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   X   Ī        N  J   I    Ā     N  G    X ī nji ā ng means ‘New Frontier’ and the province’s far-flung geography has placed it in the bull’s eye of competing powers for centuries. Fiercely independent, the people of the region have never really been  independent. Today, X ī nji ā ng ‘belongs’ to China, having been inex-tricably tethered to the Middle Kingdom for centuries in an endless push-pull relationship, one which China today maintains in strict form.X ī nji ā ng is like a whole other country enclosed within China’s borders. Here the language is not just a different dialect, it’s a completely different linguistic family; and it’s no longer about whether you dip your dumplings in soy sauce or vinegar, it’s how you want your mutton cooked. What lies within such desolate lands that motivates faraway Be  ǐ   j ī ng? A thumbnail sketch: it’s larger than Alaska (one-sixth of China’s territory); hyper-rich with Silk Road history; popu-lated by a mixed salad of nearly 50 ethnic minorities; geopolitically crucial, as it borders eight nations; and encompasses a geographical palette of shimmering desert aquarelles, taiga pastureland dotted with flocks of sheep and grand mountain ranges. Oh, and it sits atop 30% of China’s oil reserves.It’s also woefully underappreciated by most of the tourists hopping off planes in the friendly invasion that is the modern Grand Tour of China. But this is quickly changing, as China ramps up the region’s infrastructure and tourism PR. The ultimate goal, far down the line, for B ě ij ī ng, is to reestablish ‘caravans’ of travellers along the old Silk Road. X ī nji ā ng 新疆   POPULATION: 20.3 MILLION  HIGHLIGHTS   Trade a camel for a bus (or donkey cart) and hit the Silk Road  ( p839 ) or the preternatu-rally lovely Karakoram Hwy  ( p838 )    Intoxicate yourself with alpine air and hunt for China’s Nessie at Kanas Lake  ( p844 )    Haggle happily and munch kebabs in Kash-gar  ( p836 ), one of Asia’s greatest crossroads    Sing campfire songs around a Kazakh yurt at Ti ā n Chí   ( p827 )    Sweat your soul out at the Flaming Moun-tains  ( p830 ) around Turpan; munch grapes afterwards MountainsSilk RoadFlamingTiƒn Chí LakeKanasHwyKarakoramKashgar  817 © Lonely Planet Publications

Metta Pattern

Jul 23, 2017


Jul 23, 2017
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