Street shopping, Id Kah mosque night view, and a Tale of an Old Shoes Seller – Part 2

It’s our last evening in Kashgar, for tomorrow we’ll leave for Kuqa at 8pm Beijing time/6pm local time. It’s going to be our last visit to the night market, last visit to the evening street market, last scenery of Id Kah mosque at night, last meeting with some people we’ve encountered regularly. Time flies so fast, and while we’re regret for not staying here longer, it’s just time to move on and proceed to our next destination, hopefully equally enjoyable. Until then, we’d like to utilize the next 24 hours in here to the fullest as we dont know  if time promises us to return to here again, someday.

The street market is an everyday shopping place just like night market, and it starts late afternoon (around 4 pm local time). There’s rows of shop lots selling clothes and stuff, but nevermind that, coz there’s MORE rows of sellers selling them cheaper, on the street. At the pedestrian road, to be precise. Some has mobile stalls, but most of them just have a large spread cloth for them to sit with lots of merchandise items dumped in front of them. Mostly clothings, but there are other items like cosmetics, sunglasses, accessories like handbags and shoes as well. It’s kind of amusing to see Kashgar people are such shopping freak as well. Browsing the dresses and blouses, I do think they have a rather good sense in fashion.

What Kashgar women normally (read: must) wear – Skirts, and black stockings! If not long dresses and jubah/abaya. And they’re generally fashionable, and I guess more women wear high heels than those who don’t! They DON’T wear pants and jeans, so wearing pants in here makes me feel a little awkward in a way, and I almost wanted to buy a pair of these skirts and stockings as well just to wear in Kashgar but thinking that we dont want to fill our luggage with unnecessary items (and they’re expensive too!), the least I could do is to wrap my bum with a shirt, so it could somehow looks like as if I’m wearing skirt too (from behind).

The boys we bought our socks from :D We met them like, everyday! So today we have to say goodbye! *sob* And, I feel regret for not buying one of these Uyghur movie DVDs.  They’re so crazy about shopping! And everyday is “sale” day, how wonderful is that?

And I *have to* join the crowd too, thank you. When I made promise to Az that we would only do shopping on the last day, so here we are! I’ve got a few pairs of long skirts here. Also some leggings, coz they’re cheap and I need them alot when traveling in cold places like Xinjiang! It’s okay now, coz some of old clothes we have worn here will be disposed in Kashgar so I have a little space in my luggage!

Done with shopping, we’d like to take some proper photos of us with Id Kah mosque, which havent done it earlier. Now the tripod comes handy.

After going back to hostel to drop the stuff we purchased, we made our way to eat the BEST LAMB KEBAB IN KASHGAR, for the last time. In front of the kebab restaurant is the only naan stall that has onion naan (Az’s favorite). Here, and it’s 10 yuan per stick (big stick) while regular smaller sticks you can find everywhere are usually 1.5-2 yuan. Nevertheless, lamb kebab here is worth every single yuan! It has the biggest, softest, juiciest chunk of lambs in all Kashgar! And Az had to take a farewell photo with these wonderful kebab makers.

We passed by the old shoes seller again. It’s already late but the old man was still here selling the old shoes (actually, we haven’t seen anyone really buys his shoes, or even stops to see them). Now Az wanted to buy a pair of shoes to try the shoe shiners, and after choosing one, the old man gave a sign with hands telling 15 yuan. We gave him an ‘brow-rise’ look, thinking that he’s trying to overcharge us, coz I bought my shoes 3 days ago for only 10 yuan! We gave him a pass and wanted to proceed going to the night market, but I dont know what made us turn back and bought the shoes anyway.

Az negotiates for 10 yuan, and the old man seems desperate and hopelessly agreed with a weak smile. When we left a few steps away with the shoes, I felt so sorry with the old man and now we went back to him and paid another 5 yuan regardless he already had agreed with 10.

Now Az trying the shoe shiner! Unfortunately, the skillful lady that did magic to my shoes last time was busy with her queuing customers (yes, she’s got many loyal customers who would wait just to get her excellent service!). Az wanted to wait, but thinking we dont have time for it and there’s another shoe shiner guy sitting next to her currently free, the lady asked us to do with her colleague. Hmm but we hope the guy is good too. Well, he managed to get the dusty shoes shining black again, but we still feel it could have been done better by the hands of the lady.

We were still excited seeing the final product, and this time we wanted to go back to the old man to show off the newly polished shoes just to make him surprised! But he was not there, although his old shoes were still arranged properly on the floor, being taken care by someone else. We were upset coz of the urge to meet the old man again now. It was only less than half an hour ago that we bought shoes from him. Well, nevermind, and we said to each other “Maybe he went to buy food straight away after he sold the shoes to us”.., and we walked towards the night market.

