Photo of the Week
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While I suspect people no longer check the Yak Yak, here, as promised, are my photos of the trip. http://picasaweb.google.com/gilbertnathaniel

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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Photos Online

Nathaniel Gilbert,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

While I suspect people no longer check the Yak Yak, here, as promised, are my photos of the trip. http://picasaweb.google.com/gilbertnathaniel

Posted On

09/25/07

Author

Nathaniel Gilbert

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I was looking today at the itinerary that Jenn send us by email and it all made sense to me. Throughout these days people don't stop asking me about China, my response has always being amazing the best time of my life. That never is enough they want to know details and I simply say there are no words to describe what I experienced in China. I don't know why I say that because I can write a book of describing everything that happened I also thought maybe it's my lazy self not wanting to talk about it over and over again. As I read my itinerary I realized that I could sit somebody down and describe everything I saw and went through but would they really know what I am saying? Do they actually know what Karakul lake meant to me? Or the Sand dunes in the Gobi Desert? or the homestay in Hotan? Did they sleep in the sauna and mosquito hell that was Hotan? Can they go back and laugh with the people that also slept in Hotan and went to the bathroom in Hotan? Do they know what it is to be inside the room in Hotan while Sam, George and Jacob sleep in the tent they bought very comfortably? No the truth is they can't understand. That is why being home has been this difficult for me, nobody gets what China was to me in other words nobody gets what the most incredible part of my life was. Back home in Puerto Rico everything is so material everything is a competition and coming back I realized I was that too and am scared of with time becoming that again. I love my friends here they are incredible friends but my friends before I came from China knew everything that composed my life and everything I had been through. They knew how it feel to be dumped, they know how horrible it was for me to have lost my father and they knew how I felt when I was happy. Coming back my friends don't know how I feel about China and how I felt being there. It has been hell being home because I was separated from the people that made my six weeks so incredible, from the people that understand what I experienced and I miss these people like crazy! I sometimes find myself at school in my usual mental trip thinking about China and laughing hysterically of the things we did. The point is that there are a thousand words to describe this what I saw but not a word to describe how I felt. The only thing I can say is that China was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I thatnk the Silk Roaders for that. I love you and miss you guys sooooooo fucking much, as I always say haha.

ps. sorry for any grammatical errors you guys know how it goes with me ... haha [post_title] => the best thing ... [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-best-thing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2007-08-18 00:00:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 1970-01-01 00:00:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://yakyak.chandigarhsoftware.com/?p=55642 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 473 [name] => Silk Road, Summer 2007 [slug] => silk-road-summer-2007 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 473 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 260 [count] => 11 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 32.1 [cat_ID] => 473 [category_count] => 11 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Silk Road, Summer 2007 [category_nicename] => silk-road-summer-2007 [category_parent] => 260 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2007/silk-road-summer-2007/ ) ) [category_links] => Silk Road, Summer 2007 )

Silk Road, Summer 2007

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the best thing …

Juliana "Ju",Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

I was looking today at the itinerary that Jenn send us by email and it all made sense to me. Throughout these days people don’t stop asking me about China, my response has always being amazing the best time of my life. That never is enough they want to know details and I simply say […]

Posted On

08/18/07

Author

Juliana "Ju"

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Cheese

After our wonderful trek through the Altai mountains, the group returned to Buarjin and then made its way to Urumchi. A fairly large city, Urumchi has a lot to offer from bookstores to movie theaters to underground French shopping malls. The first time I visited such a mall (the Carrefour) I was a little overwhelmed. There was so much to look at and it was totally disorganized to the clothes led into snacks which led into the fish section and then back into electronics. I managed to find my way to the snack aisle where I and many of m fellow "Silkies" stocked up on goodles for the long train ride. I also came accross the refrigerated foods aisle where we bought yoghurt snacks and milk (for Nesquik, of course). Aside from all of that, I found the single best item in that store- Laughing Cow cheese. Its like soft brie crossed with swiss and is AMAZING. It tasted especially amazing compared to the yak's milk cheese we tried in the yurt that was hard, salty and sour.

