Friday, February 27, 2009
many years ago, when i read that there were -and most likely still are- several uighurs from china's sinkiang autonomous region been detained in guantanamo bay, i couldn't understand or make sense of this. but now that i have visited kashgar, i can see that this makes perfect sense. the old quarters of the city is nothing like china and decidedly middle eastern in feeling and i could imagine this is what afghanistan or that rowdy pakistan tribal areas look like. the old quarters are 100% muslim uighurs .(in fact i hardly see any han chinese in the whole of kashgar). some of their women cover their heads and faces completely. and i meant that literally. the funny thing is they just simply put a brown see-through towel over their heads and lift it up as and when they feel like it. looks silly even to my muslim extremist eyes. i won't be surprised if my brother osama is hiding somewhere here rather than in the pakistan tribal areas as what those damned americans think. he'll be at home here.
but sadly the old quarters are now hemmed in in every direction by the boring chinese modern buildings. so, if you want to see old kashgar do come quickly. i think this will probably be gone in a few years time. even if they don't, i think the old silk road romance is quite gone now. many of the young uighur ladies now don't wear head covering scarfs, let alone drape brown towels over their heads. and although their men don't look handsome to me, and some of their girls looks a bit hairy , these young women exude strong animal sexuality. chinese girls look positively frigid compared to uighur girls.
and when a uighur taxi driver said to me ' karaoke you like?' my eyes widened a bit and i said yes? you have here? and he said yes, we go tomorrow ok? and i realised that he was actually offering to take me on the famous karakoram highway to karakul lake, a scenic area 180 km away from kashgar. but sadly i didn't have the time and just did the obligatory things every visitor does in kashgar. which is to visit the sunday market and animal bazaar and the two venerated sites in kashgar, the abakh khoja tomb and the tomb of yusuf has hajip, their 17th century revered muslim missionary whose teachings is widely practiced now. and the rest of the time hanging out around the id kah mosque, the spiritual heart of kashgar. or at least that's what my travel book says. and what lonely planet says is true (and i always found that among travel books, lonely planet is always the best and most accurate) that chini bagh hotel is very strategically located. it's only ten minutes walk away from id kah mosque and you can walk anywhere to main areas within kashgar from here.
since a picture is worth a thousand words as they say, i've put a novella's worth of pictures on flickr that you can visit here. i made no pretence to be a fancy photographer but you'll have a very good idea of what khashgar is like by looking at these pics. i wish i have some pics of uighur girls (preferably nude) but one can't have everything .....