11.08.2012 - 02.09.2012
Turpan, August 15th 2012
From Gaochang Ancient City we rolled of to my next destination: Tuyoq Village.
The view of the street transformed into more interesting for me. I was fascinated by this motor cart. Well, this was my first day in Xinjiang, you know. The next following days in the next following cities to come, I found how common this kin of transportation is in Xinjiang.
Here we are in Tuyoq Village. Hmmm, this looks like one of the photos I've seen in... I can't remember. I've read several guides and articles regarding Xinjiang.
Entering the gate, my mind wandered to the Bible stories read to me when I was a kid. What a similar atmosphere, I thought.
As I enjoy taking candid pictures of kids, I aimed my camera at her. She gave me a sweet smile and I got encouraged to take another, and another.
Then she came close to me, held my arm close to her chest, and spoke to me in Uyghur in a timid manner. Of course I couldn't even guess what she was saying. I thought she wanted to see the result on my camera's preview as most kids do when I take there pictures -- in my home country and other countries. Happily -- also proudly -- I held my camera under her face.
She didn't look at it! Thinking she didn't like that shot, I turned the button to show her the other photos. She didn't even take a glance at it! She kept on looking at me, still holding my arm in such a timid way.
Oh, maybe she wants me to take more shots, I made another guess. By that time came here little brother. Their mother stood behind me. I motioned the two to pose in front of my camera.
Next surprise. They made big smiles, but both tried to avoid looking at my lens. The sister at last looked straight, because maybe she realized I didn't press the shutter button.
Happily -- and stupidly proudly -- I held my camera preview under their faces. None of them took a look at it! The sister talked again to me in that timid begging way. Now I'm confused.
Then I heard their mother speak in Mandarin, "Give them 20 yuan each!"
"What?! 20 yuan?!"
"Yes! This 20 yuan, and this 20 yuan!" She touched her children one by one.
While the entrance ticket was only 30 yuan, it would be insane to give away 40 yuan for silly shots like these. They didn't pose for me anyway. If I could use their pictures, I might owe them something, though.
"Okay, I delete the pics. See!" I erased the shots I had made. The mother didn't (want to) look. She kept on telling me to give her kids 20 yuan.
I opened my handbag and gave them 1 yuan note each. The sister kept her hands on her back. Her little brother immediately grabbed my 1 yuan note. But her mother yelled something, so he led loose his hand.
Their mother came forward to me and grabbed my handbag. She was going to look into it. Luckily my handbag was hung over my shoulder. I hurriedly stepped back.
With the two 1-yuan bank notes left on the ground, I meant to continue my exploration into the so called village. However, the mother blocked my way with her hands wide spread -- and a broomstick! She swung her broomstick forward and almost hit me.
On my way back 2 little boys greeted me, "Hello!"
I replied, "What is it? You want money again!?"
At the parking lot, my driver was napping on the backseat. I knocked the window glass. He got up with a startled look. I could read, "Why so fast?" on his face. He actually already learned that it can take ages for me to take pictures for just a small spot.
In whatever Mandarin, I explained to him what had happened to me. He understood. I know he did, because he could tell the story right, to another young man -- obviously an Uyghur -- standing nearby.
Near the exit, my driver turned to me, "Aren't you going to take a picture of that?" Reluctantly, I got off the car, and made just one shot. A mosque, I said to myself. My Japanese boss words about a country of Moslem majority re-winded in my memory, unintended.
The next following days in Xinjiang, I experienced real village views like this. I say 'real', because they weren't villages made or preserved for tourist. They were there, because they are. If you have plenty days in Xinjiang and you are on a real trip, meaning not just tagging along a tour guide, you are better off experiencing the real thing, and for free!