It’s been a little over 2 weeks that the silk road adventure finished and I’ve had a bit of time to sit down, take it all in and look back at that memorable journey. I must admit that it already feels like ages ago and yet it also feels like I was there just yesterday; sometimes, it’s also hard to believe that it ever happened but at least, I got the pictures and memories to prove it along with a bottle full of Taklamakan sand and a can of “red camel”
I never really got around to writing about day 9 and by now, it feels pointless to do so. The immediate impressions and feeling are pretty much washed away by the tides of life and the pictures can’t always express it all.
That said, the journey was memorable for many reasons:
1- The amplitude:
we spent 10 days trekking through the region and taking in as much as possible. Still, I’m sure I could go back for another 20 days and still not see everything there is to see in that side of the world.
2- Past, present, future:
I love History with a capital H and that region holds so much of it: As you’re traveling from city to city, going from dead kingdom to dead kingdom and reading about the events that took place in the past and the importance of the region, there is a sense of self-irrelevance! All the might and wonder is naught but dust and more dust now. Yet, there was a time where that part of central asia was a cornerstone in communication and world events.
3- The culture!!! The culture!!!!
Yes, we were in China! No, we were not in China. It’s hard to explain unless one goes there but depending on the time of the day, we were in Pakistan, Iran, Morocco, egypt, Turkey, Russia etc…. The facial features, the clothing, the food, the sounds, the smells, the colors and everything else that comes along!
The excitement and curiosity rivaled those i had when i first set foot in the middle kingdom… they might even have exceeded that initial level. I’ve covered quite a few chunks of China by now and I’ve seen the temples, I’ve had the food and I’ve walked the streets. I’ve walked the fields, climbed the mountains and drank the ales. However, all of it somewhat fell into a sort of mold with minor visual differences. Xinjiang helped relieve me of that “blase” feeling, that jadedness that I’ve developed after the Nth monument.
3- The landscape:
It is soooo bloody varied! Northern mountains, southern mountains, moving sands desert, arid desert, grass, trees, emptiness, warmth, cold….. there was just so much to take in.
We were there in early November and I can’t say I regret that choice! yes, we “missed out” on the whole touristy side of things with the dancing and the tourist traps but you know what? couldn’t care less!
Being up in the middle of the ruins of a dead city or an ancient kingdom without having to deal with a horde of tourists is freaking priceless!!!! you can actually sit down, stare at the horizons and picture how it must have been like ages ago in silence, a silence befitting that kind of place!
Going up to Karakul lake and seeing it like that, in its natural state of beauty without an army of cars/buses playing the part of visual pollution is an experience on its own!!!
I think I can speak for my companions and myself when I say that it was definitely worth it and we came out of it feeling we got the REAL DEAL!!!!!