181 Kms from Shihezi
Next, we spent a night in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province. It has a great night market and besides the night market, we visited the museum displaying ancient corpses. The 4000 year old mummies! Perfectly preserved in the arid climate and saline soil, with skin and hair intact, these mummies prove that European nomads migrated over the Himalayas thousands of years ago. Intriguing! The makings of a new sequel "Mummy III"!
381 Kms from Shihezi
From Dunhuang we headed towards Tirpan in Xinjiang. We explored the crossroads market, the mysterious Afghani style Emin Minaret and Mosque, the ancient ruins of Jiaohe, and the kanez or the 5000 km of underground irrigation canals that transform this desert into a cornucopia of vineyards, orchards and lush gardens. The result is melons so crisp and sweet that they literally melt in your mouth. In fact all the fruits and vegetables are scrumptious! The city was alive with old men wearing fez, women draped in scarves and veils, hot bread from clay ovens, donkey carts laden with fresh produce and hay wagons piled higher than double-decker buses.