Kashi . . .

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

The host city for the 2012 ‘Racing the Planet’ Gobi March was Kashi (aka Kashgar), China.  http://www.4deserts.com/gobimarch/    If you consult your handy maptlas, you’ll find Kashi on the far Western ( metric for left ) side of the country wedged between the friendly nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Here’s a link with all the boring history:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashgar

Kashi is one of the places the Chinese media doesn’t always like to discuss.  It seems the people of Kashi ( mostly Islamic folks called Uighurs ) don’t really like being part of China and would like some more religious freedom.  For some strange reason China has a problem with that, so let’s just say there are some ‘tensions’ in the region and the occasional ‘incident’. 

Arriving in Kashi a day early allowed me the opportunity to wander the city with three other American racers I had met in the Beijing airport.  We went pretty much anywhere we wanted and NEVER felt threatened.  Whatever issues exist in the region, none of it is directed toward foreigners.  Seriously, no kidding at all.

At the center of Kashi is a statue of Mao.  You’ll probably remember him from the middle little Stockdale’s ‘communist in training’ t-shirt.  The further away from Beijing you get, the bigger the statues of Mao become.  The biggest Mao statue is in Tibet.  ( hmmmmmm ?  ? ? ? ? )

Parts of Kashi are fairly well developed, although you’d never be able to forget where you were.

There is also the old city of Kashi which is being re-developed / re-habbed.  This part of town is literally a thousand years old.  There was a huge amount of construction going on in the old city.  However, that begs the question as to whether this development is being done to make the Uighurs happy or to turn the place into a giant tourist town.  Regardless, this was the fascinating part that I’ll never forget.

There were also some parts of Kashi that looked/felt pretty darn normal.

Overall Kashi was a very cool place, however there is very little reason for anyone to come here, unless you’re clueless enough to run around the desert for seven days.

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