After leaving Tuyuk village we drove to the Emin Minaret. The minaret is actually the tallest in all of China with its 44m. Before entering the mosque though we had some watermelon at the only restaurant next to it. The driver and Omar were already hungry and didn’t want to wait as long as yesterday. It was the perfect snack before touring the small mosque.
There was not much to see except a wonderful tower which was exquisitely designed and carved. The mosque looked stark in its simplicity especially compared to the tower and in the background was a small cemetery with the usual unmarked graves for this area. The different formes and shapes on top just indicate if there was a man, woman or child underneath. But the family has to know exactly where they buried their relative.
After the mosque we went for lunch in Turpan. The watermelon snack was before was good but no enough to sustain us the whole day. I had again hand-pulled noodles with meat and vegetables and my two veggies (vegan and vegetarian) had the meatless version. Still think mine looks way more inviting.
Our final tour program of the day was Yar City which lies on a terrace which formed between two river beds. It was inhabited from the 1st century BC until the 14th and is today a Unesco World Heritage site. All the houses were made of rock and clay, no bricks used. Amazing what withstood time and weather and what you can still see. All houses had rooms underground probably to be better protected from the heat. With a bit of imagination we could see how it might have looked. But we also saw workers fixing stuff behind a roped of area. So as usual I was not sure how much of what we saw was still original and how much was Chinese restoration. Wonderful as always were the small details like the speakers in the exact same sand color looking as if they were part of the scenery. The Chinese are nothing if not creative in this area.
Eventually we left and drove back to Urumqi. On the way back we passed again the snow-capped mountains only this time the weather was better and the picture actually turned out nice. Also there were fields of wind turbines along the way, very impressive to see so many at once.
In Urumqi we checked again into the Tumaris Hotel, this time with a little problem until we were happy with the room (the noise, the smell! A long story that doesn’t get better with telling it again but let’s say the hotel accommodated to our wishes).
We had time for a short visit to the bazar (already closed and not much to see) and also for a restaurant visit where I had again noodles with meat. This time glass noodles though. Still I was starting to be really tired of noodles. Maybe because the sauce always tasted the same. Sylvia meanwhile had fruit salad with yogurt and Babsi, the quota-vegan helped her eat. Once they had polished it off, Babsi said she felt sick because yogurt didn’t become her. I delicately pointed out to her that as a vegan she was not supposed to eat it in the first place. Still laugh when I think about that.
Back at the hotel it was off to bed since the next day we were picked up at 5:30. Yours, Pollybert