I can’t have a feature called what I learned in China, because this has been done. But the Silk Road or rather the province of Xinjiang differs greatly from the rest anyway. Even though the Han Chinese make headway into the Muslim culture and try to cover it all up, the region is still unique in some ways. So here is what I learned on the Silk Road, for earlier on “What I learned in” posts click here and here:
1.) Most motorized vehicles run on petrol and natural gas. They have actually two tanks. Apparently this is only done in the province of Xinjiang since the natural gas comes from here and is cheaper than oil. You can switch between the two tanks while driving.
2.) While fueling at a gas station all passengers have to exit the car before the actual station and wait outside. It’s cheap but it doesn’t appear to be safe!
3.) Reed not only grows around lakes as in Austria but is used as a measure to keep the desert from growing.
4.) When you are unhappy with a guide it is neither enough to tell the guide nor to tell his boss. You have to actually insist on another guide otherwise it is a waste of time and money.
5.) Don’t wander around the desert during the night, just pee behind your tent.
6.) There would be no exploration without Chinese scientists. Everyone who came before them was just a worrisome meddler (so or in similar words written in the museum in Hotan).
7.) I know that I know nothing. There have been cultures on this earth I haven’t even heard about.
8.) Pasta (or laghman) is great but after a couple of days I just wanted to eat some rice! Who would have thought?
9.) Camping is still not my thing!
10.) Veganism can be interpreted quite flexible. Vegetarianism apparently not.
11.) A sandstorm is as annoying as a snowstorm. The whole visible world stands still.
12.) While traveling I had the feeling that we didn’t see anything on this trip but later I realized that I got introduced to a totally new world (thank God for Lonely Planet for additional guiding and Babsi for bringing it along).
13.) You can grow grapes just to make raisins. What an interesting concept for us Austrians.