Today we will stop at the Post Office to mail our box of cycling clothes and other things we will not need in Nepal back to Colorado. This time, when we mailed the box, the unreliability of the mail service became clear to me – we did not put any return to sender address on any of the three boxes, so if they aren’t sent without incident, they’ll be lost in the system!
Jason then dropped us off at the Bazaar, where we spent an hour or so walking around – there was very little of interest, as we had already seen all of this merchandise at the many other markets and bazaars we’ve visited along the Silk Road. There is very little hand work in evidence here, unlike the Kuqa market, which was the only one where we actually did see a few artisans working.
We then walked over to the District Museum, which, inexplicably, has been reduced to one floor of exhibits from three, as my Internet guide reported from just a few years ago. What was there was interesting for a brief visit – detailing the many buried ruins in the Taklamakan Desert, and displaying two mummies. We then headed back to the hotel to pack to finally leave this desert village.
In retrospect, we had way too many days here for what was to be seen, especially considering the intense desert heat. Instead of four nights, two would have been more than enough, and we could have taken this time and traveled farther up the Karakoram Highway, from Kashgar up to Tashkurgan, high in the mountains overlooking the Pakistani border.
If we had been traveling on our own, I have no doubt that’s what we would have done. But when a car, driver, and guide are added to the mix, the free flow of independent travel becomes instead a series of compromises, of negotiations. We’ve done the best we can do so far, and we’ve learned a lot, as well as seeing and experiencing some wonderful places, in the process.