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We're in Turpan (pronounced Tulufan), China, a Tarim oasis town that has a long history of being conquered by "barbarian" hordes from Mongolia, Tibet, or Central Asia, and the more sedentary (but equally imperialist) Chinese and Russians. Turpan is also famous as the second lowest place on earth (after the Dead Sea) at 154 meters below sea level. The days reach 44 degrees Celsius at midday. We baked like a pair of Uyghur samsas (mutton cooked in an envelope of dough). We finished our day engaged in an interesting conversation with two Chinese girls who demanded to know why I married a blond girl instead of a Chinese one.
This man dreams of starting his own band. Until then he's a donkey-taxi driver at Gaochang.
The ruins at Gaochang, a town founded in the 7th century. It flourished as the Uyghur capital until the Mongolian hordes implemented their progressive reform policy (slash, burn, and pillage) in the 13th century. The only hordes now are the vendors - you can see them running after Jill who is hiding under the city wall on the right hand side.
Turpan is famed for grapes and raisins. Houses all over the city have grape-drying rooms on their roofs (not to be confused with the Mosque dome next door).