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An all day border crossing from Pakistan to China via the Khunjerab Pass (4700 meters). From the immigration desk at Sost, Pakistan, we drove an hour to the border crossing, where we saw instant and dramatic changes. Once in China, ethnicity, landscape (rocks instead of greenery), time (all of China runs on Beijing time, so the clock moved forward three hours at the border), even the driver's side of the road (right instead of left). We stopped at Tashkurgan, a town that isn't much to the eyes, but the incredible ethnic diversity makes this place a people watcher's heaven. Chinese, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz people, all dressed differently, roam the streets. These local people aren't afraid to wear bold, colorful clothes. Looking back, Pakistan has surprised us by being such a great place to visit. The mountain scenery is fantastic and the people are extremely friendly to strangers. The Silk Road has been an ethnic kaleidescope. We've met many different races: Pakistanis, Afghans, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uyghurs, and Chinese. All of these people have their own languages, dress, and culture, so it is an amazing experience to drive through their lands and experience the diversity.
Mountain scenery on the the way to the Khunjerab pass. Khunjerab means 'valley of blood,' a reference to the local bandits who slaughtered passing merchants centuries ago. Today, nearby Peshawa is still one of the most armed places in the world due to the Afghan conflict. Local villagers are armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.
These stylin' Tajiks don't look like Chinese citizens, but they make up the majority of the population in Tashkurgan, China.