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The Longest Way http://www.thelongestway.com Christoph Rehage walks through China (雷克徒步中国) Tue, 16 Dec 2014 01:32:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 parting (for now) http://www.thelongestway.com/20120919/parting-for-now.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120919/parting-for-now.html#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:29:52 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10704 Day 427: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km Today was our last day in this beautiful part of the world. We got on a plane: And flew over the desert and the mountains. Parts of the land looked like the ones I had walked through before: Then we reached 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi). We came in low over the […]

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Day 427: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km

Today was our last day in this beautiful part of the world.

We got on a plane:

And flew over the desert and the mountains. Parts of the land looked like the ones I had walked through before:

Then we reached 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi).

We came in low over the city:

And we crossed the exact same road that I had walked down two years ago:

It had been a good summer that year.

And this year?

Maybe even better.

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Mountains”

-total: 5510,9km

9 comment(s) for this post:

  1. lorenzbott:
    10 Nov 2012 really fascinating to read your blog all those years. do you continue next year where you stopped this time? can't wait to see more of it....
  2. John:
    16 Nov 2012 What a loser! I can't believe this guy actually is allowed to exist on this planet! The second Hitler he is SO self centred. Grow up brother!
  3. Nico:
    16 Nov 2012 John, normally I would say that people like you do not deserve to get any attention, as all you seem to have learned, is trolling around. But you compared Christoph with Hitler for no clear reason. I am pretty sure that characters who feel as small and insignificant like you do and who try to compensate that by attacking others for their superior abilities, are more likely to become gruesome tyrants and mass murderers than anybody else. Hopefully you will find a good job soon, so that your self-confidence can grow. Maybe then you get an idea of how one has to behave properly. All the best, Nico
  4. Alfredo:
    29 Nov 2012 Christoph, I had not checked your blog for a few months. So cool you went to Hotan. I was there some twenty years ago. It was the furthest we got into Xinjiang; from there we got on a small propeller plane back to Urumqi. I remember it got very hot in the afternoons, and we found an ice-cream parlor that had vanilla ice-cream and an orange colored drink in big (750cl) glass bottles. We spent most of the afternoon holed up there. I had the idea then thatI ought to write a travel memoir ("The Ice-cream parlor at the end of the desert"), but I am not as good at these things as you are :-). It was harder to get out to the ruins then, and I did not get to see them. Too bad, because I like the desert, too, and there is a great book that Aurel Stein wrote about his discovery of these ruins, in 1901 or so, I believe - you end up feeling a connection to these places just through his writing, and it is even greater when you get to see them. Anyway, always great to hear from you!
  5. Jerry Ke:
    30 Nov 2012 Hey dude I just heard the interview news introduced you form radio in Taiwan, what a plan, Walking for a long distance, recorded what you see,it must be a amazing trip, Keep Walking,Take care
  6. Antony:
    01 Dec 2012 Hi Christoph, sounds like you have had some amazing adventures again on your travels but I must admit I have lost the plot, not mine but yours! Lol. I just checked your 'Plan' to see if it had been updated with a short summary of just what you are doing now exactly, please update if you find the time for us followers that can't quite keep up with you! Cheers
  7. Jens:
    22 Nov 2013 Fantastic !!!
  8. Jane:
    23 Dec 2013 It has been 5 years after your journey, but it is in this evening that I finish your book . I could not have known you, but now and in the future I will not loss you. Your are 「小流氓」, I am your reader. Best wishes! Marry Christmas!
  9. Christopher Shifflett:
    03 Apr 2014 I've been considering the equivalent to what you've done for years, now and have just now stumbled upon your story. It's always a massive inspiration to see others do it. What's up with people with the name Chris wanting to make a journey like that? haha first Chris McCandless, now you. Even more odd, you look a lot like myself. Anyway, in any event, I applaud ya, man. Take care, buddy.

