We got up in Korla (庫爾勒) that day and went on our way to Turpan (吐鲁番) covering 404 kilometres in about 6 hours. We arrived in Turpan by late afternoon and saw these rectangular structures with grid like holes in the walls at the top of some hills. Siubo explained to us that this is where the locals would hang their grapes and dry them into raisins. Apparently, Turpan is famous for their production of grapes and these structures allow for good circulation for them to naturally air dry as opposed to sun dried. We found that we much preferred the raisins from Turpan as opposed to the ones we get back home. It seems like air drying would minimize the caramelizing of sugar inside the raisin causing it to be less sweet. As well, it was much more organic in that the raisins are still recognizable as grapes and come in all sorts of sizes.
After leaving the grape houses, we went on our way to Jiaohe Ruins (交河故城). Jiaohe was built in the middle of the river with natural 30 meter cliffs protecting it on all sides. It was said to be the capital of the Anterior Jushi Kingdom (車師) from 108 BC to 450 AD and became known as the Jiao Prefecture from 450 AD to 640 AD. After which, it became the highest level military post in the west due to its natural defense walls until its invasion and destruction by Genghis Khan in the 13th century.
It was another scorching day with barely a cloud in the sky and once again, there were barely anyone there. I think we ran into maybe ten people max? And really, this was a pretty big site.
We followed what seemed like the yellow brick road.
Looking out the side of the city to the greenery below. I guess this is where the river used to run through, and although its dried up, there's probably still quite a bit of ground water to sustain all the plants.
Annie and I walking into the Great Hall.
That night in Turpan (吐鲁番) , we were excited to be in the city again and went to stock up on some snacks at the grocery store. We were surprised at the variety of seasoned vacuum packed poultry snacks available. We didn't get any though, we just stuck with our usual assortments of cookies, cakes, and chips. While exploring their cold meat section, we also found prepackaged dog meat among the usual lamb, chicken, and beef.
Left: the wall of vacuum packed chicken legs, wings, thighs and feet in various flavours.
Right: Flo couldn't help but pose with a chicken thigh. :)
Today was our longest travel day yet! We went from Turpan (吐鲁番) to Dunhuang (敦煌), which is in the neighbouring Gansu province (甘肅省). We didn't do much besides stopping to use the washroom or stretch our legs while getting gas. Total distance traveled today amounted to 801 kilometers in about thirteen hours! This was the stretch that Siubo didn't really want to do with our strict timelines, but ended up doing because we really wanted to. Even after driving close to nonstop the whole day, we only got to Dunhuang for dinner around ten and went to bed after. Full day of sites awaits us tomorrow!