It was when we stepped out of the subway crossing the road in front of night market, Az suddenly caught a sight of that old man, sitting at a corner of a soup stall, gobbling his meal delightfully from bowl. The sudden sight made us paused, looking at him from afar blankly. I mean, we were just talking and teasing about him a few seconds ago, and what we said was unexpectedly TRUE! He went to eat right after he got money from us.

It was then when I couldn’t hold my tears but burst there right away, at the corner of the busy night market. The feeling that I couldnt really describe how and why, but it just strike me hard, and sudden thoughts filling me,

“he’s been sitting all day waiting for someone to buy his shoes, but who would regularly buy those dirty, dusty shoes..?”

“..what if we didnt buy the shoes just now (which we almost did not), would he still be left without money and not able to buy food for today?”

“.. since we bought his shoes 3 days ago and today, were there anyone else buying the shoes in past 2 days for him to buy food? Or has he been starving since?”

We stood at the corner for a few minutes while I’m done crying at Az’s shoulder, and we could only see the old man from afar, busy with his soup, and we didnt want him to notice that we were watching him either, so we quickly left to other direction. And for a record, we never even tried the soup place that the old man was eating, it didnt look appealing.. and maybe cheap. But what if it’s all that he could afford? We have eaten lamb kebabs like mad every single day, and we forgot that there are people who need to sell old shoes just to buy a cheap bowl of food for the day.

After Maghrib prayers, we again setup the tripod at the large mosque yard to capture some night views. Id Kah mosque is surely the icon of Kashgar, and the Silk Road. Tourist come here to trace the history, but what made us fall in love with this place is definitely the people. The friendliness of the locals and unique culture that will definitely remain in our heart forever.

Until we meet again one day, Insha Allah.

Central Asia International Grand Bazaar at Kashgar

Also known as Sunday Market. Which is a confusing name, because this bazaar is actually opened everyday, not only Sunday. It’s also easily be confused with the Animal market – which is opened on Sunday. Whatever, but we visited this Kashgar bazaar in fact twice, including Saturday.

The bazaar is located not very far from North Bus station, and local bus no 20 gets you there for 1 yuan.

Although we didnt plan for shopping that much, I’m expecting it to be interesting to see this largest indoor market in Kashgar, and even some say it’s the largest in Central Asia (as the name says). It’s large indeed, and I guess we haven’t even covered the whole bazaar completely (well, we didnt really put an effort to it anyways). Maybe for those who’d like to do shopping, this place can be the ultimate destination, for mostly fabric and souvenir.

There are also food stalls nearby here, and we had a few samsa, but I have to say it’s best to eat first in Kashgar town before coming to Bazaar. One should conveniently be guided by the sign board to show location of Kashgar Bazaar, or to be safe, let the bus driver know that you’re heading to the bazaar. Ahead will be Apakh Khoja Tomb, another tourist attraction in Kashgar, which unfortunately didnt attract us enough to make a visit.

Another entrance to go inside Bazaar. it was busy with people on Friday and Saturday, and I guess it will be more on Sunday. We can’t allocate the visit on Sunday as we’re going to see the Animal market, and afternoon should be packing time to leave for Kuqa.

Lots of stalls selling dried fruits and nuts. Local’s famous pomegrenate juice. It’s pity but we never tried fresh juice in here, because the first time we asked at the night market it was 20 yuan per glass! It’s most probably the seller was trying to overcharge us (and funnily, a friend of him suddenly came saying 25 yuan =.= which we instantly refused both, thank you!). Alternatively, bottled processed pomegranate juice can easily be found in shops for only 3 yuan, and Az liked it alot.

Inside the bazaar, there are countless of shops selling clothes and fabrics. Az got a shirth with Uyghur pattern while nothing Uyghur is suitable for me (unless I want to wear those dress in mannequin!) so I’ve just got myself a couple of scarves that specifically has label ‘Made in Kashgar’ :)

Colorful fabric with striking colors, I guess they’re meant for bridal dress and decoration. Lots of prayer rugs too (people would assume most of them are made in Turkey, but China is one of the biggest producers of these too!).

Well, China is undoubtly the biggest producer of many stuff we use everyday: hand glove, cellotapes, etc and you can actually find every single item being sold in the bazaar.

