Tag Archives: Khotan 和田

West Again: On the Edge of the Forbidden Tajik Areas of Akto County, Spies Like Us

IMG_3346Travel Log, 19 June.

10AM: Back on a bus, and feeling good. My catch-and-release experience with the Khotan Public Security Bureau last night had actually been a pretty positive one for everybody involved: a comfortable ride, interesting conversation–and a chance to meet the senior public security officer on watch for Khotan County that night, a friendly middle-aged bureaucrat who was, expectedly, Han–but unexpectedly, a woman, and even more unexpectedly, fluent in Uighur. After seeing my Zhejiang University ID card and hearing my story about this being my last grand trip in China before leaving, she was nice enough to direct her junior officers to take me to a cheap guest house, as I’d requested, rather than to the usual overpriced grand hotel preferred by most PSBs for their foreign “guests.” My PSB escorts even told the guesthouse night receptionist, an affable Uighur man in his twenties who’d had a bit to drink that night, that the rate I was looking to pay was nonnegotiable, and that was that.   Continue reading


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Filed under Foreign-er Travel, West Again

In Khotan, Where Dreams are Jade

Mosque at Imam AsimOur intermittently air-conditioned desert crossing brought us to Khotan, a fast-developing town situated where the Taklamakan’s sands meet the Kunlun Mountains of Tibet. This is also the site of an ancient city-state that once dominated the southern Silk Road trade routes. Located along a pebbly riverbed, the civilization that onced prospered here owed much of its success to two things: the fanatical Chinese obsession with jade, and the fact that there was plenty to be found here. (Later, they also stole the Chinese secret of silk-making.) Continue reading


Filed under Foreign-er Travel, Journey to the West