Pitstops Along the Highway
A ramshackle restaurant along the highway from Turpan to Kumul (Hāmì). A cardboard door labelled ‘male’ beside it provides feeble cover to a toilet. A straightforward advertisement highlighted in blue for ‘Xinjiang wires and cables’ has been painted onto the brick wall.
The Gleeful Melon Farmer’s Son
The farmer’s happy young son who clutched onto anything given to him with glee, including dusty rocks from the ground and the melons which he got to see everyday.
The Colour of a Polaroid
In a bid to support the locals, Ablajan stopped to purchase melons from some farmers along the way. The sun-baked face of the farmer’s wife cracks into a quiet smile, with eyes fixated on the polaroids of her family which are slowly developing into colour.
Kebabs and Naan for Lunch
A typical Uygur meal of mutton kebabs and wheat naan at a casual restaurant along the way. The menu is written in both Uygur, a Turkic language, and simplified Chinese, which the people are required to learn by law.
A Day of Leisurely Driving
We spent ten hours driving at a leisurely pace from Turpan to Aktash (Báishítou), before spending the night in Kumul (Hāmì) town. There is a small Kyrgyz population here, but these yurts were empty and set up just for tourists to see.
Just a picture of an animal that looks to be really enjoying its food.
Munching on Melons at Sunset
Close to dusk, Ablajan took a portable knife out of his bag and sliced the juicy melons he had purchased earlier. The sun doesn’t set until late, and we watched the land bathe in sunlight while munching on melons.
Crusing Towards Kumul at Dusk
Still on the road as the sun sets swiftly behind the mountains, cruising steadily towards the small town of Kumul (Hāmì) to spend the night in. The shadows only served to heighten the vast emptiness of the desert landscape.