Good morning everyone. Once you’re done with the baked naans and laghman and milk tea, we’ll head out.

(Kirby, take out the maren candy and samsa from your pockets. We’re coming back here, you know.)

Make sure you clear enough space space on your SD card. We’re going to the Apricot Valley, Bagua City, the lavender field, and the Sayram Lake first.

The Ili River Valley.

Ample rainfall and snowmelt has nurtured an oasis in the desert.

April is the best time to view the apricot blossoms.

The flowers bloom for one week only.

(Luke, if you plan to propose here, make sure you bring your ring, and your girlfriend. We don’t want a repeat of the incidents from the last four failed proposals.)

If your proposal is successful, you can stay for another two months and celebrate (time passes quickly when you’re in a perpetual food coma from lamb kebabs and grapes and pomegranates and maren candy), and you’ll get to see the lavender field in June.

Over 95% of lavender used in China comes from Ili.

(Albert, not a bad location for your 45th wedding anniversary photoshoot, eh? What, your wife’s allergic to the colour purple? Never mind . . .)

If she’s up for it, you can take her on this hot air balloon ride.

Tekes County. It looks just like any other ordinary small town.

Until you look at it from a different angle.

Do you see it?

Look more closely.

The entire county is arranged in the shape of a Bagua.

Like this.

image source

The layout of the county was established by the mayor, who drove a plough drawn by twenty oxen, over 70 years ago.

There are eight trunk roads and four ring roads.

There’re 8 streets within the First Ring Road, 16 streets within the Second, 32 within the Third, and 64 within the Fourth. If you’re a fan of real-life maze, you can consider heading into the county without a map.

(Sit down, Dorothy. You got lost on the way to the bathroom this morning.)

By the way, there isn’t a single traffic light in the city.

One other thing I forgot to tell you about our tour. This helicopter is also an airborne Tardis. We’ve just travelled through time and arrived at Zhaosu County in winter.

The Kazakhs people are renowned hunters.

Their hunting companion is the golden eagle, one of the most formidable birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere.

A hare hops across the snow, unaware of the several pairs of eyes tracking its movement.

Golden eagles have a wingspan of over 2 metres. They can glide at a speed of over 100 km per hour and a diving speed of 320 km per hour.

The hare looks to be so far away.

The distance is closed in a matter of seconds.


The highway from Guozigou Bridge to Khorgas is the first highway in Xinjiang.

Since our helicopter Tardis is perpetually overbooked, you can drive/cycle to the Sayram Lake from here.

the Sayram Lake

There’s a bike race here every year. It’s a big event.

What? You ask why there are only four contestants here? As you can see, right next to the bike route is the sapphire blue waters of the Sayram Lake. It’s been reported that a large number of contestants are so mesmerised by the water that they simple stop and gawk.

Imagine riding with your Significant Other.

Alright, time for lunch break. Let’s go for a lakeside barbecue! (Kirby, where did you get the salt shaker??)

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About fmiswriting

One out of 1.4 billion voices.

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