And this is interesting: the wedding invitation card written in Uyghur! :D This part has shops selling soaps, shampoo, henna, things like that. And some bronze merchandise, if you like.

outside

One of many shops selling this neat colorful fabric (it has a material close to jersey) and I was told it’s 18 yuan for 3 meters during our first visit, but during 2nd visit, another seller was being very rude and saying it’s 50 yuan per meter! Not only I didnt end up buying, it spoiled my mood totally until we’re back to hostel. Like other places, Kashgar also has good and bad people doing business, so it’s best to use common sense to judge if the price is reasonable or not.

Old City of Kashgar

Since we *have to* stick to original plan, on Saturday morning, we made our way to the bus station to buy ticket for Kuqa. Kashgar has 2 bus stations: North (going to Urumqi, Kuqa, Osh in Kyrgyzstan etc) and South (to Karakul-Tashkurgan, Sost in Pakistan etc) so this is our first time visiting the North bus station. On map, it looks rather far, but in the fresh morning, we took a walk by the town’s excellent pedestrian way, crossing over bridge and subways, within 20 minutes or so we’re almost there. But have to stop at this shop selling fried pastry that similar to ‘charkuay’ in my hometown :D

We had our breakfast there, and this restaurant seems popular with its fresh milk (coz you can see at every table, every single customer has one mug of fresh milk in front of them). Az gets a mug, but I am not a milk drinker, so I took out my Milo sachet and pour into the milk and now it taste better :)

At the bus station, ticket purchase was done smoothly since we just wrote down our destination, date and time to show to the officer. Our bus will be at 8pm tomorrow (Beijing time).

Done with the ticket, we’re now walking around old houses nearby, and it’s time to explore the old city of Kashgar. One can be confused with the term “old city/old town” in Kashgar and their locations (me included!). As a matter of fact there are many old cities in entire Kashgar, because they’re afterall homes to many locals since hundreds years ago, and many of them are still living in these places, while some parts have been commercialized into tourist attraction.

When we’re visiting the old city, it’s expected to see many houses nestled in it, built with mud brick, having small alleys to go inside and out. The border of history and civilization. While (some of) the old cities are still preserved, its surrounding is now well developed being located in the center of Kashgar and accessible by major roads. If you see the old city like this, you’ll be wondering “where’s the entrance?”

There it is, the entrance, with neatly constructed high stair. Az says there must be regular entrance for locals who live inside, but I insist that it’s located up high and I dont see any other stair except this one. And we have to buy tickets; for 30 yuan. ( which I only learned later after we’re back, there ARE other ways to enter the old city NOT through this tourist way! We could have saved 60 yuan if I listened to Az T_T and to make it sound a silly mistake some more, it’s actually stated in the LP book but I seem to have taken it for granted and not reading them well particularly about the old city visit >.<)

So this is the tourist entrance, you’ll be guided with small sign board telling you to “Go this way for Route A”, or “Start here for Route B”.. When we’re about to enter, a group of Chinese tourists just arrived by a mini van, and one lady, complete with Uyghur dressing and portable microphone was ready to guide them walking inside the old city.

But seriously, with a microphone?? =.= I fear that the sound will spoil our quiet moments here (and what about the neighborhood?), so I walked towards faster, as if running away from them. It didnt help though, coz once they’re started, the amplified sound by the microphone seems to be heard loud enough ALL over this place! >.<  who can enjoy the serene of the historic neighborhood with disturbing Chinese speech in the air?

We walked towards nevertheless, to different route than theirs, and now we decided to walk even more slowly, letting them to finish off first and we’ll continue enjoying the walk. Taking different small path and junction towards different alleys just randomly, we’ll get to see aging doors belong to old houses inside the neighborhood, the houses dont have physical shape of house, rather it’s partitions divided inside the walls with a door (even they have house number!), you can guess how the structure is like.

And every time we’ll wonder if people still reside inside. Yes, sometimes I get to peek into slightly opened door and see a lively house compound inside. We feel like so much visiting the family, but at the bottom of my heart somehow managed to guess what they feel towards tourist. I mean, their neighborhood is being promoted as tourist place and it should be more than enough for them to see yet another tourist invading their home area. Anyhow. It’s really amazing to know Uyghur people have lived in here for more than 400 years, and the architecture wih old technology, despite being built of mud brick and timber, managed to survive for such a long time! Walls were made of mud. And, they actually managed to build houses of several storeys using only mud bricks and timber!

We came across an entrance that looks like a mosque. Unfortunately it’s closed, otherwise we’d like to go and see how it looks inside.

And what makes it interesting is the narrow passages in between walls that connect a part to another. It’s almost like a maze and you can simply get lost in the middle of it. I’m so overwhelmed with every angle we see that brings us time-travel to many hundred years back.

Tracing a small alley, we caught a sight of an opened door, but after getting near, it turns out to be a souvenir shop.

