We spent our last evening in Kashgar with a local Uyghur family. Or maybe that sounds like a bit much. We were actually invited for dinner but only met the family at the entrance door. Then they left us pretty much alone with our guide Patty and the driver and the woman of the household who served us.
I had no expectations and no notion on what was to come. The look behind local life that we had got in Tuyuk had been already more than enough for me. But the dinner was part of the guided tour so off we went. In the lobby of our hotel we met Abdul the owner of the agency who apologized for the non-existing guiding of his brother Patty with a doppa (a prayer hat for men) for each of us. In a way it looks quite stylish, still not sure though with which outfit I will be wearing it.
Before we arrived we got clear instructions on how the greeting ceremony worked. When you enter a Muslim household you have to greet the host with as-salamu alaykum, then wash your hands three times, and without shaking the water off just dry your hands in the prepared towel. Of course the first thing I did after I had washed my hands was shaking the excess water off. Since I have seen a TED talk on how to use a paper towel with maximum efficiency, I am always doing it. It’s automatic and just because someone tells me three minutes before that it is impolite doesn’t change something which is so ingrained in me already. So what to do? I washed my hands right away again and didn’t shake the water off. All was well, luck would stay a while longer in this Uyghur household.
And then we walked into candy land. The room was held in pastel colors. And not just one but a whole range of colors. It was an overkill on the eye but in an awesome way. The real overkill came from a totally different side. Because once I looked down on the table I had to ask myself who else was invited this evening? The dining table was full with dishes, so full that there was almost no room for the dinner that got served.
We sat down and started to make headway into the bowls that were spread around the tables. From fried noodles, to bread, fresh fruits, all kinds of nuts including apricot seeds (so yummy), candied nuts, candies, chocolate, raisins and jelly this table offered something for everyone.
The food we got there was amazing the best I had all week in the Xinjiang. We had tried all the dishes already in one form or another but this time they were home-made and tasted perfect. First chuchura soup, then laghman and the polo with tasted heavenly. Our hostess Vishadam was so friendly and affectionate that even though we couldn’t speak with her due to the language barrier we felt right at home.
Even if dinner was the most amazing affair we didn’t linger. Once the watermelons were eaten, we left. I think our guide Patty had enough of us and wanted to just finish with this tour. We said our goodbyes in front of the hotel and after four exhausting days with him we were on our own again.
We decided on a beer in the nearby Chinese restaurant (the former British consulate) and celebrated our last evening together (and my upcoming birthday). Especially in a Muslim province, Chinese restaurants and shops are very popular with tourists. Otherwise a good night beer would be hard to come by.
Sylvia as usual didn’t drink, maybe that was the reason why she was the only one who felt the earthquake which shook our hotel that night. Babsi and I didn’t even hear her telling us about it right after. And anyway one earthquake with Sylvia is enough for a lifetime. Yours, Pollybert