Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Highs and lows in the Gobi

September 12th, 2010

Turpan. Claimed to be the hottest place in China, the record a little shy of fifty degrees centigrade. And also the lowest. Surrounding area about five hundred feet below sea level, the third lowest Depression in the world. My GPS receiver made it twenty eight feet, but close enough. Near enough to sea level, ironic for a place almost as far from any ocean as you can get.

Altitude - web

The heat is enveloping, yet dry and not unduly oppressive. And ideal for growing grapes, for which the region is renowned. In the town, pedestrian thoroughfares shielded from the harsh sun by trelliswork woven with vines.

Trellis work - 1

But none of this would exist were it not for some inventive irrigation, the town a literal oasis in an otherwise barren, inhospitable Gobi desert. Supplemented today to quite a degree by a growing tourist trade. With prices to reflect this.

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