Taklamakan Desert – Xinjiang, China

September 25, 2007

For a change we had some spare time during our mission so it was decided that we would go on a short tour of the Xinjiang desert south of Urumqi. There was myself, Fei Deng and Jean-Marie Braun. We were joined by several people from the project office who would be our hosts for the trip. The plan was to drive to the ‘Flaming Mountains’ and then to the ‘Cave of the Thousand Buddhas’. We would then visit the ‘Gaochang Ruins’ and the ‘Grape Valley’ before the others would head back to Urumqi. I would spend the night in Turpan before catching the bus back the following morning.

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Mummies of China

September 13, 2007
When one speaks of mummies Egypt, not China comes to mind. But as the title of this posting says, China does in fact have mummies and since I was in Urumqi, Xinjiang I was not going to miss the opportunity to have a look at them. After all, who would have believed that almost 4,000 years ago western China was inhabited by Caucasians, not Chinese, and that their bodies would be be preserved because of the unique desert environment.

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Xi’an Ancient City

September 6, 2007

The ‘Silk Road’ was a set of interconnected trade routes which connected the mediterranean to China. Extending over some 8,000 km, it was a major contributor towards the development of China, India, Persia and even ancient Rome. While there were several routes for the silk road, they all ended up at Chang’an, the ancient capital of China (see map below). Although I had worked in China for almost four years I had never managed to visit this place until I found that I was passing through nearby Xi’an on my way west. That called for a short visit to see one of China’s greatest treasures: the terracotta army.


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