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Thursday, 29 January 2009

The answer

Some of the kitties have guessed right - it is the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, China. It is the western region of the Gobi Desert. "Taklamakan" means once you enter, you would not be able to get out. The hint in the picture comes from the camels (not ugly horses, Fin! Hehehe!) - the Bactrian camels have two humps as opposed to the African camels which only have one. That points to Asia rather than Africa.

The picture was taken near a small oasis at the foot of the southern slope of the Tienshan Mountains. These camels belong to the few families who live in the oasis. They very generously invited us in for goat milk tea and some (very hard and dry) bread. The bread, once baked, was meant to last for days. There is a huge Bronze age camp site 'nearby' (actually well over an hour of slow bumpy drive in a 4 WD along a dried up river bed and mountain 'track').

The closest city is the fabled Silk Road town of Hami.....


Ten years ago, nomads were still riding along the dusty roads of the town where very colourful carts were set up, selling anything from handcrafted daggers to fur-lined vests and hats. Now the place has turned into tree-lined avenues of shops, apartment blocks and public buildings - a typical Chinese city. SS mourns the passing of a era.

Within the present city, only small remnants of the past can be seen, such as the Mausoleum of the Muslim rulers of the past.....


Just a short distance outside the city, nature claims its own. The desert pf Lop Nor reigns supreme...


The ruined city of Loulan is 100km ahead.

This is the base of a ruin in the desert from the Han Dysnasty (~200BC-200AD). A bronze age burial was found nearby, complete with a beautifully preserved mummy, textiles and implements.

The temperature was over 50C (122F) at the time. SS, what were you doing out there? Did you want to turn into a dried up mummy too?

15 comments:

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Wow! What a fascinating place.

Fin said...

Cool, makes my parents vacation photos look a little dull.

Cory said...

That's really amazing MoMo! I never get to go anywhere so I love seeing other places in the world.

(there's no place like home, there's no place like home....)

The Island Cats said...

We don't think we would like it there cuz it gets so hot! But it looks like an interesting place!

Sweet Praline said...

What an interesting place, but it's too hot for me.

meemsnyc said...

That looks like a wonderful place to visit!

Forever Foster said...

Wowwee, Momo! SS sure had an interesting trip! What amazing things to see. Hahaha our guess was a little bit close (just too many humps and wrong hemisphere! hahahaha!).

Leslie said...

Wow!! Brilliant post!!! :)

Cat with a garden said...

Momo, that is such a cool idea! We hope you have much more material for post like this. How interesting (standing on tiptoes with eyes really wide right now)!!! In German we have two names for the ugly horses: Dromedar and Kamel. Our mom is silly and doesn't remember which one has one and which one two humps...

Alasandra said...

What a neat place thank you for telling us about it. Your SS leads a very interesting life.

We thinks that it was too hot there though. ~S, S & C

-d ma said...

i wanna go there. it looks cool (well not cool temperature wise but cool neat wise.)

Tom and Tama-Chan said...

Wonderful photos! They make us want to pack our bags and GO!

Hansel said...

da HANS dynasty?! mai ancestors RULED da WERLD!

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Fasinating...we neffur go anywhere and either does mom. She learned about da difference in camels waaaaaaay back in skool. Da Dromedary haf one hump and if turned sideways looks like a 'D' and da Bactrian (hehehe like bactine) haf two humps and make a 'B'. Easy peezy!

Dr Tweety of da Fab Five said...

Momo,

I sure hopes your momee doez nots turn intoez a mummee. yikes! I couldz gets some of da momeez here skin cream... dis might help. But if your mummee, eggscuze me... your MOMEE gets too dried up, den she will be likes da camel pilez dats burnz. Pleeze do nots lets SS gets to hot. You wouldz be evfun madder den when you waz on da roof.