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West Again: With the Truckers and Traders of China’s Route 66 (National Highway G315)

2013-06-17 2013-06-17 001 009Travel Log, 17 June.

3PM: I am riding in the cab of an overloaded semi truck, headed for Chira. In the back are loosely tied stacks of solar panels, which sway against their straps every time the steering wheel turns. My driver and his co-pilot are two middle-aged Chinese men from Gansu. They’ve never been out to Xinjiang before, and they emphasize this point by frequently exclaiming at how big and empty it is out here. The co-pilot is the more vocal of the two, and when we first met he demanded a lengthy discussion on how much better off Xinjiang would be now if the Tang Dynasty, a thousand years ago, hadn’t collapsed. But he’s asleep now, and the driver and I enjoy the passing miles and unchanging vastness in silence.   Continue reading


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