In the town of Tashkurgan, home of the Tajik people in Xinjiang, bordering Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan, I met this boy in the old mountainous Pamir region. It is said that this town marks the middle way between Europe and China. The faces I saw there were unforgettable.
Another month completed, on to the next. You can see more about this project HERE
farewell from Xinjiang
Being a lover of travel, you learn to get yourself used to enduring the pain of separation. When you travel to a new place it is not just the people, the buildings, the nature and the food that you meet, but also the essences that live in that place and those are the things you end up missing the most. The very subtle things that you don’t see with your eyes, but only feel, can be with as they come together to make up the version of that part of the earth and imprint it in your mind.
As all journeys must end, so does this month’s adventure into the beautiful world that is Xinjiang. It was a very enjoyable but a difficult month for me in terms of finding the 30 images to show you from the 4000 in my files. There is so much more that remains unseen and so many stories that remain untold.
But on to the next…
underneath the big blue sky
All humans on this planet are created with the same basic design, spirit, soul, mind, brain, body, emotions, senses… all are born and all will eventually pass on.
Thoughts like these make me see people differently while traveling in strange places. The knowledge that we are all human, that we all get sad, we get happy, we are curious, we are suspicious, we dream, we wish, we love, we dislike, we eat, we sleep, we procreate, we create, and we share this beautiful planet under the great big blue sky. These are the wonders that make me love traveling, discovery and meeting other humans.
photo taken: In the courtyard of the old mosque in Kashgar, a gathering of Uyghur men.
Help your brother’s boat across, and your own will reach the shore. ~Hindu Proverb
There is something so endearing about watching siblings helping each other. It is nature’s way. They were placed together to foster bonds in some cases unbreakable and incomprehensible to the outside world. These two boys passing by on my last day in the old city of Kashgar just caught me and drove me into a contemplation about life, family and the mysteries of being human.
walking the path of change
In our lives we get so comfortable with the familiar, we anchor ourselves in the past and we walk around with the certainty of the now. The future, we file in our minds as unknown, not yet tread, uncertain, and we handle it with the tools of our past based on what we already know and have done. But what if the rules of the game have changed? What if the future is dealing us a new card? What if the path is about to change direction? How then do we get ourselves fit to interpret the future? Where do find the tools to update ourselves and be ready for what is clearly changing all what we know from governments, weather patterns, mental possibilities, arts, technology… everything that we see resulting from that which we don’t see?
Woke up to so many more questions today…
photo taken: an old man walking on a Kashgar city street~ Xinjiang
the girl in the pink window~ Kashgar
Behind her pink window, she sat, she looked, she watched, she felt safe, she followed me with her eyes, she questioned me with her mind, and she half smiled when I waved goodbye.
in the alley
For these children their alley will soon become a distant memory…
We often go back to the places where we grew up and most of us find ourselves surprised at how much smaller they look, how much our imagination added to them over the years, how developed they look or how abandoned. For the children of Kashgar, they will come back to find nothing of the old. The city is under demolition and their homes will soon be gone with no trace of them ever having existed. I feel so lucky to have been one of the photographers who captured a slice of this beautiful old culture before it gets forced to metamorphose completely into something else, somewhere else.
photo taken: children playing in an old Kashgar city alley~ Xinjiang
What is it that really looks out of the eyes of children? Do we know what we are dismissing when tell a child to just run along as they ask us some difficult questions? What is asking those questions? Aren’t children carrying the beacon of the future? If we dismiss them, aren’t we gambling with the future? They see how big we are, how seemingly more knowledgable we appear, how much more experience we have and they assume that we have the answers. Then we go on to avoid the answers, give wrong ones or simply send them away rejected and with that breaking that line of trust they were willing to extend to us. Wouldn’t it be much better to admit that we don’t know either and to work it out together with the young humans? I wonder…
photo taken: little girl in the mountain village of Tashkurgan~ Xinjiang
On the old silk road
Starting around 200 BC, a network of trade routs was created linking China, India, other parts of Asia, Afro Asia and Europe. Its name comes from the German (Seidenstrasse), the silk road saw the trade of silk, tea, spices, glassware, jewelry, gold, silver, perfumes, textiles, precious stones as well as the dreaded bubonic plague.
It felt very moving to drive along a part of this historic road, and to stand and imagine the thousand upon thousands of travelers who spent hundreds of days and nights in their adventures on that very same ground. Our planet’s history is so rich with tales of what has been, and the stories are there to be discovered, marveled at and pondered at. It is after all our story and its events the stepping stones that led us to where we all stand today.