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I was going to do the same thing in the air! http://www.thelongestway.com/20120918/i-was-going-to-do-the-same-thing-in-the-air.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120918/i-was-going-to-do-the-same-thing-in-the-air.html#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2012 14:51:16 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10692 Day 426: [和田 (Hotan)] = 0km The city wall of 和田 (Hotan) wasn’t very old: Only some parts of it were: It was weird to think that maybe this statue was older than the main gate of the city wall: (Note how tall the man on the right is compared to the other guy, lol.) […]

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Day 426: [和田 (Hotan)] = 0km

The city wall of 和田 (Hotan) wasn’t very old:

Only some parts of it were:

It was weird to think that maybe this statue was older than the main gate of the city wall:

(Note how tall the man on the right is compared to the other guy, lol.)

One of the local specialties of this place is 烤包子 (kaobaozi – baked lamb meat bun), but it is bigger here than in the places where I’d tried it before.

Much bigger:

You don’t just eat it like a bun, but you crack it open first:

It was a messy ordeal.

We took a cab out to the ruins of 玛利克瓦提 (Melikawat), some 20km South of the city:

What had been a local center of Buddhism lay now completely in ruins, much like 交河 (Jiaohe) and 高昌 (Gaochang) in Northern Xinjiang.

We weren’t really able to appreciate the ruins themselves:

But we liked the lizards:

And another thing about the ruins was interesting: they were right next to the 玉龙喀什河 (Yurungkash, or 白玉河 – “White Jade River”), one of the most renown places of jade production in China.

And still, people were trying to find the precious stones.

Large scale:

And small scale:

I told our taxi driver that I wanted to go dig out some jade of my own, but he told me to forget it. I would have to be a pro. Or extremely patient. Or extremely lucky.

Then there was the 核桃王 (hetaowang) – the “King of Walnuts”:

A very old and massive walnut tree.

We hung out in the grove for a while:

Then we went to into the desert:

The 塔克拉玛干 (Taklamakan) was right outside of the city:

So we walked around in it for a little while:

Squinting:

Shooting:

Those of you who have been with me all these years probably know how much I enjoy being in the desert.

And this one was particularly nice:

We had fun in the dunes:

And we filmed all of it – the sand, the wind and ourselves:

It was good.

Good to be here.

Good to have a friend with me.

Then we checked out the bazaar. It seemed a bit more interesting than that of 喀什 (Kashgar):

More messy:

More classy:

We went back to the night market while the other people were carrying home their goods:

And there, at the night market, we had one last epic meal.

Our last one in Xinjiang.

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Manowar”

-total: 5510,9km

4 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Alvininorge:
    09 Nov 2012 我在中国活了这么多年也没去过沙漠呢!
  2. Sarah Young:
    13 Nov 2012 Nice, wanna go there too...
  3. 1234:
    27 Apr 2013 The tall guy in the statue is Chairman Mao (more polite to refer to him in China as Chairman Mao rather than his full name, Mao Zedong) and he usually was taller than everyone else. He was a lot thinner during the Long March (for obvious reasons) but gained a bit of weight in his latter years.
  4. sunny:
    03 Jul 2013 I enjoy being in the desert also.

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dessert in the desert http://www.thelongestway.com/20120917/dessert-in-the-desert.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120917/dessert-in-the-desert.html#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2012 08:52:45 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10687 Day 425: [和田 (Hotan)] = 0km Yes, I know it’s a tacky title. Anyway… We took a train ride along the Southern rim of the Taklamakan desert today. From 喀什 (Kashgar) to 和田 (Hotan) in a bit more than 9 hours: Cup noodles in the hard sleeper compartment of a train: Excellent! When we reached […]

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Day 425: [和田 (Hotan)] = 0km

Yes, I know it’s a tacky title.

Anyway…

We took a train ride along the Southern rim of the Taklamakan desert today.

From 喀什 (Kashgar) to 和田 (Hotan) in a bit more than 9 hours:

Cup noodles in the hard sleeper compartment of a train:

Excellent!

