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Just a freight train coming your way

How to explain crossword puzzles to a Chinese ?

From Kashgar we took the night train to Turpan, almost 1,500 kilometers away. Night train means there are beds, not that you only travel during the night: our trip took 22 hours. We found the scenery a bit boring, and the entertainment (Chinese people wondering how crossword puzzles work and the restaurant in the train) was scarce. We decided not to take the Trans-Siberian Express. Ever.

Dinner in the train

Turpan walkways

Turpan is considered the hottest city in China, in more than one aspect. First, temperatures can easily reach 40oC in Summer - or higher. This has something to do with the city's location - in the Taklamakan desert and almost 100 meters below sea level.

Statue with grapes

Second, Turpan is close to the Chinese nuclear testing area in the Taklamakan desert. Many Chinese nuclear bombs detonated no more than 150 kilometers from Turpan.

You can see that when you look at the GoogleEarth Nuclear test sites placemark (you must have GoogleEarth installed to view this file). It must be interesting to take a Geiger counter to Turpan.

Nuclear test sites near Turpan

After work, Turpan's locals enjoy playing games.

Playing a game


Hmmm ... dinner At the bazaar, it's easy to see what's the most famous product of Turpan: grapes Turpan's grapes taste wonderful. This is also a wine producing region, but no one in our group dared to taste the wine. The memories of the horrible Uzbek wine someone bought still hadn't faded away.

Snooker tables

Jiaohe Gucheng ruins

Close to Turpan are the Jiaohe Gucheng ruins. This is an ancient Uygur city, that reminds us a bit of Bam in Iran (before the earthquake). Like Bam, Jiaohe Gucheng is made from clay, mixed with straw and "other organic materials".

Three girls at Jiaohe Gucheng

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