Central Asia Overland – Hello from Hotan

First chance to find an internet cafe here in Xinjiang Province, in Hotan on the southern silk road. We crossed the Taklamakan desert yesterday on the brand new cross desert highway – so new it’s not on the maps and the toll booths aren’t in service yet.

It’s hot, hot, hot, which means I’ve been living out of the top tenth of my rucksack – hopefully not too smelly. Not much call for anything long sleeved, and I should have brought some more short sleeved/T shirts.

The group’s a bit of a mixed bag – mainly ladies, with a few couples thrown in for good measure – but I think we’re all getting used to one another’s quirks.

So far the Western China experience has been a bit disappointing – a lot of cities and sitting on the coach travelling from one to the next. Hardly any historic places or opportunities to get out and about – but then again I think I was being a bit unrealistic to expect much else, both from Explore and from this part of China. The main excitement of every day is shopping at foodstalls for picnic lunch things – but everyone ends up with kilos of stuff – why Explore don’t just buy a picnic (the price of things is peanuts) I don’t know.

I must sound like I’m not having a good time – I am, but it’s just not as exotic or adventurous as I would have liked.

Anyway, we’re in Kashgar over the weekend and that should offer some opportunities for exploring on our own – which will be fun. Then it’s over the mountains to Kyrgyzstan!