Aside from all of the food, Simon and I are now small time celebrities in the Carrefour in Urumchi. We took some hilarious pictures in a photo booth there and the woman who owned the stand asked if she could put a copy of us up on the outside. We we came back the next time (and the other five times that we went there in total) we were there! It was so exciting to see (Amelie, anyone?).

Now we are in Dunhuang and had a wonderful day yesterday. We went to the Buddhist grottoes in the morning that consist of hundreds and hundreds of caves in a mountainside that contain religious statues and painings that are thousands of years old and reflect the centuries of religious pilgrims that have travelled the Silk Road. In the evening we played on the sand dunes just outside of town. We all climbed up to the peak (a really difficult hike up a steep, snady slope) and took tons of photos and videos as we tumbled down the face. I got most of the sand off of my skin and out of my ears and mouth but my hair is quite a different story.

CHEESE!

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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Cheese

Natalie,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

Cheese After our wonderful trek through the Altai mountains, the group returned to Buarjin and then made its way to Urumchi. A fairly large city, Urumchi has a lot to offer from bookstores to movie theaters to underground French shopping malls. The first time I visited such a mall (the Carrefour) I was a little […]

Posted On

07/31/07

Author

Natalie

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The Altai Mountains, how to describe them? There's only one word really: wow. The first day consisted of about 10 hours of rigorous hiking uphill through the rocky mountain ridges from our staring point in Humu Village, trying to move quick in order to avoid the "204" park rangers that would undoubtedly have given us a fee for hiking in "their" natural reserve park (they caught us anyway, but only because of a bunch of Han tourists that were easily visible riding horseback behind us). That night we busted out the tents and settled down next to a native altai village consisting of about 100 really noisy goats and a couple lewd camels. We made camp, had the usual trek dinner of cooked Ramen noodles. The next morning we headed out again, making our way once again across the beautiful mountain landscapes and loving every minute of it. We stopped that night in another little Kazakh village, and this night it was just cold enough that Jen and Eric could procure a yert for us to sleep in from the locals. Freakin' sweet! Another night of ramen, but that night we slept under the warm blankets and cozy carpet walls within the yerts. Sam must have eaten something weird, he just couldn't stop farting (a problem that alot of people had that night), and the Kazakh woman watching us intently from the yert next door found that hilarious, she would just start laughing every time Sam came outside. There were still alot of noisy animals, but they quieted down soon enough and we got a good night sleep. The third day was alot shorter than the other days (only about 5 hours of trekking), but it was still just as, if not more, enjoyable than the other days. A lot of the walking was downhill as we moved out of the at last descended out of the mountain ranges. We moved into heavily wooded areas, heavily populated by cows and some very sharp-horned bulls. The scenery was once again beautiful, especially now that we got to compare the forest region of the Altais to the mountain views that we had been admiring for the past two days. Finally we made it to our finishing point in Kanas, and after a hasty but much-needed lunch there we caught a bus back to Bu Er Jin, which is where we are right now, after just having finished the first breakfast in a few days that didn't consist of pieces of Chinsese snak bar and porridge (not to say that those weren't good too). Later today we'll catch another bus back to Urumqi, and from there its a 20 hr train ride to Dunhuang. After Dunhuang its off to Xining, and from there its back to Beijing, the final destination on our Silk Road excursion (Wow, the time has really flown by). Bye for now! -Jon

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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Altais: Trekking Close to the Clouds

Jon,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

The Altai Mountains, how to describe them? There’s only one word really: wow. The first day consisted of about 10 hours of rigorous hiking uphill through the rocky mountain ridges from our staring point in Humu Village, trying to move quick in order to avoid the "204" park rangers that would undoubtedly have given us […]

Posted On

07/27/07

Author

Jon

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The Silk Road is back--in more ways than one. What a trip it has been! When I look back on the past month I see a lot of camels, noodles, goats, faces smiling, faces crying, dirty backpacks and over-crowded bus stations. I also see the glaciated craggy peaks of the Pamirs, the rolling desert sands of the Taklamakan, the street terraces of Turpan clothed grape vines, the rich green wetness of the Altai mountains, intricate hand-woven tapestries hanging in yurts or dressing the shop windows of Kashgar.

I look at the map of Xinjiang and trace with my finger how far we have come. I open it up further, touch Urumqi, look to Beijing. Two weeks and a few thousand more miles to go!

