Wednesday, July 29: Lake Karakul, China
8:00 I won’t go into detail but it wasn’t a good night. What little sleep I did get produced some very weird dreams. At one point I dreamt that Kirk was dropping big pieces of firewood beside my head and hitting me over the legs with long branches. I also had a dream within a dream. When I awoke at 7:00 I was convinced that I had pissed off everyone in the yurt by screaming at Kirk. I also recalled discussing the dream with Duncan who told me to go back to sleep and stop disturbing the people who were trying to sleep. Apparently all of that was a dream! Everyone agreed they had slept well and I had not caused a scene during the night. There was no yelling and I had not discussed the dream with Duncan.
9:30 We begin the slow drive back to Kashgar. The road is under construction in both directions so today’s drive won’t be any faster than yesterday’s.
9:56 We come to a two cars and a transport truck that are stopped on the road. Apparently there has been a rock slide and the police and road crews have been called. This could take a while.
11:15 I return to the truck after inspecting the rock slide. We make tea and get back in truck as it starts to rain.
12:00 Several four-wheel-drive vehicles manage to drive right over the rocks. A third vehicle gives it a go but isn’t as lucky. Water is flowing down the mountainside, across the road, and into this guy’s exhaust pipe. That cannot be good.
13:53 Three front-end loaders begin to clear the rock and wet slurry that is at least a meter thick across a large section of the road. If it weren’t for the road construction, we’d have to wait many more hours for equipment to be brought in from Kashgar.
3:00 A narrow path along the edge of the road has been cleared and one-by-one the stopped vehicles begin to make it past the rock slide. Chinese drivers can be very impatient and we’re soon caught up in a series of minor traffic jams. When one vehicle gets stuck, others crowd around until nobody can move. It takes a great deal of yelling and gesticulating before someone agrees to back up and get out of the way.
20:00 We’re back at the hotel for one last night in Kashgar and one last dinner with Jason. He outdoes himself in the ordering department once again. Even the beer is cold at this place.