashgar. Haven't seen anything of the town yet but've seen enough to say that the government has obviously poured tons of money into this area recently and that it is nice to be somewhere organized again, even if all the noise and people were a bit overwhelming at first. Don't know that you can really call it China out here though. There is a huge muslim presence and the chinese are almost a minority. Signs are even written in Chinese and what looks like Arabic script though I'm not sure what language it is.
As an interesting side note, even though China is the 3rd largest country in the world it is all on 1 time zone. I guess Beijing doesn't want to deal with it but the land itself stretches through what should be 4 I guess. Needless to say, way out here in the west the time makes no sense so they operate on an unofficial time 2 hrs behind Beijing. This can be a little confusing as officially things are still on Beijing time and it is easy to miss buses and trains if you aren't sure which time people are talking about.
I feel perfect but the girls are still sick so we will just sit here until our health is no longer an issue. I guess Kyrgyzstan didn't agree with their stomachs.... With it being the end of summer all the Chinese are heading back to university so there is a problem getting transport out of here anyway until next week. Oh well, we'll be lazy then for a while. China is definately the cheapest country we've been to so far.


At 1:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ammon, make sure they keep drinking, and not just water.
1L fresh water
+ 1 teaspoon salt
+ 20 grams of sugar

or 175ml Orange Juice
or 125 ml Pureed Rice (congi)

it is the rehydration formula from W.H.O.No solids until 24hrs after last Vomit.

And write me if you need
Concern, Love, and Bear Hugs

At 9:57 PM , Blogger Dawn said...

I just looked at your photos guys!! awsome!

At 10:45 AM , Blogger Sandra said...

I'm happy that you guys are enjoying life so much (beach, sunshine, horses) pictures from you guys uplift me to strive on. I too long for the days when I can fly freely seeing the beauty of this world with mine own eyes......I am glad that I get into
the International Health Development program which allows me to travel while doing courses. I know the day for my first mission trip won't be too far,
but I just can't wait at this point. Miss you much!
Luv always,
P.S. Hope the girls are doing better at this point. I miss talking to you girls.


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