Across Continents

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City out of sand

August 17th, 2010

A small pavement cafe. Few hours after sunrise but already quite warm, the sun bright in my face, but not yet blinding. I’d joined Zheng and his daughter for breakfast. Steamed dumplings, some filled with soybean paste, others chopped herbs. And soybean milk. Pleasant tasting, refreshing.

I’d reached the city of Shihezi the previous evening, meeting up with Mao who’d translated my map a few days earlier. We’d been joined by Zheng. He ran a local English language school, and they’d both offered to act as guides the next day.


Breakfast finished, joined once more by Mao, we wandered amongst a few of the city’s parks, some of its many open spaces, along wide boulevards. Ordered. Not just a grid layout but a city with sharply defined edges. Rectangular.

Inside the museum - one

And then a visit to the local museum. Outside a nondescript municipal building. Inside the story of the city’s creation, just sixty years earlier amongst the desert sands, retold with great aplomb. Static exhibits, audio-visual presentations, of a standard more readily associated with a national institution.

Inside the museum - two

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