What street scenes? Many bikes (as in other places of China, I guess), at the road crossings,
The three masked women, selling watches, wallets, umbrellas, and other petty things and the Uygur (probably) man passing by, having a look. Notice the women wear gloves, they do not have it easy sitting there all day long, and the mask, I don’t know. . . . . . it is not very polluted here, it is probably the result of propaganda about bird flu or other easily transmitted disease; masks are seen everywhere in Korla, and also in Beijing; I guess in other pats of China, the masks manufacturers and sellers have a bright future. . . .
These men did not at all care about the photographer, what they were doing or watching is much more important than the “Long Nose” gesturing with his camera and asking if he could make a picture.
Other random pictures. . .
Main picture: Masked street vendors
Picture 2: What is this game? Whatever the name, it seems very interesting. . . .
Picture 3: Pink bus and police woman
Picture 4: Modern and more classical fashion. . . .
Picture 5: I do not remember how tall I am. . . . Here, this woman has the solution, she has a measure and you can be measured; other can weight you, tell you your blood pressure. . . .
Walking in the streets gives the opportunity to see the different people of this city; of course there is a majority of Han Chinese, but there are also Mongols, Uygurs, Tibetans, and probably others; but I am not able to make a difference between people, and if the Han are generally easily identified (and, even, I noticed I was sometimes wrong) I could only identify the other if they had a typical artefact (generally a cap, a scarf, a long beard. . ).
I do not forget people are more and more mixed, and to me, it is important to have an identity, to show it why not, but these are all human and I do not mind to “identify” the communities, the individuals are important, the persons; saying that, I am aware I may have “stolen” a little bit of the images of some persons, but the ones you see here are here with their consent (ah, not on VT, but I asked for taking the pictures, or showed it by gestures).
On street scenes (next “tip”), of course it is different, and the pictures have been taken “just like that”
Main picture: Smile of a Uygur woman, behind her stall, selling bread
Picture 2: A cook preparing mantis on a small street restaurant; not a Han chinese
Picture 3: Uygur man selling fruit, bread and other foods.
Picture 4: Restaurant keeper at the night food –mall.
Picture 5: Happy guys, bright smiles, night restaurant outside.
The riverbed of the Kongqi river flowing through Korla is fully artificial; the banks have been laid out that people can have a rest, just sitting, even going on small boats or playing in the gardens nearby.
It was winter when I was there, and even during that season, there are many people who enjoy he fresh air on the riverbanks.
Walking there is relaxing, you can watch people canoeing, playing with their kites, just sitting there, and even look at the African fauna of the recreation park on the left bank! hahaha
Main picture: Saturday late afternoon, on the right bank, north of the bridge, people enjoy the last sun light of the day. It was not very sunny when I was in Korla and it was nice to see some sun on the river.
Picture 2: Sitting close to the water and having a chat.
Picture 3: A kite above Kongqi river; playing kite is very common.
Picture 4: Nein, das ist nicht Dornröschen's Schloß !
Picture 5:Africa? No, only concrete zebras in the amusement park, left bank of river.
Like many places in central Asia, Korla has a lot to offer as it goes for dry fruits. As I sometimes was not in the mood for a lunch, I just walked to a place not far from the telecom building and bought some fruits; I am not afraid of high calories food, so, a bit nuts (their coquille is not thick and they are easy to open), a handful raisins, few apricots, and that was my lunch, with a bottle of water.
Seriously, that kind of food and way of feeding is very healthy, if there is no abuse (I mean, eating to much); people living in the desert, travellers very often eat mostly dry fruits for several days or even weeks; for me, lunch every second day was very good, and I really enjoyed walking in Korla and having lunch at the same time.
Main picture: Raisins, several types, apples, tomatoes, apricots, figs, dried fruit and naturally dry fruit: nuts, almonds,. . . . mmmm, difficult to choose; a few walnuts may be, the vendor explains (and demonstrates) their shell is not that hard, and they can easily be broken. Let’s go for walnuts today.
Picture 2: nuts, almonds, all these fruits look nice, I like markets when you see the products, not when already packed. . .
Picture 3:There are so many vendors, is there one better than the other? Probably good negotiation, bargaining skills are needed to make the best choice; people have time to discuss and choose, not like in a supermarket.