When we reached 和田, it was already late:

People were dancing and playing ball on a public square:

Others were playing video games:

While others were having food:

We went for some more noodles:

Got some sort of walnut cake:

And then there was the SINGLE BEST dessert ever:

They just called it 粽子 (zongzi – a typical Chinese dish made of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves). But this one was different from all the other 粽子: the Uyghurs added a Chinese red date to it and some sort of yoghurt, then they topped it off with honey:

OMG I have no way of describing to just how TASTY this was!!

I had five servings.

Then we went home.

I could hardly walk.

Soundtrack: Nine Inch Nails – “14 Ghosts II”

-total: 5510,9km

2 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Elena:
    09 Nov 2012 You ate too much...Joyeux anniversaire!
  2. Tu H.:
    09 Nov 2012 Gosh, I want that dessert so bad :(.

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handprints http://www.thelongestway.com/20120916/handprints.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120916/handprints.html#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2012 11:16:50 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10679 Day 424: [喀什 (Kashgar)] = 0km There’s a livestock market here every sunday. Ok, some cows, some sheep, maybe a camel. No big deal, you would think. But certain travel guides have it listed as one of the BEST things to see in ALL of China. So we went to check it out: There were […]

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Day 424: [喀什 (Kashgar)] = 0km

There’s a livestock market here every sunday.
Ok, some cows, some sheep, maybe a camel. No big deal, you would think.
But certain travel guides have it listed as one of the BEST things to see in ALL of China.

So we went to check it out:

There were old dudes…

…making money:

Cows…

…in different forms:

Sheep…

…and tasty vegetables:

Some dudes looked like they were grumpy over their business…

…while I was having a great time taking pictures of it all:

(also note the look on the cow’s face)

Here’s a video of a tough kid, of some sheep, and of some dudes trying to get a cow on a truck:

Then we went back to the city to look at the mausoleum of Abakh Khoja:

17th century. Nice.

We didn’t stay long.

Instead, we went even further downtown:

The bazaar was calling:

We were trying to do everything in one day. So we just rushed through the bazaar:

Remember I told you about the reconstruction of Kashgar’s old town?

Well, here’s some of the more original structure:

And some of it was even more original:

There wasn’t much of this old stuff left though:

Construction everywhere:

Up above…

…and down below:

Some of the new buildings looked rather nice though:

At least they were decorated:

But that’s not what I liked best about 喀什 (Kashgar).

Those of you who have read my books (or been to my presentations) already know what I am going to say:

The one thing that I liked best about this place were the children.

They were everywhere.

Riding their bikes:

Digging in the dirt:

Leaving their handprints:

Running around:

Coming in and out of doors:

Playing with their friends:

Saying hi to us:

Or having fun with our cameras:

I could show you so many more photographs.

Pictures of melons:

Pictures of love:

Pictures of work:

Pictures of religious men:

Pictures of new “old” city walls:

And pictures of refrigerators:

I took pictures of things that people buy:

…like shoes:

…or pillow cases:

…or purses:

Some of the pictures contained warnings:

“预防艾滋病,健康全家人” – “Prevent Aids, for a happy family!”

Others seemed a bit ironic:

“你我大家同参与,建设和谐新家园” – “Let’s all work together to build a harmonious new home.”

We wandered around the place until it was late at night:

Then we found our favorite restaurant and had a good serving of noodles:

We were going to leave this city tomorrow.

And we both knew we were going to miss it.

A lot.

