Hami

2009/04/16: Resting and Planning In Hami
This is a very Uyghur town. Some Kazahks too. And lots of Han Chinese of course. We like Uyghur food, and were thrilled to find a new kind of pastry shop that sold icy cold bowls of yogurt (sprinkle on sugar to taste) and soft ice cream, as well as pastries filled with nuts and raisins. Not that we don’t like Han Chinese “cake shops”, but we were thrilled to find more milk products. We know we’ve worked our bodies pretty hard for three months, so we allow ourselves to indulge our food whims and to give in to urges. We consumed so much ice-cream and yoghurt on the first day that out stomachs protested. I think our digestive tracts had had so little milk for the last few months that we indulged ourselves a bit too quickly.

We have taken to spoiling ourselves in larger towns by finding comfortable hotels which have internet. Here, this has allowed us to get our request for a Uzbek letter of invitation going, to Skype with offspring and nephew, to check weather ahead, and to upload a Gansu photo set to Flickr.This hotel includes a buffet breakfast, as some do, and we’re good at getting our money’s worth out of these. Sometimes there is hot milk on offer, but this time there was the choice of cows’ milk or camels’ milk. Camel’s milk is beige in colour, and more naturally sweet than cow’s milk. Good stuff.

2009/04/17: Bike Shop in Hami
Today we looked for the Giant bike shop that we’d heard had replaced Leon’s rim. My questions weren’t always understood, and we’ve found that the best way to find the best bike shop in town is to stop someone who has a good bike. We spotted a spiffy Giant road bike outside a wedding dress shop, and inquired inside as to whose it was. A young woman who claimed it was hers led us efficiently to the bike shop, informing us of the precise distance to Urumqi and how many days’ ride it would be. This is the first time we’ve met a keen female cyclist in China, even if she was dressed to sell wedding attire.

Chris got new shorts and a gel saddle cover. We hope these will allow us to move on towards Turpan and Urumqi tomorrow, after two days off here. I’ve heard of abscesses stopping bike journeys in their tracks, so we are taking a cautious approach to Chris’s bottom end issues, hoping to prevent any worsening till we take a much-needed week off in Urumqi. We’re hoping to receive a care package there expedited by Louise, and need to get our Kazakh and Kyrgyz visas. We ended our second day walking in the park with ice-cream and lemonade, and being photographed with a crowd of local teenagers.

M

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