“One always has a better book in one's mind than one can manage to get onto paper...” - Michael Cunningham.
Day 06: 27 May 2013
HAMI – TURPAN.
|(Hami 5 Hotel).|
After breakfast we travelled by bus to Turpan, 450 km away via the highway across the desolate Gobi Desert.
|(A lonely barren desert)|
|(Lunch time at one county city half way to Turpan)|
|(Scattered oil drills in the desert)|
Turpan City Prefecture is located to the southeast of Urumchi and has a population of 250,000, made up of 21 different nationalities. Among these the Uyghur account for over 70% of the total number. The city is also known as Huo Zhou (a place as hot as fire).
|(The entrance to the Flaming Hill Museum)|
|(Hallway full of legends and tales)|
|(Statues in the Museum)|
We had lunch in a small County city off the highway, 100 km before Turpan. On the way we had a tour of the Flaming Hill located at the northern edge of the Turpan Basin. The Flaming Hill is about 10 km east of downtown Turpan, stretching up to 100 km from east to west and about 10 km from south to north.
|(Murals on the wall at the hottest spot on earth).|
|(Hot Flaming Hill)|
|(Tall statues guiding the Flaming Hill)|
|(A choice of carriage ride, Aero-light or camel ride)|
With an average temperature of 30 degrees, it is known as the hottest place on earth and the highest temperature can even reach 47.8 degrees. The Flaming Hill got its name because in the evenings the red clay hills reflect the heat and glow making it look like burning. There is no life on the hills; no grass grows, no animals or birds lives there.
|(The entrance to the Grape Valley)|
|(In the grapevine)|
Later we visited The Charming Grape Valley, located among the Flaming Hill, about 10 km north of Turpan. It is a valley which is about 7 km long and 2 km wide. The nearby man-made ditch from the Tianshan Mountain makes the grape valley fresh and alive. The hill to the side of the valley is green and is full of various fruits like peaches, apples and pears. The houses for drying the grapes into raisin make the valley picturesque.
|(A graceful Uyghur's dancer)|
We visited a typical Uyghur's house and were served Nan bread and water melons while being entertained with music and dances. We also performed our prayers there and later visited their vineyard at the back of their houses.
|(Explaning on how raisins are graded)|
|(Performing our prayers)|
After dinner in a nearby restaurant, we checked-in Huozhou Hotel for the night.
|(The restaurant mascot)|
|(Waiting for dinner to be served)|
|(Our hotel room in Turpan)|