Kashgar Markets

Even though Kashgar is mainly an Uyghur city and retains more of a Central Asian feel, the Han Chinese influence is inescapable. We were definetely back in China: neon lights, wide streets, big ugly concrete tile-covered buildings and the best of all NO English! Kashgar would be considered a conservative town by Chinese standards, but compared to Pakistan it felt like we were in Las Vegas. Yann nearly lost his head when a tourist in a short skirt and a tank top passed us in the hotel. Most of Kashgar's Uyghur women where a long skirt and a kerchief over their head, quite conservative, but unlike in Pakistan they ride motorbikes, yell at their husbands in public, work at restaurants and talk to men. Most Uyghur men wear the Han Chinese dress pants, shiny dress shoes and polo shirt but are distinguishable from the Han by the wearing of one of many different styles of Uyghur hats. For a glimpse into the Uyghur community we visited the Old City and the central mosque. We spent our lunch times in local restaurants, Yann devouring the sheep liver kebabs and me mostly sticking to the thick naan bread and nutmeg tea (neither of us sampled the non-alcoholic brew, cavas). For dinner we couldn't resist the cheap Chinese eateries complete with cheaper-than-water beer. Kashgar is famous as a Central Asian crossroads, on the ancient silk route, it sits on the road linking China to Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Tibet. It's Sunday Market is a major tourist draw, although we were a little bit disappointed by it. I'm not sure exactly what we expected but the hardware section was particularly uninspiring. There were a few quirkier stalls, like the Chinese medicine men (always good for a few minutes of entertainment), but the cheap Chinese made goods far outnumbered anything interesting being sold. The livestock market on the outskirts of town was considerably more exciting, with hundreds of sheep, horses, donkeys being sold and traded. Around the market, dozens of stalls cooked up mutton kebabs, noodles and other 'treats'. The livestock market is a man's world, with young boys proudly herding around goats on leashes, or guarding the family donkey cart. We watched the large scale sheep shearing and Yann spotted an old man inspecting a sheep's health (read: sticking his fingers up the sheep's butt). There are quite a few tourists around and Yann and I certainly didn't blend in with the scenery. Yann was almost run over by a speeding donkey cart and I perhaps got a little too much 'into' photographing the wild male donkey who ripped himself free from his chord and jumped onto his female neighbour (his handlers couldn't control him, they were actually pelting him in the head with large rocks and he didn't ever lose focus). The livestock market seemed like a trip back in time and we soaked up the Uyghur atmosphere, getting lost in a sea of white skull caps, dust and animals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

coucou a mes deux amours,

Wow! Yann j'avais oublie comment tu etais beau....

Je vais montrer les nouvelles photos a
Grandmaman et je crois qu'elle va etre contente de te voir.

On vous embrasse et on vous aime beaucoup beaucoup

La belle matante et mon Oncle Raymond