Kashi to the Turpan Depression.

The most famous sight in Kashi (Kashgar) is the Sunday market. The Anglophone group went shopping there (cloth, hats and Chinese electrical plugs) whilst the Francophone group went to a restaurant!

Don't ask!However the Anglophone and Francophone groups celebrated Bastille Day (the 14th July) together, and in style. Much rum-punch was consumed by "the big noses" and even a few party games were played.

Early next morning the two groups left separately, the Anglophone group first and the Francophone group an hour later (the Anglophones have to travel at the speed of the slowest vehicle, Mog, with a top speed of 75kph, the French are all able to travel at at least 90kph.). A 2.5 hour wait for the "highway department" to issue 27 hand written vouchers by the roadside soon brought us together again.

The road conditions so far in China have been far worse than we expected, mostly because nearly all roads seem to be under repair. It is not uncommon for there to be a 20km diversion over an unmade track with rocks and dust.

The night of the 15th was spent wild camped together by the roadside. It was here that Serge Herviou discovered the cause of his van "burning out" rubber belts. The bearing on the idler wheel used to tension the "fan belt" was seized solid (probably due to immersion in mud!) As a result the French group are going to Urumqui to collect spare parts and the Anglophone group are pressing on slowly.

We are currently parked in the grounds of the Oasis Hotel in Turpan (where it is ludicrously hot!).

Stephen Stewart.

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