Friday, July 29

Urumuqi July 29 7:05 PM

Tomorrow I leave for Beijing to drown in her noise.

Tomorrow I will leave Xinjiang and I will leave you there.

A two day train ride that will cross through small towns, ancient cities, and the Gobi desert,

will help me purge myself from you.

I will leave your face in one of it's quiet towns.

I will bury memories of you in it's ancient cities.

I will leave your name in the sands of the Gobi.

I will forget.

I will try.

Even if it kills me.

Tomorrow I leave for Beijing to drown in her noise.

Tuesday, July 26

almost penniless. very bohemian

i need to go to beijing. but i have to wait for 3 days. aaaaargh.

Sunday, July 24

the one with the shittiest day that turned out to be ok after all




Saturday, July 23

Urumuqi 22 July 2005 12:05 am

I am eating my polur (pilaf - think fried rice or paella) in this small family owned restaurant just outside Er Dao Qiao, owned by a Uygur man named Abulikim. I like eating here. The restaurant is nothing fancy. In fact, it is anything but fancy. The pilaf is cheap, it's flavors enticing and the rice that slowly melts in your mouth helps you realize that this place is unpretentious. I was able to look at the owner's eyes when he offered me some tea. They were sincere and proud and musical at the same time. When I saw his eyes, that was the time that I realized thatI made the right decision in eating in a less touristy place.

Seated outside, I am sharing a table with a mother and daughter eating polur on the same plate. They seem happy, contented by the humble polur on their plate. The daughter, about nine years old, i think, looks at me with her big, brown and naive eyes. She's probably wondering why I was writing in a restaurant instead of eating pilaf or kebab. Then she shyly looks the other way, chewing her pilaf and all, when I recognize her stare.

A while ago, there was a tired-looking woman wearing a sequint black dress with a daughter who passed by and asked for some tea. She was given one. She did not pay. They willingly gave her a drink.

I see a sense of belonging and shared responsibility among the Uygurs. Something that I do not see among the proud Hans (Chinese) or the Filipinos.

I am humbled.


21 July 2005, 8 pm Beijing time.

I am finally here. Almost 40++ hours of rough track, 60 sticks of Zhong Nan Hai, 2 bottles of mineral water, and 5 hours of the worst sleep I've had in my life... I am here.

My first destination is Urumuqi's Central Market, Er Dao QIao, they call it. Er Dao Qiao is a gargantuan bazaar that Uygur knives, Uygur clothes, Tibetan hats (which, I must confess,immediately bought once I saw one!), Hotan jades, Chinese silk, Chinese antiques, Chinese faux antiques and even Russian dolls. I am sitting in an outdoor cafethat sells hami (melon) bingqilin (icecream) - the Uygur peoples sorbetes. The hami ice cream i'm eating right now tastes so amazing, and to be honest, mildly erotic! (probably because of the man who served me the binqilin!).

Suprisingly, the weather is not that bad in Urumuqi. I was expecting it to be unforgiving like the weather in Xi'an, but instead it was so welcoming. It's already half-past eight but it's still daylight and people are everywhere! All of them beautiful and walking, chattering, eating, taking pictures and shit in this festive funk. I could see the Uygurs, the Hans, a trickle of Europeans and Americans, and of course, the quintessential Japanese tourists with their patented sun-hat-and-camera-look. I guess I am the only Filipino here. I am truly alone (for the first time) and it doesn't make me sad. Tonight, I will revel in my solitude. I shall celebrate it. Like all the people in this bazaar who seem to celebrate their just being here.

Wednesday, July 20

things to do when you are on a 42 hour train ride in china

Hehe. Someone from friendster sent me this message when he learned that I was going backpacking in NWChina. Suprisingly, I actually did some of the things he suggested.

things to do when you are on a 42 hour train-ride in china:
courtesy of danMig

  1. try to spot the greatwaLL(1hour) actually did that. saw one along the way
  2. read ancient chinese history(5mins) no way i'm doing that! read something. but was feeling too shitty to read so i stopped reading.
  3. faLL fast asLeep fLat on your ass(11:55hours) slept for 5 hours tops. even drooled for the first two hours.
  4. make breath sLates on the window and draw genitaLas(30:mins) wanted to but i was on the f%$#in aisle seat! i actually wanted to do the titanic-hand-on-the-car-window-thing. f$ck&t, i gotta do that when i go home.
  5. evesdrop on other cabins(2:30 hours) f&^%in aisle seat!? besides, they wouldn't let me in the cabins coz that assh@le attendant kept askin for my train ticket and id. another thing is my chinese is sooo shitty and one passenger told me that she could here like 4 or 5 dialects being spoken on the carriage.
  6. finish 42 sticks of maLboros everyhour erm, more like 60.
  7. apreciate the ride by thinkin how $#!+Y the phiLippine raiL system is(aLL the time) you know, i actually did that. for real.
  8. savour the finest chinese haLLucenagenic herbs by the art of tea(1hour) hehe. brought my own tea. i think they were very effective, coz i kept seeing chinese people! lolz
  9. feeL d rush&high baby!(12hours) well i felt it alright, the RUSH, that is. imagine being on an overcrowded carriage, like it's sooo overcrowded that people have to sleep UNDER your seat and you can't even move your feet because you might hit a head or a breast or something. everybody's going for the toilet so you have to hold your pee for like an eternity before you could finally pee on a hole (you could see the tracks below, yeah people, very keanu reeves in speed). people either pushing you or stealing your seat or sometimes "borrowing" it for a while (like 3 hours, it was ok, i got tired of sitting anyways). and asking where you're from, ( i honestly wanted to tell them that i was from kiribati but i didn't know the chinese name for it). yeah, i felt it alright.
  10. withdraw/tweak(12hours) felt like i was tweaking for the whole goddamn ride! and i wasn't even high f#&kit!
wasnt that fun?

well, i have to say that it was harsh. but it was also beautiful. it was a great experience. i actually felt like crying and singin some julie andrews while do some spinning and shit. i'll tell you 'bout it some other time. meanwhile, i gotta go coz i seriously need a major piss. where's the bathroom?