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The Oriental Caravan's

Postcard from LANZHOU

(Please click on an image to see it enlarged)

CLICK HERE to se the 'Postcard from Kashgar'

The story so far...

After its momentous crossing of the Khunjerab Pass, The Oriental Caravan was last seen at rest in the desert oasis of Kashgar. Since then...

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Atop the Khunjerab Pass!


Dear All,

Pity Marco Polo to be born before the advent of The Oriental Caravan - how much easier (and indeed more plausible!) might his odyssey have been! We have now arrived in Lanzhou after a journey of import and adventure that ranks alongside those of so many desert caravans that have gone before us.  

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Surviving an Urumqi banquet!

CLICK HERE to see who didn't (not for vegetarians or the squeamish!)

From Kashagr a midnight flight across the moonlit Taklamakan desert delivered us to Urumqi, once described as the most unsavoury city in the East and which was noted by the 1930's author Peter Fleming for its 'alarming death rate at banquets'! 
Despite some initial trepidation, lunch, it turned out was fine, and we proceeded to Turfan, the second lowest depression on the planet and home to some of Chinese Turkestan's finest archaeological sites. 

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The Emin 'Bullet' Minaret, Turfan

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Uighur girls at the ancient city of Gaochang, Turfan (J. Ludlow)

Here after daytime temperatures well into the 100ís, the nights were spent sitting beneath the town's famous grape trellises sipping cold beer and listening to the plaintive sounds of Uighur musicians as they filled the nightime oasis sky.
Thus refreshed an overnight train journey brought us to Dunhuang, home of the famous Mogao Grottoes, the most impressive repository of Buddhist cave art in the world (and also to some of the worlds largest sand dunes).

Jimi Hendrix plays Dunhuang.JPG (26092 bytes)

All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix plays Dunhuang!

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Cycling back from the Dunhuang dunes

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From there a two day journey by road along the Hexi corridor has brought us away from the deserts of Central Asia to Lanzhou, where we now sit on the brink of the teeming mass of 'real' China herself, paused to further explore this ever-changing enigmatic land.

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A girl with three red balloons obscures a group of street musicians.

Many thanks to all those who have sent messages. All is well here aboard The Oriental Caravan - our next stop Xian, home of the Terracotta Army, and thence to our destination, the ancient Chinese capital of Peking. Until then, our very best wishes,


Phil and all aboard The Oriental Caravan

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As the Dunhuang Express thunders its way through the desert night, though all the world might sleep, the offices of The Oriental Caravan never close!


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'Return of the Night Soil Collectors' - revolutionary opera makes a comeback in Zhangye

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Sunrise in the Gobi (J. Ludlow)

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             Revised and last updated: November 20th 2013. Links