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Kill With Power”

-total: 5510,9km

1 comment(s) for this post:

  1. 小笨:
    13 Nov 2012 I don't think it is a good idea to tear all the old buildings to reconstruct. At least we should be more careful and thoughtful in the course of social changes. The kids are cute. Thank you for these pictures. Excuse me, may I ask why'you think the third-last picture is a bit ironic? :P

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nine inch lakes http://www.thelongestway.com/20120915/nine-inch-lakes.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120915/nine-inch-lakes.html#comments Sat, 15 Sep 2012 14:27:54 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10662 Day 423: [喀什 (Kashgar)] = 0km Ever heard of Karakul – the “black lake” in the Pamir Mountains? We figured we were pretty close to it, so we hopped into a cab, stopped to buy some food and got on our way: It was about 200 km down Southwest on the Karakorum Highway: We passed […]

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Day 423: [喀什 (Kashgar)] = 0km

Ever heard of Karakul – the “black lake” in the Pamir Mountains?

We figured we were pretty close to it, so we hopped into a cab, stopped to buy some food and got on our way:

It was about 200 km down Southwest on the Karakorum Highway:

We passed red rocks:

…tiny settlements:

…high mountains:

…and a checkpoint of the border patrol:

Then we arrived at a lake:

But it wasn’t the black lake. It was 白沙湖, the “white sand lake”:

We decided to take goofy pictures of ourselves:

…bouncing around:

…while other people were super serious and super busy taking pictures:

Then we got back into the cab.

Our driver, a Uyghur dude called Nejad (“you know, like Ahmadinejad”) wasn’t very fluent in Chinese, but he was very good at driving, and he sure as hell liked to tell stories:

He told us stories about the mountains:

…about the Kirgiz mountain folks:

…about their yaks:

…about the construction crews who had come here from the interior provinces, mostly from 四川 (Sichuan):

…and most of all about the dangers of driving on these roads:

People kept dying out here every month, either by falling into the river or by getting crushed by rocks. I think that’s what he said.

All the while, we kept honking like crazy:

It took us a while to figure out that the green button was the horn.

Then we reached the lake:

There were hardly any people around. Just a few Kirgiz who were either herding yaks or operating yurts for us tourists to stay in:

Oh, and there was a small group of Germans who kept saying things like
“have you been to Pakistan/Tibet/Nepal?”
or
“do you have any idea how much more interesting China used to be in the eighties?”
or
“why are there so many tourists everywhere?”

We were reminded of two French travelers whom we had run into a while ago in 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi). They had strongly advised us not to visit a certain attraction because it was apparently too “disney” – and because there were too many Chinese tourists there. We had smiled politely, thinking to ourselves: seriously, too many Chinese tourists in China? WTF??

“why do you put up your tripod so close to the edge of the rock?” the Germans kept asking.

We told them that we didn’t plan on going to any other countries, that in fact we were intending to travel everywhere by plane, and that we regretted that this particular lake didn’t have an airport or at least a runway.

And that we didn’t give a fuck about cameras.

They eventually left, taking their advice with them.

And we had the place to ourselves:

Some yaks were having fun at the shore:

And we were having fun taking pictures of clouds, while the sky was playing with the mountains, while the lake became ruffled and then calm again.

A lot of what we were doing was just standing there, waiting around:

Here is what we had shot that day, a video cut to a soundtrack of Nine Inch Nails:

We both agreed that it had been a perfect day.

Even without an airfield.

Soundtrack: Nine Inch Nails – “28 Ghosts IV”

-total: 5510,9km

3 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Peggy:
    07 Nov 2012 As always, thank you so much for sharing your perfect day. For those of us not currently traveling, or especially those without the means to travel, your adventures help take us to places we can't go. Your narrative is witty and enjoyable Chris. Thank you!
  2. Melanie:
    04 Dec 2012 I stumbled upon your site from YouTube and I'm so glad I did. Your travels are so inspiring. The video of karakul black lake is one of the most beautiful things ive ever seen.
  3. Francis:
    01 Nov 2013 Nice timelaps video of Kalakul lake! I was there in fall of 2007, right when you started your first walk from Beijing, and it was as beautiful as it is now. I noticed you didn't mention the big slope like mountain in the background, it's best known as Mt Muztaga (sp?), reputably the training ground for mountaineers who aspire to climb 8k+ peaks, due to its gentle slope and relative low height (still 7k+).