Travelling this ancient trade route with this deep and special band of wild ones has touched my heart. We have all come so far. Where, my friends, shall we find ourselves next?

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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The Silk Road is Back!

Jenn Dinaburg,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

The Silk Road is back–in more ways than one. What a trip it has been! When I look back on the past month I see a lot of camels, noodles, goats, faces smiling, faces crying, dirty backpacks and over-crowded bus stations. I also see the glaciated craggy peaks of the Pamirs, the rolling desert sands […]

Posted On

07/26/07

Author

Jenn Dinaburg

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§ So toady, for the first time in a long while, our group is whole. Back in Urumchi a lot of people were very sick and J was hospitalized while I ha food poisoning and several other people had high fevers. We also almost lost three people recently but are SO happy that they are staying!

We are in the tiny but cute town of Bouarjin (sp??) just 600 km south of Russia, 300 km west of Kazakhstan and ~400 km east of Mongolia. On all the signs around town its Chinese, Uyghur and Russian (sometimes English) and the mixture is so unexpected and interesting. This town also has a lot of parks and playground quality exercise equipment all around and I have definately been using thm fully to rlieve stress.

Last night we had dinner out at a market where we had polo (fried rice with carrots and goat (surprise)), some nan flat bread, and eggplant. After our meal we watched the sunset over the river and did a little shopping (J finally got herself a Uyghur shirt).

Our next stop is in the Altai mountains where we will get a totally different experience trekkking. Unlike the sandy and rocky hills in the Pamirs against the huge snow capped mountains, this time we will be at a much lower elevation to begin and we will be going through thick forests. Hopefully we will get the chance to stay with some local Kazak families in yurts!!

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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§

Natalie,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

§ So toady, for the first time in a long while, our group is whole. Back in Urumchi a lot of people were very sick and J was hospitalized while I ha food poisoning and several other people had high fevers. We also almost lost three people recently but are SO happy that they are […]

Posted On

07/22/07

Author

Natalie

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Hi, All!

I just checked in with the Silk Road group. They are heading out to the Altai Mountains near the Mongolian and Kazakh borders for three days of trekking. They will not have access to email until Friday, when they reach Kanas Lake and return to the town of Buerjin to catch the overnight bus back to Urumqi. Jenn reports that after some challenging, but effective group dynamics work and some incidents of "bad belly" in Urumqi that slowed a couple of students down, everyone is now feeling physically and mentally strong and group morale is high.

The Altai Mountains will be a welcome respite from the searing heat of the Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts. The mountains, though not nearly as high as those of the Karakorum Highway, lie deep in the sub-Siberian forests of Xinjiang's northern borderlands. They are as lush, cool, forested and rich in birds, flowers and wildlife as Xinjiang's deserts are not. The group will be trekking amongst Mongolian and Kazakh nomads, who each summer carry their yurts up into the mountains on camelback in order to put their animals out to pasture in the grasslands. They are simple, rugged and friendly people who often welcome travelers into their yurts for some freshly baked bread and yak's milk. The Kazakhs and Mongolians are known throughout Xinjiang (and beyond) for their horsemanship and beautiful, handmade carpets.

You can expect to hear more from the Silk Road group on or immediately after 7/27. Cell phone reception in the Altai Mountains ranges from inconsistent to non-existent, but, in the meantime, if I hear from the group, I will post an update on the Yak board. I am sure they will have some good stories for you when they return from their trek!

Be Well,

Katie

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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Silk Road Heads Out Trekking in the Altai Mts.

Katie Hagel,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

Hi, All! I just checked in with the Silk Road group. They are heading out to the Altai Mountains near the Mongolian and Kazakh borders for three days of trekking. They will not have access to email until Friday, when they reach Kanas Lake and return to the town of Buerjin to catch the overnight […]

