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A Visit to Xinjiang on Its 50th Birthday
2005-11-09 16:10:13
From Urumqi to Jiaohe, I am awed by the power of time...

Text by CRI Reporter Zhang Shuangfeng

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As the airplane descended beyond the snow capped mountains to Xinjiang's provincial capital, Urumqi, we could see a well planned modern city with plots of green. Xinjiang was unveiling itself in front of us.

We arrived at Urumqi late Wednesday, Sept. 28th. As the 50th anniversary of this region was around the corner, great banners could be seen along both sides of the streets, and Xinjiang music, with its unique sound, was heard everywhere. People were wearing many types of clothing representing various ethnic groups.

The first thing that impressed me when we walked out of the airport was the weather. It was early autumn but the sun was still shone brightly, flaring. It too hot to stand in the sun for five minutes; yet in the shade, it was chilly. Some people say when you stand outside at this time, your stomach, facing the sun, will feel like a burning stove while your back, against the sun, feels like an ice box. It could be very hot in the middle of the day, but quite freezing in the morning and night.

While preparing for the live broadcast of the anniversary, I talked with some of the performers coming to the rehearsal.

Performers wore clothes peculiar to their ethnic minority; they looked so beautiful, like angels coming down from the Tianshan Mountain. Though speaking different languages from their own nationalities, they all felt that it was a great honor for them to take part in this once-in-a-life-time event. Jadera  is a Kazak dancer.

"I am quite glad to be among the dancing teams. We were almost unable to join the centennial anniversary, so I am particularly happy. I spent my 18th birthday here yesterday. I feel very blessed."

Also happy about the anniversary was this beautiful girl named Ayiqulaike of the Kirgiz nationality.

"I am very happy and honored to be in Urumqi for the 50th anniversary celebration. It's also a pleasure to meet the performers from other places in Xinjiang."

Many spectators arrived long before the rehearsal began. Among them was Mina, a fashionable clothing shop owner and part of the largest ethnic group, the Uygur. For her, life is good as her business is doing well, and she can spare some time to come and see the anniversary celebration.

"This 50th anniversary is a special occasion. Many people come to sing and dance. And I arrived early to watch. I didn't even have breakfast. We Uygur people like songs and dances. Besides, I'm here to watch my niece dance."

The live broadcast was a success, so afterwards we found some relaxing ways to enjoy ourselves.

The International Bazzar is one of the best places to explore in Xinjiang. There is plenty to do here, especially eating! Xinjiang cuisine has long been known for its spicy dishes and good service. They have shish-kebabs, nang (a kind of pancake), pulled noodles, you name it! Walking along the streets we could see stalls and pushcarts selling unique Xinjiang food, most frequent were the kebabs. You might be shocked when you first see them because they are soĦ­big! The kebabs consist of quite a few chunks of fresh lamb which first sizzle on a half-meter-long metal grill. When some of us were eating them together, we used the kebab sticks to fence with rather than eating them.

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Related Stories:
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Absolute Xinjiang
Xinjiang Photo Gallery

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