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Kashgaria http://www.thelongestway.com/20120914/kashgaria.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120914/kashgaria.html#comments Fri, 14 Sep 2012 15:11:09 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10654 Day 422: [喀什 (Kashgar)] = 0km Today we left 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi) and hopped on an airplane: It was going to take us here: View Kashgar in a larger map 喀什,喀什噶尔,Kashgar, Kashgaria, Kasia, Kaxgar, 疏勒, Shule. One of the most important oasis towns of the old Silk Roads, a gem under the skies of Central Asia, […]

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Day 422: [喀什 (Kashgar)] = 0km

Today we left 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi) and hopped on an airplane:

It was going to take us here:


View Kashgar in a larger map

喀什,喀什噶尔,Kashgar, Kashgaria, Kasia, Kaxgar, 疏勒, Shule.

One of the most important oasis towns of the old Silk Roads, a gem under the skies of Central Asia, a city predominantly inhabited by Uyghurs, a place of many names.

The first thing I photographed was this though:

“No parking.”

Then there were the Uyghurs:

And the streets of the old town:

The bustling streets:

Kashgar is changing.

There is construction everywhere:

The old town is being torn down and replaced with new structures. To make the place safe in case of an earth quake, the administration says. To make it easier for the police to control, critics say.

I don’t know where the truth is in all this.

All I can say that sometimes it can be tough to look at:

Very tough actually:

Not everything is bad though.

You can see old doors…

…in new buildings:

You can see new decors…

…and how they cover…

…otherwise bleak and cheerless high-rises:

“If you haven’t been to Kashgar, you haven’t really been to Xinjiang”, they say:

Well, I don’t know about that either. It is a very interesting place anyway. Many people in Northern Xinjiang had warned us about coming here. “Too dangerous!” they said.

But when we arrived and checked out the local youth hostel, it was full of white people who looked mostly like tree-huggers and pot-heads. We figured we didn’t want to hang around with them, so we left and got a regular hotel room.

Kashgar didn’t feel dangerous at all. Actually, it kind of felt like the Paris of Xinjiang:

With large squares…

…old dudes…

…and old ladies…

…with tiny back alleys…

…and fruit stands everywhere:

We especially liked some of the little shops:

And dental clinics:

Then it rained:

Kashgar is supposed to be one of the cities with the least annual rainfall on the planet. But sometimes, it still rains:

Many things are not as simple as they seem, and everything is constantly changing.

Kashgar’s main road is just an example:

It could be anywhere.

Or could it?

Soundtrack: Manowar – “The Crown And The Ring”

-total: 5510,9km

2 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Elena:
    02 Nov 2012 Interesting... I liked this one.
  2. Manas Mishra:
    16 Mar 2014 Exotic and always interesting! That's travel to me. Love ur site, ur blog and the videos - saw on fb for the first time today. best wishes

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last interview in the ü http://www.thelongestway.com/20120913/last-interview-in-the-u.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120913/last-interview-in-the-u.html#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2012 14:07:29 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10650 Day 422: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km I finally got my visa extension today. Yay! :) And these guys made an interview with me for a paper from 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi): They were utterly charming, and I found it very interesting to hear their views on the media. Anyway, we were getting ready to leave this place. […]

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Day 422: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km

I finally got my visa extension today. Yay! :)

And these guys made an interview with me for a paper from 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi):

They were utterly charming, and I found it very interesting to hear their views on the media.

Anyway, we were getting ready to leave this place.

“More walking?” they asked.

“Airplane!” I said.

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Sting Of The Bumblebee”

-total: 5510,9km

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Germans looking at dancers http://www.thelongestway.com/20120912/germans-looking-at-dancers.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120912/germans-looking-at-dancers.html#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2012 09:51:14 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10643 Day 421: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km My visa wasn’t ready yet. No big deal, just one more day of waiting. We walked around in 南湖公园 (South Lake Park) for a while: The municipal administration was there: Some apartment buildings: And a couple of horses that we initially mistook for cows: Later that night, we met […]

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Day 421: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km

My visa wasn’t ready yet. No big deal, just one more day of waiting.

