It took eight camel stages to Peter and Kini to reach Niya from Qiemo (Cherchen). Their guide was Aziz… but let Peter do the talking: “He was an obsequious and ingratiating Turki, neither particularly efficient nor particularly honest, but recommended by his command of bad Chinese”… The description is really up to the point (it may be true or not, but in any case, we imagine Aziz, and I wonder how many people I know like him, nor efficient, nor honest, but knowing the inside talk of – medicine, computers, taxes, laws – whatever). And Peter continues: “He wore a black three-cornered hat, and a rusty bottle-green coat tied round the waist with a scarf which might have been a dirty tricolour”.
And they depart Cherchen, through a less desert country than expected “June and July are not good months to travel the Takla Makan and we had a certain dread of the desert. At first it seemed less naked, through not less desolate, than expected”.
So, we travel in May, that does not mind that it would be a better month to travel the Takla Makan, but… we may wander if there is a good month to travel it.
And what is to be seen in this stage?
If we decide to stop midway, we may visit Endere (supposing that no permit is requested, or we can get one) although it does not seem really interesting.
In Qiemo one thing to do is to visit the
Toghlarek Villa, which is a small museum of domestic tools, and it is also home of the mummy of the “man of Cherchen” and we should probably go also to the Zaghanluk Cemetery, 15 minute drive away.
And the other is to organize the next stages, it would be interesting to hire there a 4 WD car (with driver of course) to follow the Cherchen River to Karghilik, and if possible, to continue with this driver the next stages, beyond Karghilik, were things really become interesting. We should stay from Saturday 13 to Monday 15 in Qiemo, but if we are able to get a car there, probably we may stay one day more, or slept somewhere in between Qiemo and Charkilik (350 Km through the main road)
Rather interesting link on this area, done by a cyclist cyclist link
Camels (wild?) from adam blog linked above. Photo is not so good, but they represent the area
Featured photo: Carlos Griell. Birds on a dune. Atacama
Endere ruins: from the internet
Last photo: Guangzhou food market, Carlos Griell, 1997