We spent the day today walking around the Old Town districts of Kashgar. Around the mosque, one of the largest in China, were rows of marketers selling a variety of local hand-made wares. Across the street we entered the bazaar and were in awe as all Chinese aspects of the city disappeared and stalls of herbs, fruits, nuts, and spices covered the streets ahead. It was almost as though we were on the silk road again, which Marco Polo and Aurel Stein spoke of in such great detail. We walked for hours in what is most easily described as a photographers dream. Children ran up to us in the streets and alleys asking us to take their picture and then show it to them.
Around 7:00 this evening we experienced a large sand storm that engulfed all of Kashgar. People were running around the streets, shop owners closed their stores, and I got a fist full of sand in my eyes. There is some video of this, but we are having some issues with the Internet capabilities. There are still some really strong winds and I just heard the sound of several pieces of pottery breaking outside as a gust of wind blew them off their perch. If it is this bad in the city right now, I can not imagine what it is like in the Taklamakan.
Tomorrow we are taking a bus down / up the Karakorum Highway, which goes along the the border of several of the “Stans” and we will spend the night at Lake Karakul in a ger or yurt. The Karakorum has come highly recommended to us by our friends as well as a few fellow travelers we have met along the way. It will be a great photo opportunity as the highway will take us well over 3000 meters into the mountains. The last leg of this two day journey will take us to the base of the border with Pakistan. Apparently, we can stand next to a disgruntled member of the Chinese border security with one foot in Pakistan.