We walked around in 南湖公园 (South Lake Park) for a while:

The municipal administration was there:

Some apartment buildings:

And a couple of horses that we initially mistook for cows:

Later that night, we met up with my good friend 朱辉 (Zhu Hui) whom I hadn’t seen in two years:

Of course we couldn’t break with our tradition – 火锅 (hot pot) it was:

And again later that night, we went back to the park:

It was shiny and nice:

The administration was sparkling:

And so were the apartment buildings next to the lake:

People were dancing:

…and they were dancing literally everywhere:

One question: why do we Germans rarely dance on public squares?

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Sign Of The Hammer”

-total: 5510,9km

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where did my hair dresser go? http://www.thelongestway.com/20120911/where-did-my-hair-dresser-go.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120911/where-did-my-hair-dresser-go.html#comments Tue, 11 Sep 2012 11:51:46 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10633 Day 420: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km The visa application had been accepted. All we could do was wait. So we wandered around town, much like these guys: Went to 二道桥 (Erdaoqiao), the Grand Bazaar that I had visited two years ago and seen from afar four years ago: And this time, we decided to climb […]

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Day 420: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km

The visa application had been accepted.

All we could do was wait.

So we wandered around town, much like these guys:

Went to 二道桥 (Erdaoqiao), the Grand Bazaar that I had visited two years ago and seen from afar four years ago:

And this time, we decided to climb the tower and get an overview of the city:

Here’s a video:

There was a ladder that led to a higher level of the tower.

Someone had sawed off the lower steps, and there were footprints all over the wall:

We decided to pass.

Then we checked out the bazaar:

The back streets seemed more interesting though:

My hair and my beard were starting to annoy me.
So we took a cab to the north of the city and looked for my favorite hair salon.

But it wasn’t there anymore:

We wandered around for a while, then gave up and we went to a different hair dresser:

We had a date with my good friend 申叔叔 (Uncle Shen) in that area.

He took us to a nice Uyghur restaurant:

Not only did it have luxurious decor:

But it also served very tasty lamb sticks:

Then we walked through the night, looking for a place to drink:

Walked past a restaurant that served 大盘狗肉 (“big plate of dog meat”):

And found a place that seemed more likable:

Good times.

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Hail And Kill”

-total: 5510,9km

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#1002 http://www.thelongestway.com/20120910/1002.html http://www.thelongestway.com/20120910/1002.html#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2012 11:26:52 +0000 http://www.thelongestway.com/?p=10626 Day 420: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km First thing in the morning: Go to the central police station and grab a number. Being number 2 on the list, it seemed as though I was much luckier this time than the last time I had tried to get a visa extension here. We spent the rest of […]

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Day 420: [乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi)] = 0km

First thing in the morning:

Go to the central police station and grab a number.

Being number 2 on the list, it seemed as though I was much luckier this time than the last time I had tried to get a visa extension here.

We spent the rest of the day walking around central 乌鲁木齐 (Ürümqi).

Through its quiet back streets:

Under its tall shiny buildings:

And past the few traces of its subculture:

It was the same as in many other Chinese cities:

It got most fun at night.

Soundtrack: Manowar – “Metal Warriors”

-total: 5510,9km

2 comment(s) for this post:

  1. Elena:
    29 Oct 2012 What fun?
  2. Robert:
    22 Jun 2014 Thanks for sharing your inspiration and your adventure. I wish you all the best. Perhaps use your courage, artistry, and sense of adventure to help others (like making a video of one project of Medicin Sans Frontiers, etc). I rode freight trains years before I became a doctor and worked in places like Cambodia and Sudan, when they were rough. They were good years. Now I have too much money, too much leisure, and dream about the old days! Especially young social life. Do it all for me! Robert xxxx MD, MPH, stardoc77@aol.com.

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