Journey to Xinjiang, 2001

In late August 2001, I boarded a plane at Hongqiao airport in Shanghai and flew to Urumqi. Riding in on the airport bus, I decided to jump off randomly in the center of the city and make my way by foot to the Hilton. Typically I would stay at a cheap guesthouse, but Dru Gladney said he was staying there that night and I wanted to talk to him about the possibility of creating a gazetteer of Uighur placenames. What an interesting place Urumqi was! After checking in and failing to find Dru, I took a camera and a notebook and started wandering the streets. Walking south I eventually found a large botanical park, fronted by a very large nursery selling plants and clay pots of every description. After wandering back through the center of the town to the Xinhua Bookstore, where I purchased my usual pile of maps and atlases, I decided to try a roast mutton stand that caught my eye earlier in the day. The place turned out to be well worth the extra hike, and I feasted on a platter of roast mutton and fresh baked Central Asian round-bread with sesame. The fellow outside carving the lamb carcasses and tending the grill was a good sport about letting me take his picture hard at work.


need to know basis

dvorak has done some homework for us on what we need to know in the 21st century. thanks dvo!