We started early with an awful breakfast (really it can’t get more disappointing) and the information that our diplomat was not allowed to reside in Hotel 8. Either China wants diplomats to have certain standards when they travel or the hotel needs to have surveillance equipment. Hotel 8 clearly lacked both, they had no standard regarding the breakfast.
So upon Patty’s arrival we had to go back to the room, pack up and move out. But traveling with a diplomat has also advantages because now we checked in to the Chinibagh Hotel, the former British consulate. Of course knowing the Chinese the hotel is just a slab of concrete on the former garden grounds while the actual former consulate is dwarfed in the back of it and now houses a Chinese restaurant (but can’t complain about that because they serve decent beer in this otherwise relatively ‘dry’ city).
After leaving our bags we headed to the animal market, called Sunday market and for which Kashgar is known. The market is now held actually 10km outside of the city. Traffic had gotten so bad that they had to move it outside. Once we saw how and with which animals they arrived all was clear. The market area was huge with all kinds animals including sheep, horses, donkeys and cows. The animals looked well treated, got groomed before being sold and got an extra portion of love when needed. The food, that was sold from small stalls, looked super enticing especially after the forgettable breakfast. Most of the animals were alive which was especially comforting to my two animal lovers.
From there we drove to the Afaq Khoja Mausoleum (or fragrant concubine tomb) which is the holiest site in all of Muslim Xinjiang. The mausoleum was located in a garden of roses and the building itself was beautiful with mosaic work outside and chiseled wood work on the door. The inside contained the coffins of five generations of the Khoja family including the one of fragrant concubine (a tragic tale). In the front garden we also saw the healthiest camel in all of Xinjiang especially compared to the mangy animals we were riding on. The obligatory mosque at such a holy site must have been wonderful in its original condition, but of course after a renovation (probably with Chinese help) the famed columns lost their luster. Originally each one of them had a different pattern, now just a couple in front looked different, the rest was painted in one color. Yours, Pollybert