Thursday, September 2, 2010
Meet the Uyghurs
Xinjiang's resident population are the Uyghrs, a Turkic people of Central Asia. Their culture and customs are more similar to Muslim areas -- and they speak Chinese, which is not their native tongue, just about as poorly, in some cases, as me.
Layla and I happened to be traveling during Ramadan --the Muslim time of worship when they aren't allowed to eat or drink from sunrise to sunset-- which made finding a restaurant that was open during the day.
Also, China is technically all in one timezone, despite being spread out across three. But the locals recognize their own local time, so if it's 8 p.m. in Beijing, it's 6 p.m. local Xinjiang time.
The people we came in contact with were extremely pleasant and helpful, due largely in part to the fact that we were foreigners.