Some more majesties.
11.08.2012 - 02.09.2012
From Karakul to Kashgar,
August 22nd 2012
Junki requested to stopped by at Bulungkol Lake. Of course I didn't mind to stop by for a second time. Nature is always different everyday. One thing for sure, it wasn't as windy as yesterday.
My driver made another stop.
Actually these red mountains had been more fabulous along the road before we arrived at this point. But it seemed we weren't allowed to stop there. I didn't ask my driver, though. I regret I didn't.
Oh yeah, yesterday I hadn't told you about the checkpoint. Here are some pictures I took yesterday. Of course we stopped here again today on the way back to Kashgar, but I didn't take pictures. If I had, it wouldn't be much different than these, anyway.
The post on the left where there's a blue watchtower on above is for travelers coming from Kashgar. The post on the right is for travelers entering Kashgar. As vehicles queue, passengers have to get off and report at the post. Yesterday, on my way from Kashgar, I got off with my tour guide and my other Korean friend. My tour guide asked for our passports, and copied our name, DOB, country on a piece of paper, and our car's plate number in Mandarin with Chinese characters. I didn't understand why Husen had sent Tujadim the day before to make a copy of my passport. I had thought it was meant for this purpose.
Inside this post on the left, was a room. The immigration officer sat inside that room behind a window glass. My tour guide handed the piece of paper through the window together with our original passports.
When the officer came to my name on the list, he pointed at the country name my tour guide had written. "What's this?" he asked.
"Yìndùníxīyà," I interrupted.
"A! Yìndùníxīyà!" the officer replied. He crossed my tour guide's handwriting and wrote 印度尼西亚 next to it.
"I'm sorry," my tour guide apologized. "How would I know."
Hahaha, of course, how would he know? Let alone how to write 印度尼西亚, even the country itself, I had come to realize that it's sadly, unknown, to many in this part of the world. That explains why on the other hand, this part of the world is unknown to many in my country as well. "What?? Where did you say you are going?? Is that China you said??" And don't be frustrated when I say "Silk Road" and I hear, "Oh, that sounds yummy!"
Nah, on the way back to Kashgar, as I've already told you, my tour guide didn't come along. My driver told me and Junki to get off and walk to the post. Just several steps away from the car, my driver honked. I turned my head, he pointed at the car's plate number. Luckily I always bring small paper notes and a pen in my handbag. I jotted down the car's plate number and a 新 in front which represents "Xinjiang". I was a bit nervous, honestly. I thought I would have to do my tour guide's job writing down on a piece of paper my data and Junki's. What if I get questioned and I don't understand?
It turned out that the post had no room like the one on the opposite side. We reported ourselves from outside. I handed my passport and the piece of paper with my car's number. "This is my car," I explained to the officer. Junki handed his passport. "He goes together with me." I said again.
The officer examined my passport, moved to Junki's, looked at our faces, and then nodded. Done. As simple as that. Yay! My broken scrambled Mandarin has at least brought me -- and a friend! -- through this checkpoint, on my own! Yay!
I was told that I could take pictures of anything but the post guards.
We had a super late lunch at Opal Village. Junki too was surprised by the huge tea bowl. "What's this? Tea!??"
My driver dropped me off in front of Xinde Business Hotel. He helped me take my suitcase out, and then gave a hand to me. "I'm sorry. My English wasn't good," he said.
"It's okay," I replied.
Yeah, I wasn't thoroughly satisfied with the services I got, but overall I can call it fine. I had got to all the places I wished to. In spite of my growling stomach, I had had a wonderful time. "About the camel ride, I'll get a lot of that tomorrow in Hotan," I thought. I also had a safe trip. That's no less important.
Xinde Business Hotel's room this time was double dirty than the first night I came. Nevertheless, the view outside was remarkable. Clouds covered the sun when it was about to touch the horizon, but the colors of the sky was adorable.