this week i

slept on a plane to istanbul, dropped off a suitcase, ate some shawarma, then slept on the christmas eve nonstop to urumqi.  turkish airlines might be higher quality, but china southern gave me three seats to myself and the untouristed company of uyghurs.

crossed the pamirs.

saw my first of many minarets..

..oh look there's another.

passed on the street food..

instead, a stately restaurant

..and just to be 100% hygenic, let's laminate everything.

hit the xinjiang regional museum for some..

mummies.  guess she's cold too.

torture devices disguised as musical instruments

..and bald propaganda.

shopped around.. moths to a flame.

walked the city park.  know how those roses are red in winter?  they're paper..

but the futility award belongs elsewhere

..if we're going to freeze to death, let's at least do so aesthetically pleasingly.

rang it like wall street at 9:29 a.m.

felt a symbolism between any moment on the ice rink ..and the greater human experience: some of us have fallen, some of us about to fall, others are picking ourselves up, while most of us just skate along.

was trying to be profound when hey are you serious come on this is a family affair.  good thing they don't speak english.

stamp urumqi as sufficiently weird.

flew once more, last plane till europe.. kashgar.  coldest place in the muslim world.

saw the first of many mosques aged at half a millenium..'s a tip: when you're taking the brochure glamour shot, go the extra mile and shoo the pidgeons first.  that one was free, but i'm going to start charging next time.

felt rich.  $31/night in the former british consulate.

♫ wish i were an oscar mayer uyghur. ♫ (pronounced wee-gur)

spotted various modes of transit.

loved the food, hated the book.

wonder if it's not that they can't pronounce l, but that they just really like r.

recognized rupert murdoch's doppelganger..

..oh and by the way, china, you name your stations cctv?  subtle.

secured destination-appropriate translations for my onward journey.

found consolation in the cold.

made friends with the police.  don't ask me how.

had one last decent meal..

..before setting out into the wilderness.