Not one, but several  houses have been made into tourist traps and the locals are happy to sell their souvenir like fabrics, jewelry and leathers. I just made a quick stop browsing the item and think it should be cheaper to buy these items in regular market (i.e. not tourist trap like this). And, we encountered the Chinese tourist group again at this house having a live dancing performance. We were there for a few minutes then left.

Walking towards, we no longer can remember from which way we came, but it doesn’t matter anymore since it’s best to just continue walking mindlessly inside the “maze”. And after the tourist group left, it feels much better to explore this place at its silence.

Little children that ‘accompanied’ us walking around their neighborhood :)

We passed by a donkey cart and were wondering why the donkey’s eyes being wrapped off. We end up making our own assumption that the owner fears that the donkey gets confused with the ‘maze’ alley and avoid it from looking at the road. Which I believe it’s a bad assumption :P

Before we arrived to Kashgar, I have read from many sources on internet that since recent years, Chinese Government is in the middle of doing reconstruction of the old city (read: demolish, and build their version of new buildings). The reason is, the they say the old city is overpopulated, very old, unsafe and fragile if earth quake happens thanks to being made of mud bricks. Despite the fact that Uyghurs have been living here safely for many hundreds years! And they believe they will always be. While the government says it’s to bring development to Kashgar people, it’s apparently trying to destruct the heritage of Uyghur culture. Plus, I believe nobody comes to Kashgar to see new buildings and modern structure, no? Which is sad, and yes, we have come across many parts that are already torn down, while others seem to have been dusty construction sites.

We spent here for around 2 hours and slowly we’re trying to find a way out, although it seems difficult!

We ended up at the edge of the village (because we could see bright sky ahead and a glimpse of tall electric tower, so it’s probably the main road…

But it’s not, remember we’re at a higher place? And there’s still wall and you have to get down from here to get to main road. Can you guess how old this mud wall could be?

So we went around to trace down the entrance again, and finally managed it. We walk along the main road to see the old city from outside.

The old city of Kashgar – with uncertain future and no promise that they will still be standing here for several years to come.. partially cleared old city. And now do you see what I see? I realized that we could have gone inside the old city from here (without paying 30 yuan!! =.=). And one remark by Az that makes me feel bad for the rest of the day: “I’ve told you!!”. *sigh*

When we’re about to cross the street to find our way back, a couple of old men greeted us (maybe thinking Az was Uyghur??) and we happily asked to take a photo. Nearby them, some little children doing their school homework.

Friday Prayer at Id Kah Mosque

We have been waiting for Friday so much, ever since I started planning itinerary for Kashgar I would arrange it so that Az could spend time attending Friday prayer at Id Kah mosque and I could watch the crowd. Even when our itinerary changed a bit when we went to Karakul one day later we still chose to skip going to Tashkurgan just because want to be back in Kashgar by Friday!

Wanna know why? Because we’re hoping to see the crowd as we’ve seen on internet (check Google images here) and although the images were taken during Eid prayer, I cant help but hope to watch the (almost) similar crowd for Friday prayer too.

Az gets the camera, and I’d wait outside with camcorder to film the crowds during prayer (and see notes at the side bar to know why you dont see any video attached here). I keep watching increasing number of men walking towards and into mosque, and some young boys standing in front of the entrance selling blue-colored “disposable” plastic prayer rug for 1 yuan for those who dont bring their prayer rug.

Sitting around me are several women whom I guess are waiting for their husbands too. Although, when prayer was about to start, a police officer came to disperse us and ask to wait somewhere not too near to the mosque. And I could hear the sound of prayer preach/Khutbah clearly and the thought of Az listening khutbah in Uyghur language makes me smile. According to Az, he was feeling sleepy like usual during any Friday khutbah, yet was amazed to witness that every single man around him was paying full attention to the preach. In Malaysia, half of the audience would easily fall asleep.

To my disappointment, when the prayer starting, the crowd was only a little exceeding the entrance stairs, so this proves that the large crowd filling the entire mosque yard only happens during Eid prayer.

After Friday prayer is over, Az got to watch several woman holding plates of food (dried fruits?) standing at the entrance and men coming out of the mosque would stop and blow at the food, and some look like spitting. Which is weird, and only after we’re back to Urumqi later, Nazar told us that it’s a traditional practice for people who can’t afford to get sick family member to doctor and this alternative is to let religious men recite prayers on the food in a way so that it somehow becomes medicine. Or so we’re told.

