We arrived back at the hotel where we had a discussion if we get a room to take a shower. Patty apparently had kept his and offered graciously to share it with us. But the sandstorm and the change in our itinerary was already two days ago and the minimum one can expect from the guide is that he takes different circumstances into account and arranges the necessities. And a shower after a night in the Taklamakan desert was a necessity.
Since our first visit to the jade market (which wasn’t even the real one as it turned out but just one shop) wasn’t successful we tried again. We drove there and found out that it was closed on a Saturday or because it was a holiday or for whatever reason. The point is we went there on a guided tour and our guide Patty hadn’t made sure that it was open.
Next stop then was the Hotan Cultural Museum where we saw two mummies and an old wooden casket. They had also other interesting pieces on display but of course compared to the museum in Urumqi the collection was small and also not so well maintained.
After touring the museum we left Hotan behind us and finally started on our way to Kashgar which is more than 400km away. After a short ride we made our first stop at a mulberry paper making place. Manufacturing paper in this way is recognized as cultural heritage by the Unesco. It is also called the living fossil since it is done the same way since 3000 years.
What I noticed too was that we saw only the children working while the man of the house only showed up to explain the mechanics behind the paper making process. The actual work was done by children which should have been in school (okay, maybe not on the Saturday). He also manned the shop where I bought a tool to make lots of holes at the same time in a common pastry (all products were done by locals). It was interesting nevertheless how the mulberry branches were peeled, then these mixed with water and mashed by hand and then this pulp spread in a frame.
Then it was time for lunch and we ordered something with rice. I had noodles for days on end and we just needed something different. It was still rice with the same sauce but it was at least rice. While eating lunch we had company of two girls who looked at our plates like two starving little birds.
It was good that I didn’t share my plate (and actually don’t ever do that, it’s really offending) because we were driving forever and then some. In between police checks and passport controls where we had to leave the car. And everywhere lots of tree planting going on to keep the desert at bay.
Finally there was something else to see again, the beautiful Jama mosque from the 14th century in Kargilik. It is the largest one in China and apparently it’s dangerous being the Imam there (in 2014 the Imam was assassinated).
The inside was beautiful, all open area and painted in bright colors. The court-yard was lush and green from all the trees which also provide necessary shade during the hot summer months. Our trip to Kashgar was not at the end though. We still had many more hours to drive. But more on this in another post. Yours, Pollybert