Some surprises were in store as we arrived back in Urumqi.
This is a minaret in the central area of Urumqi. Again the patterns in the brickwork are a testimonial to the skills of the bricklayers.
Here is Sakorn in the central area of Urumqi with a large mosque in the background.
Inside the Urumqi bazaar this stall sells a variety of dried fruits.
Another stall sells a strange combination of musical instruments, leather saddles and fancy knives.
This carved treestump must weigh a ton. It is obviously intended for a rich local tourist or an extremely rich foreigner. It would cost a lot to ship back home.
A typical street scene with wide roads, well-directed traffic and a very broad footpath. The footpath area is shared with carparking.
People hurry to get home as a sandstorm approaches.
The air is filled with flying sand driven by a strong wind.
Surprise number one was our accommodation. It was by far the best that we have ever had, with a bedroom with a flat-screen TV, an on-suite bathroom, a dressing room and a lounge room with a second toilet and TV.
This is the lounge suite.
This is the work desk in the lounge room with the TV mounted on a fancy glass wall.
Surprise number two was that the sandstorm became a snowstorm overnight. The storm closed the airport so we had to stay an extra night. Unfortunately we didn't get to stay in the same hotel. The tour company paid for the extra night but in a cheaper hotel.
Sakorn standing next to a snow covered car while snow is still falling.
We were quite pleased with the extra day. We got to play in the snow.
These pink blossoms, covered with snow, caught my eye.
Sakorn and friends pose with reindeer in the background.
The park where we enjoyed the snow is on a hill in the city.
These icicles seemed well developed considering that it had only started snowing during the night.
Sakorn with a Chinese style chedi in the background.
I took one last shot of Sakorn with snow falling in the background.
This was a good trip. We enjoyed it a lot. The places that we covered and the people we encountered were very different to those we had seen on our trips to other parts of China. The region, despite its long Buddhist history, is now predominantly Moslem. Our trip covered only part of the Chinese section of the Silk Road. We hope to get back to China in the next year or two to see the eastern end of the Silk Road which ends in Xi'an, the home of the Terra Cotta Warriors, in Shaanxi province.