I will be travelling for the whole month of May.  After a few days in Beijing, where I will be staying in one of the old Hutong districts that are being mostlly removed to make way for progress, I fly to Urumqi.

Urumqi is in the NW Xinjiang district which borders the Stans – Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc.. and tucks in behind Tibet.  It is quite remote and was once a section of the Old Silk Roads which facilitated trade from Beijing to Istanbul.  Many of the towns I will visit still have markets very similar to those from the old trading days.  The local language is Turkic which was the foundation language for Turkish and the local people look more middle eastern than asian.

After my 2 week China adventure, I will spend a few more days in Beijing, then fly to Osaka, Japan to walk the Kumano Kodo (Nakahechi Route), Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha.  This is a pilgrimage trail through the hot spring forests. I’m really hoping I don’t get lost because I planned it all myself and the inns I will be staying at didn’t have their info in English…. fingers crossed!

Then I will be heading to Tokyo to catch up with family and friends.  I plan to hunt down ‘the ramen of your dreams’ – an obscure Ramen shop where the guy makes only 1 dish and only opens if it is perfect that day – he hangs a beef shin bone outside to indicate he has ramen for sale.  I have a detailed map and high hopes!