Wednesday, November 25

Kashgar Market

I take this photograph of a man sharpening his tools at the Kashgar market. This during our trip to Central Asia in '97 and Kashgar one of the many highlights.  I learn that the oasis city first mentioned when the Chinese Han Dynasty traveled the Northern Silk Road to explore what is today the western part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, tucked between the Tian Shan mountains and the Taklamakan desert and the driest place on Earth. Sunday's market sees the surge of humanity and 350,000 people become twice that. Vendors jam narrow, ancient streets carrying bundles of their trade often trailed by a bleating sheep, giant bull or snooty camel (Kashgar means "variegated houses").  All and everything for sale.  We see barbers shaving a row of men bald; a stand selling intestines, another organs. There are Kalashnikovs, cigarettes, used electronics, junk. A kaleidoscope of woven fabrics, rugs and heroine (supposedly) found behind doors marked with a sheep's head.  Dried fruit, motor parts, assorted nuts, tampons, batteries, anything. The buildings ready to crumble which contrasts the surrounding energy of it all. Thank goodness no automobiles though this has probably changed by now - or maybe not. There are plenty of bicycles and motor-bikes and of course donkeys and mules. Dust covers all. How blessed am I to have been here.

Walking to school, me: "what is the thing you value most?"
Madeleine: "Doggie. And Foxy."
Eitan: "Well, Teddie.  And then you and mum."
Me: "How about your skills? One day, they may be quite valuable."
Madeleine: "I don't have any skills."
Me: "Sure you do. How about your times tables? I imagine somebody would value that."
Eitan: "I'm doing remainders. I'll bet that is worth ten pounds."
Madeleine: "No it is not!"
Eitan: "Yes it is!"