As you all know we have been unable to get send of anyhting else out of China for the past two weeks - it was because of the problems with the local population so have seen our quota of Chinese military and have had to be careful not to photograph them in fact at the border the border police checked quite a few of our cameras to see if we had taken any that we shouoldn't have - some of us changed the sd cards in our cameras just in case!!
So where have we been - out into the wild wild west. with some long straight stretches of grass lands or bleak desert but with a backdrop of the snow capped Tian Shan Mountains which made it all worth while. very hot day and headed to Turpan a city with a minus altitude and 40degree days but as nights camping first in a field where the locals kindly informed us that wolves were roaming so my nightly squat was with eyes peeled for other eyes in the dark.
Went to an old city where we got a donkey ride out to the site and wandered around streets that had been deserted for a thousand years or more not that the streets were that easy to work out, and very, very hot.
Arrived Turpan to 42 degrees but streets are lined with grape bowers so you can walk in the shade Our hotel was once quite grand but few visitors now and a bit shabby went to a local outdoor market for dinner of all sorts of kebabs noodles etc we boughtsome lamb that had been cooked on a spit and it was delicious a bit fatty as the locals like thier meat very fatty.
Carol and I had to shop for a bush camp two days after we left there so at the local market it was Ok as a couple of others came to help carry but then we had to find a superkarket and it was quite a walk so got a taxi back to the thotel - bought marinade for the meat as it had to last two days in a not very good fridge but the food shopping is fun trying to work out exactly what everything is I have even managed to bring myself to use long life milk - no choice - in china there are things that are simply not available like fresh milk butter cereal but fresh veges and fruit are everywhere and the bread tho sweet is OK and green tea is served for free with most meals so am drinking lots of that.
Was totaled by the end of our shopping expeditions so had a meal at the cafe attached to the hotel and early to bed for me.
Went to more ruins Jiaohe in the Yarnaz Valley 420ad-1276 (destroyed in the 14C) much better than the last ones as you could actually see what the city would have looked like than to a place where we saw how an underground watering irrigation system had been developed for the city and is still in use toady to irrigate thousands of acres of land today.
Left Turpan for a big day of driving and saw our first really big sand dunes and through some of the Tian Shan montains sw out first yert or ger Our camp site was nestled in betwen three sides of dunes that were being mines by some locals - we helped them to dig out their tractor when they got bogged quite funy really had our usual group of locals join us they are all so interested in the truck - had a minor sand storm but it didn't last long and even a drizzle of rain which was good as it settled the sand a tiny bit