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07.10.2005, 10:17

News 35 - Train, Urumchi and Bogda Shan Mountains

Dear friends,

the Chinese people love to greet us with "Hallo" and to take pictures and films of us. Especially with our backpacks we seem to be some aliens...

Our train ride from Kashgar to Urumchi over 24 hours was really nice. We always enjoy to go by train. At first it was not so easy to buy tickets, but with a lot of talent in "body language performance" and copying some symbols from the guidebook we made it. Did you know, that the chinese have symbols also for the numbers...
The train was a double deck train with compartments upstairs and downstairs with 4 beds and it was very new and comfortable. The Chinese do not like to divide people in 1st and 2nd class, so they have "hardseat" or "softseat" or sleeper. We went "hardsleeper" and were really satisfied. The staff cleaned the train all the time and nobody was spitting. The ride is really nice, because we passed through a desert. Sometimes they have problems that the railway is blocked by sandstorms. Later we passed some snowcovered mountains.

We arrived in the 3 million city of Urumchi (capital of province Xinjang) in the afternoon. We had some problems to find a hotel for an acceptabel price, but finally we found one. The city is the worlwide the farthest city away from an ocean (2800km) and very modern. At first we did not like it very much, but now we got used to is. Actually, we stayed just one day and then we left for the Bogda-Shan Mountains 120km away. We stayed 4 days in the mountains. The autumn is arriving very strong. So we enjoyed the colorful trees. We camped in 2700m height just below the snowline and at night it was always below zero degree. One day we hiked up to 3900m. It was very nice, but cold and with a lot of snow. The start of our tour was at the Tianchi Lake (Heaven's lake). It is a very touristic place. But it is difficult to meet foreign tourist, normally they are Chinese and you can see a lot of them. This week the Chinese have ONE WEEK OF HOLIDAY, because of the national holiday on 1st of October. They call it the "Golden week". That is crazy, everybody is traveling around.

Also here in Urumchi we feel well and very welcome. It is a very modern city and you can find everything you want. We again had our nice moments in the restaurant, showing the meal we wanted at the neighbours' table. At the street some people start to talk to us in English, but just very few speak English well.

Today we bought train tickets for Monday. At first it took some time to find the right symbols for the city we wanted, but buying was easy today, because we were sent to an English speaking counter...But always we have to buy ticket some days in advance otherwise it will be crowded but you can buy tickets only 5 days in advance.

Tomorrow we will go by bus to Turpan. This place lies at -154m. Yes, you read right, it is under sea level and the hottest place in China, but now is autumn and we do not expect so hot temperatures.

O.k. I wanted to put some new photos but is difficult to find really good internet-cafes. This one here as USB, but it does not work...

But at the Map you can see where we are

Hope to hear from you soon

Anja and Soeren

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