I have by now gotten out of the LBB Bar in Ningbo (though I was a frequent visitor up until I left on Sunday).
My time in Ningbo and Zhoushan was excellent. Not very historic…well, I did see a Buddha painted on a mountain wall, but I got to hangout with Jacob and his interesting collection of Canadian, American and Chinese friends. We drank a lot of beer, ate interesting and top notch food and had a really good time. Highlights included, coming dirty and ragged into the best hotel in Ningbo to eat breakfast after an entire night of drinking, pub crawling and swimming in the water reservoir. I figured they would throw us on our asses out, but oh no, they were happy to see our cash I guess. I can promise that the buss ride and consequent flight to Urumqi right after that breakfast was less than ideal, but at least I slept soundly.
When I got to Urumqi I pretty much made it straight for Heavens Lake where I made a trek around the lake and slept in a local Kazak Yurt(best described as a more permanent tent, that they pack down in the winter when they move) away from where sight-seers go. Now this sounds nice, but the walk was a bit strained because I had gotten a “funky”stomach after eating “interesting” food the night before in Urumqi. So it involved walking happily forward, stopping and rushing back to the tourist area to enjoy the facilities. I can thank a generous Chinese man for tissues … which the toilets didn’t have… After spending a quiet afternoon and evening, journaling and soaking in the views next to the yurt my stomach settled and things were good again. I then spent the next day hiking around in the mountains, getting good exercise and enjoying the fantastic views.
Now I have finally reached what feels like a city on the old old silk road that Marco Polo travelled. Kashgar is far removed from Shanghai,both in look and feel. The signs here are in both Chinese and Arabic,so either way I’m screwed. I’m communicating fine though with a happy mixture of sign language, facial expressions, gesticulations and sounds(which I excel at) if they don’t understand me they usually still get a good laugh from it. I’ve teamed up with an American (“definitely”X-CIA)and an Israeli couple (I of course suspect them for being in the Mossad) and together we’re planning to get up to the Pakistani border area to head into the Kashmir mountain area. I really wanted to go to the K2 base camp, but a price of Y17,000 ($2000) makes it a bit prohibitive. Doing it on a tight time frame wouldn’t be smart anyway,due to altitude sickness. The area we’re heading into is still high(averaging 4-6000 meters) with two of the peaks exceeding 7500 meters,so we’ll be high up. It should be fun. When we get back from that I want to rent a camel and head into the Taklimakan desert for a nice sleep under the stars.
Found out that my hotel which has an “authentic” feel to it is apparently better than the one across the street where an American (it’s always an American that does something stupid) got stung by a scorpion three days ago and nearly had to amputate his foot to survive,so I’m stepping a bit carefully now you could definitely say!
Now I’m off to explore the old town, the bazaar, the mosque and a few tombs. Tomorrow we’re heading off to see if we can’t find Osama and claim the reward!
All is well and I’m having a fantastic time. A big thank you to those of you that sent me a few lines. I really appreciate it, even if I haven’t answered you: Internet is stone-age slow and I’d rather be out exploring! Indiana Jones eat your heart out!