If I had to pick a highlight from our four weeks in China, it would have to be the Sunday Livestock Market in Kashgar, in the northwestern part of China, about 100 km from the Kyrgyzstan border. The market has been in existence for 2000 years and still feels rather biblical. Hundreds of cattle – yaks, cows, camels, sheep, and goats, are brought in for sale by farmers, surrounded by food and agricultural gear stalls and lots of butchers (TheEye had to look away at the blood and guts!) There was plenty of business going on. Farmers in their Sunday best, shouting and arguing as they bartered. It was the ‘feel before you buy’ that was most offputting to a sensitive Notting Hill Gate woman – hands up the animals bum, squeezing and poking their testicles. Not nice and not very dignified for the poor animal either. You also had to be careful not to get kicked in the jostle by a frightened animal.

Sunday is market day and has been for 2000 years in Kashgar. What’s nicer than a tasty bowl of fatty mutton broth?

A deal’s a deal but who’s bought and who has sold? THAT’S the question. Both very serious.

Cows sold and being loaded onto a truck (reluctantly with a big push and a shove)

Like lambs to the slaughter

He looks rather biblical

The knife sharpener

Just checking. Hand up the bum!!

Yummy yummy – a nice vat of greasy mutton stew. Very popular too.

The city of Kashgar is a sad place. It’s an attractive old city of small shops, pretty alleyways, and houses with a beautiful mosque in the center. It is the Uighur territory in the northwestern part of China (100km from the Kyrgystan border). There has been trouble and terrorist threats in recent years, but now the government are determined to wipe out what they regard as a ‘potentially dangerous minority’ and they are succeeding with psychological intimidation, aggression, surveillance and threatening police presence, the like of which we have never before experienced.

Police roadblocks and surveillance everywhere in the city of Kashgar. A government initiative to empty the city and turn it into a sanitised tourist attraction.

Groups of armed police are everywhere, mini police stations, roadblocks, and checkpoints on virtually every road. Sirens wailing, innumerable police vehicles with sirens, heavy security barriers preventing entrance to hotels, buildings, parks and open areas.

So sad to see empty shops and businesses driven away. A hideous psychological assault, and it’s succeeding!

Making the local bread. Crisp and delicious. But business is suffering.

Life goes on in spite of the harassment – watermelon season

…and ancient crafts and skills

Who said China was an easy country to understand?

Even the toilets!!

Didn’t see many like this.

You would think in a country with such advanced infrastructure – brilliant high-speed train network, roads, bridges, wind turbines, high rise buildings and so on, there would be spick’n’spank modern public loos? Once you leave Beijing and Shanghai, it’s all very archaic (in the toilet area) and almost impossible to find a western loo, with a seat, toilet paper, and other sanitary accouterments. Not only in recently built service stations with a large gift shop, restaurants, and even hotels…

Well, I think I’ve made the point? Take your own tissues and some hand sanitiser wouldn’t come amiss either.

A tip: make for the disabled sign.



The Yangtse River, The Tiger Leaping Gorgeembroidery and a spectacular market.

And oh, that altitude – still puffing.


  1. This is incredible Eye! Off the beaten path you went. These pictures are superb. This is a China I had never considered. Heartbreaking to hear they are so twisted politically. Even more so than imagined.

  2. that bread looks about 3 feet in diameter in the photo!
    Enjoying your posts.

  3. Loving the pics mum!!!

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