Somewhere life goes on, just simply, disconnected from our worldwide web. When you have the universal web of sky, sun, stars and earth, why would you downgrade to the contaminated world of Social media?
Day 52 of 365~
Image taken on the Karakoram Highway, old silk road, Xinjiang.
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.
On the high mountains, you become an intimate friend of suns, stars and planets…
Up there in towns like Tashkurgan, people know what stars move in the night sky, what the sun is up to in his travels during the day and what kind of weather that will bring the next days and weeks. The smog of the city does not reach them and does not dare build a screen between them and the heavens. These people are touched by nature, they are flirting with the elements and are given access to knowledge beyond the ordinary and above the explainable.
photo taken: a boy or I should say a young gentleman weathered by the proximity of the sun in Tashkurgan~ Xinjiang
As children run wild, they carry with them the giggling essences of the land, rivers and mountains…
Tashkurgan, a gem of a city, surrounded by golden grasslands, snow capped Pamir mountains, streams, expansive skies and filled with friendly Tajik people who welcome a traveler with bright smiles as they always have when their city was a main stop on the old silk road. Drive 2 hours and you will be in Pakistan, Tashkurgan (literally stone fortress) was once the capital of the Sarikol Kingdom. Now Tashkurgan is part of China’s Xinjiang province and access to it is determined by permits and a military checkpoint about tow hours away on the Karakorum highway. I was very lucky to spend time with its children, to walk its streets and to breathe its fresh air.
After being on an intense journey such as this to one to Xinjiang, the return to the big city is a bit of a shock. When I look back at my over 2 thousand photographs from this trip, it really feels like months were packed into less than a week. To have met Uighurs, Tajiks, Kazakhs, seen their old cities, homes, markets, traditions, to have eaten their food, danced with them, traveled their long roads, sat in their round tents, drank their yak milk, looked into their beautiful eyes, enjoyed their enormous hospitality, puzzled at their secret codes and customs… to have done all that and more and then go back to normal life is a bit of a jolt.
There will be a lot of sharing of their wonderful world in images in the next few days and lots of little stories to tell.
Today’s photo: a composite of sunset from the plane window as we approach Shanghai and bokeh of city lights on the drive home.
Karakol, a breath taking lake where Tajik people live at about 3500 meters above sea level along the Karkoram highway in Xinjiang, North Western China. The lake freezes completely in the winter time when the area sees blistering temperatures. While driving and visiting this area, it really feels like an extremely harsh place to live, but nevertheless breathtakingly beautiful. Made me think a lot of the wonders of our planet and its variety of landscape, people, customs and richness.
Today was a very long drive along the Karakoram highway, all the way to Tashkorgan a mountain village near the Pakistani border, 3600 meters above sea level. The landscape along the way was breathtaking, with the occasional but sparse settlements of tiny Tajik and Kyrgyz villages along the way.
photo taken: shepherd in the grasslands of Tashkorgan near the Pakistani border