Posted On

07/22/07

Author

Katie Hagel

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Over the last several days the entire group has been constantly on the move. After our trek in the Pamirs where we experienced each of China's eight seasons (burning sun, clouds, pouring rain, freezing cold, hail, snow, and gale winds)we returned to Kashgar. At the time we considered it to be hot there. Hah! In Kashgar we explored the old city, went shopping at the world's largest open air market and competed in a fierce intra-group scavenger hunt (Simon and I came in second- who has ever heard of day glow green anyway??). We sadly said goodbye to Kashgar and boarded a sleeper bus to Hotan. After eight hours, we arrived and spent the night with a family of traditional paper makers from the region- some of us even got the opportunity to make paper of our own. We left Hotant he next afternoon for a 17 hour bus ride accross the Taklamakan desert to our current location in Turpan- the hottest city in China. It was 44C today... We went out "clubbing" last night in Turpan to some awesome Uyghur/Chinese remixed techno music. I'm just glad to be staying onone place- for now.

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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Kashgar to Turpan

Natalie,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

Over the last several days the entire group has been constantly on the move. After our trek in the Pamirs where we experienced each of China’s eight seasons (burning sun, clouds, pouring rain, freezing cold, hail, snow, and gale winds)we returned to Kashgar. At the time we considered it to be hot there. Hah! In […]

Posted On

07/14/07

Author

Natalie

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Hello Everyone,

The Silk Road is about to take off on a sleeper bus bound for Hotan. The bus, layered and sandwiched will little bunks, is where will be spending the next 12 hours!

The past few days we have been taking in all there is to see and do in Kashgar. We have visited the Id Kah Mosque and learned about the 5-pillars of Islam, hit the Sunday bazaar and livestock market, hung out with local Uhygur college students, executed an exciting and competitive city-wide scavenger hunt, cut the rug at a local dance hall, and have stuffed ourselves silly with Uhygur banquet after Uhygur banquet.

And, what, you may ask, is making us so ravenous? We have to fatten ourselves up after our hardy, high altitude trekking in the Pamirs! As a lover of the high snow mountains, I have to admit that the Pamirs absolutely took my breath away. Craggy, glaciated peaks rising out of the desert--I have never seen anything like it in my life!! We were challenged by the altitude and some sickness on the trek, but perserved to succesfully complete our route. On day three sleeping at our highest point on the trek, (4200m) the rain we had been listening to for most of the night softly turned to thick, wet snow! In just a couple of hours over 4 inches of snow lay on the ground!! Considering how hot we had been the previous 2 days, I think we can agree that we will now believe Ekbar when he tells us that in the Pamirs, one can experience 8 different seasons in one single day.

Well, speaking of seasons, its time to embark on the hottest part of our journey. WIsh us luck as we cross the Taklakmakan Desert!

Jenn

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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On our way to Hotan this evening!

Jenn Dinaburg,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

Hello Everyone, The Silk Road is about to take off on a sleeper bus bound for Hotan. The bus, layered and sandwiched will little bunks, is where will be spending the next 12 hours! The past few days we have been taking in all there is to see and do in Kashgar. We have visited […]

Posted On

07/8/07

Author

Jenn Dinaburg

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We're now in Kashgar and the entire group is finally here. Today we were set loose in the old section of Kashgar which is amazing - clouds of charcoal smoke wafting up from the kabob vendors, local food - kabobs, bread similar to naan and bagels, shaved ice, and more - people wearing traditional Weigar dress, and mobs a people attending the funeral of an imam. We were given 20 yuan and told to get lunch and return to the hotel several hours later. We wandered around looking for food and after many failed attempts at communicating, purchased some fantastic kabobs. After returning to the hotel we launched an expedition to purchase food for our four day trek in the Pamirs which starts tomorrow. We went to the Chinese equivalent of an Walmart and purchased the necessary supplies, ignoring the pre-packaged pig snouts and dog meat with a picture of Lassie on the front, overcoming the language barriers to purchase what we needed. We leave tomorrow for our hike and will not have Internet access until we return to Kashgar in four days.

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Silk Road, Summer 2007

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Kashgar!

Nathaniel Gilbert,Silk Road, Summer 2007

Description

We’re now in Kashgar and the entire group is finally here. Today we were set loose in the old section of Kashgar which is amazing – clouds of charcoal smoke wafting up from the kabob vendors, local food – kabobs, bread similar to naan and bagels, shaved ice, and more – people wearing traditional Weigar […]

Posted On

07/2/07

Author

Nathaniel Gilbert

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