But more about the desert.
11.08.2012 - 02.09.2012
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Korla, August 17th 2012
According to Peng Li, there's a major part of Bosten Lake and a minor part. I'm not quite sure about that. According to Wikipedia, there are adjacent small lakes. So it's not just one big lake and one small lake. Just by checking Google Maps, that's confirmed. Anyway, the lake we visited before... yeah, the one where I fell into, was the minor one. Now, we are heading to the major one, or the big one.
The scenery along the way was nice.
We ran along Peacock River, which flows through the center of Korla. People often take wedding pictures here, Peng Li said. Because the road that seems never ending represents never ending happiness. Aha, how about never ending sorrow?
Those pinkish shrubs, Peng Li said, only grows in Xinjiang. Well, proof it for yourself.
This house stood in the middle of nowhere. As far as I remember, according to Peng Li, it's a barn. She didn't say "barn", but "a place to keep animals", something like that. I said it doesn't look like one. But she insisted. Anyway, on this particular one, if it turns out not to be a barn, let me take the blame.
As the largest lake in Xinjiang that covers an area of about 1,000 km2, Bosten Lake looked just like sea. The surface was plain blue. So was the sky. It was a sunny perfect weather. However, for a photo, I had no idea how to make it not look like a plain blue cloth hanging from heaven straight down to earth. Thanks for some birds who by flying here and there made some patterns on the blue cloth.
Opposite to Bosten Lake, Taklamakan Desert painted the sky.
Here's a close up of part of it. I came here for Bosten Lake. Nevertheless, another item became the center of my attention. No, it's not the desert. I'll tell you about that, soon.
Peng Li said that in the East there's a bigger desert. The Chinese call it Gēbì. "Do you know Gēbì?" she asked me.
I have never heard the word 'Gēbì' before. But the bigger desert in the East must be Gobi Desert. Undoubtedly.
"Yes, I do," I answered Peng Li.
"Oh, you do."
Well, one might know Gobi Desert but not know the Silk Road. However it's very unlikely one knows the Silk Road, but doesn't know Gobi Desert.
Actually some people consider the desert I'm facing now also the desert of Gobi. Take Wikipedia's reference on Bosten Lake for example. It said: "Westerners sometimes refer to it (Bosten Lake) as the 'Oriental Hawaii of Xinjiang' because of its unique lush scenery surrounded by the harsh Gobi Desert." When I read this, I was like, what? Does Gobi Desert stretch that far?
In Wikipedia's reference on Gobi Desert itself, it said: "Some geographers and ecologists prefer to regard the western area of the Gobi region (as defined above): the basin of the Tarim in Xinjiang and the desert basin of Lop Nor and Hami (Kumul), as forming a separate and independent desert, called the Taklamakan Desert." In this case, Peng Li was right.
Here's a map of Taklamakan Desert which I retrieved from Wikipedia. You can see Bosten Hu there. "Hu" means "lake", and "Kaidu" is "Peacock River". Not just from Wikipedia, I've also heard from BBC that "Taklamakan" means "You go in and never go out." In other words, "the desert of death". I'd like to quote something interesting from Wikipedia about Taklamakan Desert:
"It is the world's second largest shifting sand desert with about 85% made up of shifting sand dunes ranking 18th in size in a ranking of the world's largest non-polar deserts." Behold, shifting sand dunes! It's moving!
Do you remember the Turkic people who are of the Turkish ethnicity I told you about in previous post, Turfan Facts? "The Taklamakan was inhabited by Turkic peoples. Starting with the Tang Dynasty, the Chinese periodically extended their control to the oasis cities of the Taklamakan in order to control the important silk route trade across Central Asia. Periods of Chinese rule were interspersed with rule by Turkic, Mongol and Tibetan peoples. The present population consists largely of Turkic Uyghur people." says Wikipedia again.
There's a hotel here. Peng Li said she has stayed here before and it's very expensive. About 300 something yuan.
This, was my surprise! They, became my center of attention. They, become the subject of my next post: Camel Facts. Hang on!