Kashgar or Kashi as the Chinese would like it to be called, is a very Islamic-looking city. The Uighurs are the the majority ethnic group in Xinjiang Autonomous Region with several other Turkic ethics. They are all Muslims except for the Han Chinese and Tibetans. Islam came to Kashgar in the 8th Century and entrenched itself in the 10th. The Idkah mosque in the picture below was built in AD 1442 and is one of the oldest mosques in China.
Kashgar is the gateway to other Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other …stan countries. It is not the capital of Xinjiang; Urumqi is. There is plenty to see in Kashgar and we had the opportunity to visit some of these sights, since we had 2N3D in the city. So while all the cars went for servicing and repairs, the non-owners went shopping. There was a big Grand Bazaar but I preferred to visit their restaurants and eating places for a good meal of halal food.
Finally we had to leave Kashgar, and China, on 8 Sep 2005. The night before we had our farewell dinner to say goodbye to several people who were leaving us for home or elsewhere. Oh yes, we also welcomed three wives plus another lady who rejoined us here. And from Kunming, Convoy leader Linus and wife rejoined us also. So we had dinner of barbecued lamb and excellent Uighur cuisine, song and dance entertainment depicting Uighur arts and cultures. It was also quite an emotional time when we exchanged momentos with our Chinese handlers who accompanied us all the way from Mengla, Yunnan. They were excellent – the three of them two men and a girl. See below:
We’ve been away from home for almost a month. Homesickness was setting in. But fortunately for me there were new friendships made and we were on the move and waking up everyday at different places on earth, to new surroundings and experiences. Hence we were not bored and contact with home readily available. So with that positive outlook I was looking forward to go into Kyrgyzstan, a country I’ve not even heard of before much less spell it right first time.