Every year our school has two major holidays that each last 1 week, in October and in May. For this October holiday I had the privilege of traveling to Urumqi, which is the capital of the Xinjiang province, to visit some fellow teachers and friends who work there, including Weston. I traveled with Jenny and Clarissa who both teach on my city team (Qinhuangdao). We took a plane from Beijing to Urumqi and caught a 44 hour train ride back from Urumqi to Qinhuangdao.
When we were there we were able to do and see so much. I loved the opportunity to explore and experience the area. Here are some quick facts that I love about the area:
- Main Languages: Mandarin Chinese and Uighur
- Ethnicities: Uighur, Han Chinese, Kazakhs, Mongolians, and many more
- Time Zone: technically “Beijing Time”, but really “Urumqi Time” (2 hours later)
- Local Cuisine: Halal foods, pilaf, kebabs, naan bread, and more
I really enjoyed the diversity and wonderful foods. Urumqi is very different than anywhere else in China. We visited the minority museum in the city, and we were also able to explore some of the wonderful mountain ranges to the south of the city, at a mountain called “Nanshan” (along44-hour the Tianshan mountain range).
We were also able to visit the nearby city of Turpan, where we saw the Flaming Mountains, 1,000 Buddhist Caves, the Turpan Museum, and even we even rode camels.
I hope to maybe return to visit our friends again, and to explore the area even more!