A dinner in open air, in the midst of thousands of smells and voices, helped to keep morale on rather high level in Korla. On a square, opposite the Telecom building, each evening, people install tables, chairs, barbecues and other cooking devices, and very soon the area is packed with people who have dinner there. There is choice between the Chinese food with noodles, roasted pork or duck, some strange (unnamed) meals and central Asian kebab (I almost wrote shashliks!!) and Uygur barbecued mutton. It is possible to have very simple meals, shashliks, beer (local Sinkiang, very refreshing. . . ) and fresh fruit, all for less than 20 Yuan (2 Euros) . After dinner, a walk in the streets before coming back to the hotel is a good digestive activity.
Main picture: All this you can eat at my place!!; well, as the guy does not speak any language I know neither do I know his language, we will have to communicate with eyes and hands; we finally came on an agreement on what I will eat with the kebabs.
Picture 2: Soy salad with kebabs. The kebabs have been prepared in a nearby place, the beer bought at another place; I will pay only one person and they manage later who gets what, no worries.
Picture 3: It is an interesting overall ambience in this “food-mall” (not a food court in Asiatic meaning), there is a lot of noise from people shouting, calling, presenting their meals and food specialities, lots of scents, grilled meat, grilled pork skin, charcoal,, fish, many sorts of food to be seen everywhere.
Picture 4: Another view of the food-mall; you eat among the barbecues and other cooking devices.
Chinese people are hardworking people and like everybody they need a rest during the day. In Korla, the watches are on the same time as in Beijing, but the sun is of course 2 hours later; Works begins early and there are one break in every half of the day; the employees of the company I visited use the break time 100%! Some play ping pong, other a sort of an office football game ((or net ball, I do not know the name, they play with feet), many go out for a walk and chat, and some make . . . . gymnastics, the one recommended by the party, as during the breaks a martial, optimistic music is broadcasted, to help people to keep morale. All people take advantage of the break, from top to bottom of the company as it seems.
I was invited to play ping pong (euuuuuh, I could measure the galaxies I am away from their ping pong skills!), soft ball (I was better), and other activities; I politely declined gymnastics. . . . and they were not at all offended, hahaha!
Main picture: Ready to play! People pay in teams and the games are taken quite seriously; you also see how an engineering-exploration office looks like in a Chinese oil company. I will not show more. . . .
Picture 2:Women play also; there is no discrimination at work, and so they are allowed to play as well.
Picture 3:In an office like this one, if you loose the ping pong ball between the rolls and stacks of maps and documents, you may find back the map you were looking for last week. . . hihi; may be not, my Chinese colleagues seemed to know every square centimetre of their office.
Picture 4:Hahaha, what is this? Just a piece of rock (we call it a “plug”) cut as a mini-core, in a bigger core coming from the drilling for oil or gas; many physical measurements are done on these pieces of rock, but sometimes they are very useful as paper holders, just to keep your paper on the desk in case of wind from the ventilator or when the door opens. . . . I do not know what the Chinese writing means. . .
FromEarly morning to late in the night there are people and there is some animation on the central square of Korla ; this square is a bit strange with its Chinese post soviet (the name and designation are from me!! Haha!!) decoration: paper flowers (in fact plastified paper, it lasts longer) used to make bigger flowers, mushrooms, arches and other objects. It looks a bit like in a theme park, except it is here in everyday environment; to me it looks the municipality (or other government body) thinks people need an environment which generates optimism, and this is part of it; I can agree, there is not a lot to do here in the far west and any means to help living is used (here I do not agree, but I am not here for politics or philosophy).
Main picture:The main monument statue and paper flower balls beside.
Picture 2:A close look at the arch; paper flowers, umbrellas fitted on a iron wire frame.
Picture 3:View from East to West; arch, monument, official building. . .
Picture 4:The strange mushrooms and the families passing by.
Picture 5:Chinese style decorated kiosk; nice to read the newspaper in a quiet place.
Early morning, walking in the streets near the hotel, I noticed people carrying plastic bags coming from a small street; I decided to go the opposite way, to see what they may have in they bags and where it comes from. Very soon, I stepped on a small more or less informal market, where vendors displayed their products on the street. I visited this market for half an hour, and the people there were beginning to wrap up (8.00 am !!).
I felt very frustrated not being able to communicate with the people there, I would have liked to ask if this was a legal market, a sort of a kolkhosian market (the peasants bringing their production and very quickly returning to their “normal” job), just know what was happening there; why this market was already closing. . ? I hope it was not the sight of a foreigner. . .
Mostly food was there, meat, fish, vegetables, milk, everything you need, looked fresh and clean (despite being displayed on the ground).
