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In order to increase the Chinese population and strengthen China's claim for sovereignty, the Chinese government sends Han Chinese settlers into this Western region, once called Turkestan. The guidebook says that "many Han Chinese would leave immediately for the east if they could get permission, and Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks, and Uyghurs would join their families in their respective countries if they could get out." Certainly the Muslim Uyghurs want to create an independent "Uyghurstan." Visitors paying careful attention can sense an underlying tension between the new Chinese settlers and the indigenous Turkic population. We visited an excellent, small museum in Urumqi that displayed 2000-4000 year old bodies of Caucasoid people that inhabited the area and were buried here (thus strengthening the case for Turkic independence). The bodies are in great condition, skin, hair, and clothes intact. It is strange and exciting to see the shell of a person that is 4000 years old.
We visited Jiaohe, a 2000 year old town where Jill needed to wear a veil, Arabian style, to avoid 43 degree Celcius heat.
Jill supervises her pancake creation just like at IHOP
Punk rocker camel!