Monday, June 11, 2012
Memories of the Silk Road
I was looking through my old computer files and found these photos, from my trip to China's far West (the Silk Road). It's a fascinating place to visit, with crowded bazaars full of goats, carpets and spices; ancient, crumbling palaces from 1000 years ago; and stunning natural vistas (the Karakorum highway, which runs to Pakistan, had perhaps the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen).
It's also a little bit dicey. I wasn't able to visit the north of the province as planned, since while I was there the Chinese government put it in lockdown (due to concerns about rioting); massive, violent riots broke out in the capital city (which I visited) a few months after I left. This isn't surprising as the province is full of ethnically and religiously distinct minorities who are the subjects of constant discrimination and abuse at the hands of the Chinese (I wrote a little about that here). Crime is more common than most other places in China, and perhaps a result, my camera was stolen.
So these are pretty much the only pictures I've got, of me on the Pakistan border, exploring an 800-year old ruined fortress. It overlooked grasslands full of nomads in yurts, who still follow their herds for a living. Most of the population are Tajiks. I'd love to go back someday, only this time taking better care of my camera!