Today we made the long drive from Turpan to Korla across the Taklamakan desert. The city has a different feel to Turpan. This region has an abundance of coal, gas and petroleum. Even though we are in the middle of a vast desert, construction of roads, railways and towns is going on everywhere. China is certainly actively building for the future. We are constantly marvelling at the size of the construction projects.
The funny thing is that western people are so rare here that people keep asking to take a selfie with us. We had a birthday dinner for one of the group at a restaurant. We booked a private room and noticed a couple of staff hanging around just outside the door. They said they were listening to us speak English but couldn’t understand because of our Aussie accents. One of the staff was a girl from yunan – she said that she came to work in the city hoping to meet foreigners. And after working in Korla for 6 months we are her first foreigners. She and her colleague took many selfies with us – it was really funny.
After eating way too much food, the staff brought in a special (huge) bowl of soup with noodles and eggs. We had to each put noodles in Simon’s plate (birthday guy) and wish him long life. They brought out heaps of extras for his birthday – all we really wanted was a small meal but it turned into a way too large feast – seems to be the way with this trip.
We also experienced a chinese birthday candle – of course it went off like a fire cracker.
So we have one night in Korla then back across the desert to Kuqa where we will stay for a couple of days.