In March of 2004 myself and 3 of my compatriots had the chance to meet Curzon and some friends in Kazakhstan. We decided to go through China since we were (mostly) living in Japan and cross the China-Kazakhstan border. Due to “efficient” Chinese officials, one of our members was left with no time to get a Kazakh visa. We flew 4 hours to Urumqi, then split into two groups: one pair heading into Kazakhstan, and the other (me and me mate) crossing the Taklamakan Desert to the westernmost reaches of Chinese Turkestan. We would meet back in Urumqi 10 later and head back to Beijing together.
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is China’s largest province, covering over 1,600,000 square kilometers, one-sixth of China’s total territory. It is home to 47 ethnic groups including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, etc. Sunni Islam is the prevalent religion. It is bordered (from North to South) by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistani/Indian claimed territory. At one point we were 20km away from Afghanistan.
Considering we didn’t understand Chinese (or Uyghur) and at one point my partner came down with a mild strain of cholera (thanks to the gypsy bus), we had a blast. “Here is a small gallery of photos taken during that trip.”:http://www.cominganarchy.com/ch_turkestan/
Don’t forget to click on the IMAGE INFO in the bottom left corner of each pic for an explanation. Enjoy!