Main picture: The mutton meat sold by this young peasant has been inspected by veterinary services, as the blue stamps seem to show it; no risk when eating kebab at a street stall; axe, wooden block and balance are there as good business accessories
Picture 2:Other butchers; they sell mutton as well; they are probably muslims, so do not expect to find pork in the area.
Picture 3:Nice looking carps coming from the nearby river or more probably ponds. In central Asia do not expect to find fresh sea fishes, only fishes from sweet waters.
Picture 4:The peasants bring their products on this market: fresh vegetables.
Picture 5:And these are the vehicles they use coming from the countryside and the farms; Few minutes later they were loading thep up, still early morning.
I discovered on the WWW that Korla was well known for its pears; I though, well, in March, I will not see or taste a lot. I was wrong! My Chinese counterparts offered me pears during working sessions breaks and I found also on street stalls on the big square place. This pear is very juicy and has a bit a crispy consistency ; it tastes very sweet and has a little flower perfume. This pear is well known in China and contributes to the wealth of many people in Sing kiang. Chinese use modern conservation techniques, so they can be found on markets from October, when they are picked, to April-May. In March, the orchards looked a bit. . . sad and desolate.
Eating a pear as desert after lunch is quite nice; one pear costs 3 Yuan (0.3 Euro), at two stalls located on the Eastern side of the central square, but they are generally sold by weight.
There is a big Korla pear company, but it has no website, most information on the web is about financial wealth of this company.
Main picture:Here is this famous pear, wrapped in a foamy net, precious fruit.
Picture 2:among other delicious fruits
Picture 3:There are few stall selling “luxury” fruits on the Eastern side of the big square; it is nice to stop there and by a fruit and eat it while walking around.
Picture 4:A big carton with the fruits; the Korla pear is exported in many countries in Asia and in Europe.
Picture 5:The orchards look a bit desolate in march; the flowers will bloom in a few fays and the scenery must be wonderful. . . I have to return immediately!!
The central square of Korla is decorated in a “realist-socialist” style, using modern sculpture, landscaping, very kitschy and traditional decoration. It is the meeting point of people early morning, but also during the rest of the day for whatever people want to do and on week ends there are also attractions for the children. I am not used to see that kind of kitschy decoration with plastic-paper flowers forming arches, mushrooms, flowers. . . . and in the nearby place a small kiosk in Islamic style. . .The place is very when the early morning gym is finished and people seem relaxed.
Main picture:The monument on the western side of the square, looks very socialist-realistic !!I cannot read Chinese to explain what it could represents; coloured columns, golden statues, different materials. . . well, not exactly my taste, but it may be the taste of many people here.
Picture 2:Spring is coming and the delicate green colour of the trees reminded me every morning when looking from the window of my room.
Picture 3:Paper flowers used to form bright coloured arches; may be bright colours maintain morale and the politicians use this to keep morale of the workers in their paradise. . . .
Picture 4:Isn’t it nice? I want the same at home!!
Picture 5:Nice little kiosk (except the brick base) and covered alley in Islamic style; people sit there and have a chat or read the news.
Those who know me (in VT, but not only) expect I tell (write, in the present case) know that they will see pictures of a market. The market of Korla seems to be very big, I am not sure I explored it completely during two lunchtimes;
The open market is on two main streets where fruit and vegetables coexist with all sorts of small items going from watches to mirrors, grocery and even antique. . .
There is also a covered part of the maket, which being mainly Chinese, I would have wished to share some of the smells which were there. . . . . . (no stupid racism, it is like that and it is good, as nobody, except racist or stupid tourists complain and emit judgements); pictures in the dark buildings do not give even a very little idea of what smells the air carries. . . . I was probably there (noon) when it was not very busy, and the crowds might be much more packed when business is going on at full regime.
Main picture: Pineapples, whole, artistically pealed, ready to eat, or small pieces on sticks; the lady wearing the mask reminds that there is endemic avian flu in China, or may be she thinks only of pollution.
Picture 2: The main street to the market is a bit crowded and it is not aesy to drive through, either for the bike or for the cart with tangerines .
Picture 3:The light blue eggs are duck eggs; do people here eat them the same way as chicken (hen!!, haha) eggs?
Picture 4: You may buy the cucumbers only because they have a nice yellow flower!
Picture 5: Not only food on the market: fake watches with jewellery on the left, clothes, right. . . you find everything you need in Korla!
You can go to the nameless ruin near the Qigexing ruin. You don't need to get any permission or pay the entrance fees. There was an ancient Buddhist city. 2000 plus year old potteries and skulls are there. There is an amazing ruin more than other one in Xinjiang.