mixed signals

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The last one of my three new tires started acting up in the morning, and I knew it was about to become a very hot and miserable day:

straight road

Oh, how I envied this dude on his carriage that I saw – there he was just dozing off while the donkey was getting the job done:

nice mode of transportation

Just as I had taken my shoes off somewhere by the road and planted myself on the floor, this Uyghur motorcyclist appeared and started talking to me in his language:

Two handfuls of fresh dates from this Uyghur

I didn’t feel like replying in Mandarin Chinese, I really can’t explain why though. So I just pointed at my ears and kept shaking my head. Then I said something that was supposed to sound like the Uyghur version of “Germany” and pointed at my face. The dude looked like he understood. We talked a bit about how the sun was so hot, and about how the way was very long. We figured out that I liked to walk and take pictures, and that he lived in the east and worked in a place west from there. Then the dude gave me a very friendly smile and two large handfuls of dates.

Thank you Uyghur dude!

There was a railroad crossing a little down the way:

train crossing

But not just any railroad crossing – it was far more romantic than that:

old train

Isn’t she beautiful?

You see, I was getting very mixed signals from my destination of the day – a mine district called Sandaoling.

On one hand there was that beautiful old steam locomotive I had seen at the railroad crossing.

On the other hand the whole place just looked repulsive…

into Sandaoling

…and there was some smelly black stuff (water?) running in a canal next to the road…

black water

…but then again there was this little grove that looked so peaceful and nice after all that desert today…


Mixed signals.

…but only until I laid eyes on the coal mine itself:

the mine

Oh my god, no mixed signals here!

It looked like… one gigantic flesh-wound on the face of the earth:


I didn’t expect anything good from this place when I entered the residential area:

in Sandaoling

Maybe I’ll find someone to fix my Caboose here though, I thought.

Otherwise I would have to go back to Hami.

  • Steven

    The coal mine pictures are fantastic!!!


  • Hermann

    zwei Fahrradreifen dran, fertig, also Reifen, Schlauch und Mantel, wäre das nicht machbar. Die Chinesen fahren (oder fuhren zumindest) doch gern Rad.
    Grüße Hermann


  • Patrick

    yeah the pictures from the mine are great but in the same time kinda…scary.

    i truly hope you will find someone who will give you a hand with the caboose.


  • Alfredo

    Hi, you have just been through some of my favorite places! Long time since I was there, though!
    Two things I wanted to tell you about:
    nang: I love it too! Actually, you are transliterating a word that is naan in India. Central Asian Turks, known as Mughals, brought that food (and the oven it is baked in) to India. You will find nang/naan all the way west to Samarkhand, if you keep walking that far.
    Turkish: you were right to try your Turkish on the Uyghur. When I went through, I met a Brit whose native language was Azeri (a Turkic language spoken in Iran) and he could speak to the Uyghur; he said all Turkic languages are quite similar, really more dialects than separate languages.
    I find the existence of this Turkish world in Central Asia one of the most fascinating cultural phenomena of the planet. Political geography hides this fact, but, on the ground, it definitely exists. You will find languages, foods, and architecture to be very similar to what you are seeing now all the way to the Black Sea. Some people have compared the Central Asian deserts to the Mediterranean – you cannot walk across them, but you can cross them if you are properly equipped, and this led to the development of a common civilization along the margins. Enjoy, I wish I could walk with you!


  • Mike

    Hi, hat es einen bestimmten Grund das die neuen Bilder keine GPS-Positionen mehr enthalten? Und wenn ja welchen?

    Ist immer wieder aufregend/spannend hier zu lesen/sehen wie es dir geht und wie weit du bist. Weiter so.

    regards Mike

    PS: Du machst gute Bilder


  • Patrick

    as i read this story,

    it kinda remembered me of you chris.

    not all of it of course, but still….

    give it a read everyone, it is really beautiful.


  • Barry aka Ba Lli

    Melde mich zum Kommentierdienst zurück und fasse wieder mal kurz zusammen was inzwischen passierte.
    Du hast die 4000 geknackt (nachträglich hertzlichen Glühstrumpf), der UN-Bollerwagen zickt rum (ich war bei dem Teil ja schon immer skeptisch, aber ich kann Deinen Bedarf auch verstehen), zwischenzeitlich haben sich auch einige Kommentatoren angezickt, Du triffst nach wie vor jede Menge tolle Leute, die Landschaft ist immer noch unglaublich geil und die Videos sind umwerfend. Was vergessen?
    Jetzt zu meinen vergangenen Tage. Flo Li Anh hat ja schon berichtet, dass ich ins Slowakische Paradies wandern gefahren bin. Ist wirklich paradiesisch dort. Allerdings eine Caboose wäre dort völlig fehl am Platz. Bis auf den ersten Tag hatte ich jeden Tag Unmengen an technischen Hilfsmitteln: Leitern, Stege, Ketten und Eisentritte in den Wänden. Und das i.d.R. immer mit vollem Gepäck auf dem Buckel. Die Krönung waren etwa 500 Höhenmeter und davon ca 100 nur mit besagten Hilfsmitteln. Und es wird kalt, hatte schon 2 mal Rauhreif. Und dieser Dreckswind war vorher wohl bei mir.

    Schön wieder hier zu sein und schön das es Dir gut geht und Du immer noch auf dem Weg bist.

    Ach ja, habe mir bei Dir das Knipsen und Filmen abgeguckt, kann ja echt zu Sucht werden. Habe in der Woche 2 Gig vollgeknallt. Nur blöd, dass man nicht mehr vorankommt. Gerade die Videos halten enrom auf. Bringt aber jede Menge Spass.


  • Barry aka Ba Lli

    Was ich vergaß: das war mit Sicherheit das Anspruchvollste, was ich gegangen bin, aber auch das geilste. Vielleicht ja deshalb.


  • Gisela

    @ Barry: Verrätst du uns auch deine picasa-Adresse???


  • Barry aka Ba Lli

    Musste ich ja erst mal einrichten:


  • Anonymous

    Tolle Bilder,Barry- hats't sicher eine geniale Zeit da unten!


  • Christoph

    Steven: You should definitely go there some day!
    Hermann: Weiß nicht ob die so gerne radfahren oder -fuhren.
    Patrick: Thanks chief.
    Alfredo: Once again, I have to thank you for providing this blog with more insight. I really appreciate it!
    Mike: Du meinst in Picasa sind keine GPS-Infos mehr in den Bildern, oder? Ich gucke mal was da los ist…
    Barry aka Ba Lli: Soso, Bilder und Videos halten also auf, was?


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