Thursday, February 19, 2009


cheb mami and going to kashgar

here's my kid doing rubik's cube under four min.with the great cheb mami music in the background. i can't work out how the hell he did it. he can repeat it as many times as you like and now getting better and better at it. can even go under three mins. kids are amazing. i once mentioned this in an old post but since i'm listening to rai music of cheb mami and khaled right now i thought i might put it again here. most people know cheb mami through his wailing on sting's desert rose. but he's much more than that. he and khaled are the kings of rai. these are quite old music now and i've lost track of the newer arab music . but i can never get tired of khaled's and cheb mami's songs of the eighties and nineties. i'm listening to all these desert songs as a kind of an entre' to my long dreamed visit to kashgar tomorrow.

kashgar of course isn't in the middle east but in the semi desert area just next to taklimakan desert in central asia. the only muslim majority city in china and an important city in the middle of the silk road of centuries ago. yinchuan in the muslim autonomous province of ninxia just south of inner mongolia is another muslim majority city but when i was there a few years back this city was already completely sinified that it has totally lost whatever character it once had. and so before kashgar (kashi) turned completely into another boring generic chinese city i thought i'd better go now and visit the id kah mosque and other muslim holy sites such as the tomb of Abakh Khoja and the famous sunday market. there are only two good hotels for non speaking visitors. one is SEMAN hotel which was once the russian embassy and the other is CHINI BAGH which was the british's. only seman can be booked online but to my distress it was fully booked on the dates i'm going. so again had to get my good chinese friend in beijing to book me directly the room in chini bagh which is just as well as this is much closer to the old part of the city and just near the id kah mosque and the best hotel in kashgar. or so according to the info in the lonely planet and other internet sources. i'll soon find out.

my dream is to take a land journey by train retracing the silk road from beijing to kashgar. i did take this 48 hour train journey from beijing to urumqi. but did not push through perhaps another 12 hr land route to kashgar. this time i cheat a bit. will just simply take a flight from beijing to urumqi than a short connecting flight to kashgar. sometime in the future i hope to complete the silk route by doing kashgar to istanbul. ....probably when the the damned americans have had enough of screwing up pakistan afghanistan and iran and things settle down and become less crazy in these areas....probably it'll never come. but miracles sometimes till then, i'll just savor kashgar...tomorrow.

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