Xinjiang travel diary

Source: CRI [15:42 July 12 2009]

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Day One : July 16, 2005

It was raining when I got off the plane.

Yang Ming, who picked me up at the airport, told me that it had been a long time since they had seen such heavy rain. I was very lucky to have escaped the heat of Beijing.

It was 4:30 Beijing time when I arrived to Xinjiang. The handsome Yang Ming told me that we were going to have lunch. Lunch at almost 5 pm?!

Even though Xinjiang uses the same time tone as Beijing, they have a different working schedule. For example, they start to work at about 9 or 10 in the morning, and take a 3-hour lunch break at 1 pm. Then they work for another 3 to 4 hours and call it a day at about 8 pm. So I arrived during their lunch break.

We went to a typical Xinjiang restaurant. We ordered some kebabs and mixed noodles. When the kebabs were served, I couldn't believe my eyes. They were very big, almost twice as big as what I have seen in Beijing. Plus, they were amazingly CHEAP!

I couldn't help praising how delicious they were. Yang Ming was not at all surprised by my reaction. He said proudly "though there are many Xinjiang restaurants opened by Xinjiang people in Beijing and the kebabs made look like the original, they actually taste different. You know why? Because something in the grass here in Xinjiang makes the lamb more delicious."

Yang handed me a cup of tea. Actually, it was not a "cup" but a "bowl". This is the way that Xinjiang people drink their tea--they use bowls. Uigurs like to drink brick tea, which goes perfectly with lamb.

That was my first day in Urumqi.

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