2000, Korla to Turfan
a few days of short desert driving, we have now joined our original route
again and it
is time for another test section. Turfan Outskirts leads us through some
villages and therefore the Rally Organization was wise enough not to shorten
the time requirements (as they have done before). We manage the test,
which is mostly a wavy, bumpy overland route with some potholes with a
This morning was still dominated by yesterday's sandstorm as we had to
find our car cover which was blown away by the wind and as the air was
rich with sand. As we drive into hills again the air and the vegetation
is changing. After the hills and a pass of 1830m we drive into the Turfan
depression, at about 150m below sea level, apparently the second lowest
area on earth. The Turfan area has an ancient irrigation system and is
a fertile agricultural region.
is part of an autonomous Mongolian region within China. Yesterday we saw
some Mongolian dances which all seemed to center around the theme of the
horse (dances emulating riding) and flying. Our translator tells us that
he is "Hui" and explains that Hui are the Muslim descendants
of Arabic-Chinese marriages which developed into their own tribe: all
result of the Silk Route. There are also Kazakh in the area and of course
mainly Uyghur. The Chinese government has made many efforts to resettle
Han-Chinese into the area, the result being that Xianjiang province is
a wild mix between all races and cultures and our hotel has a separate
"Muslim" and "Chinese" restaurant (and of course "Western").
The standard of the hotels seems to improve now, as before they seemed
a bit sleepy and forgotten, so we are looking forward to a nice rest day.
|TC 87: Korla OUT
|TC 88: Toksun
|TC 89: Turfan Outskirts
|TC 90: Turfan IN
Overall 1 hour 08
official results can be looked up on this website
In the morning,
sand is still reducing visibility, the vegetation is now varying
between steppe and green.
Sand is coming
over the hills
We managed to
convince these camels to speed up their crossing of the street in
the Turfan Outskirts.
await us with music and dances similar to Arabic folklore. Notice
the grapes on top, the whole street is roofed like that.
There are big
crowds awaiting us in every city and village we pass, we yesterday
gave an interview to Chinese news agencies and they told us that
the people are very interested in the rally, as there are participants
from 24 different countries. The Chinese newspapers were especially
interested to hear that we drive for "Doctors Without Borders"
and tell us that the American branch of "Doctors" has
given a lot of support to the region.
into the Turfan Depression
Slightly greener steppe - could this be the end of the Taklamakan?
It is the end but in two days we will meet with the Gobi.