After Friday prayer, the street going back to hostel apparently has turned into a busy afternoon street market. We look around to see if there’s anything interesting to get. It’s like a common atmosphere you can find in any flea market, people selling just everything. There are even people selling used office shirts, they’re clean, looking new and cheap so we managed to stop and waste a few minutes browsing the items, although ended up not buying. I was also tempted to buy some leftover fabrics (good quality and price starts from 3 yuan!) but thinking that I hardly have time for sewing and it would give unnecessary extra weight to our luggage, so forget it.

We passed by an old woman selling Uyghur cap, which is unusual since we have come across many shops selling them and they’re run by men, and she’s selling it for only 20 yuan! (We have asked many places before and they’re 30-50 yuan) so Az says it’s time to buy one for him, as well as additional 2 for souvenir.

Az wearing Uyghur cap, and from the moment he wears it, we always get friendly stares from the locals, as if they’re saying to each other “Look, there’s tourist trying to be Uyghur!”. It feels rather good, and even funnier when people have to look twice at us to ensure if we’re locals or tourists. It also happens several times when we stop by shops and places, people would ask from where and how much we bought the cap. I mean, it’s like a necessary question!

This is our neighbor restaurant, they’re just two doors away from our hostel and we get to see them every time we go out from and return to hostel, and they would smile at us and we would exchange wave. Today, we decided to give a courtesy stop at their restaurant and have a couple of lamb kebabs. And additional to lamb kebab, they gave us free lunch!! :D It’s a large plate of noodle and I must say it taste really good! Despite the communication barrier, we feel so welcome by them and they’re trying to express their pleasure to meet fellow Muslims from far away (which is funny that had to “test” us by asking us to read some verses framed on their wall, and we did).

After lunch, we went to take bus to go to train station to change our ticket. Why? Because we realized we have come to like this place even more. Now Az asks if it’s possible we extend our stay in Kashgar, rather than going to Kuqa, Turpan and Urumqi that early. As for now, our confirmed itinerary will be:

Today (Friday) to Sunday: Kashgar. Sunday evening take bus for Kuqa (have to go buy bus ticket tomorrow).
Monday: Arrive Kuqa Monday morning, one day sight seeing, then take night train to Turpan
Tuesday: Arrive Turpan, meet CSer Ahmad and visit Tuyoq village
Wednesday: Around Turpan, and take afternoon bus to Urumqi (2 hours). Meet CSer Mischa.

After a discussion, we decided to skip Kuqa and Turpan and will buy either direct flight or train ticket to Urumqi from Kashgar. It will take 24 hour train or expensive 500+ yuan flight, now we have to choose between saving money or time. But before that, we already have train ticket from Kuqa to Turpan which had already been booked by Derek earlier. So if we are really determined to skip Kuqa and Turpan, we have to cancel the train ticket, or change it to new route Kashgar – Urumqi for Tuesday/Wednesday. Then again, we’ll only save 1 or 2 days extra in Kashgar and we’re still contemplating if this will be worth skipping Kuqa and Turpan. Anyhow. Now we’re going to train station to see if we can change the ticket, or refund it. If it can be done, then we’ll extend our stay in Kashgar, just to eat more lamb kebabs! :)

So we had to ask a favor from our hostel’s manager to write Chinese translation on our book so we’ll just simply show the message at the ticket counter (yes, don’t expect that they would understand English!).

Arriving at the train station, we quickly ran into ticket counter (like any other train station in China, the ticketing center is usually located outside the terminal building). There’s only one counter operating so the queue was rather long. The officers are all Chinese, no doubt. We have to bear with some tensed moment when some men in front of us falling into argument with the ticket officer, and after a while we could notice that the officer is being prejudice towards Uyghur people and for any reason would yell at them loudly in Chinese. On the other hand, she would talk normally and politely to fellow Chinese, even those who look and smell drunk. Fear of being in the racism dispute, I asked Az to remove his Uyghur cap before dealing at the counter.

When I showed the translated messages with our ticket, the ticket officer was saying something in Chinese and refused our tickets and it was a hell of pain that none of the fellow officers understand us. It took some time for her to ask the guard to go out and search for someone who could talk to us, and like 15 minutes later, a neat lady in uniform approached us explaining what’s going on. I guess she’s a senior officer or something.

She said our tickets cannot be exchanged or refund here because they had been booked via internet (by Derek) and the only possible way is to change it at the boarding place, in this case, at Kuqa! Why on earth would we want to go to Kuqa just to change tickets when our aim now is to NOT going to Kuqa?? =.=

Feeling upset, we left the train station, went to nearby shop to buy pomegranate juice and took bus back to town. We try to cheer ourselves by thinking that it’s meant to be and we need to follow itinerary as planned, and we get to try sleeper bus to go to Kuqa, and meet CSer Ahmad in Turpan, and we’ll still be within budget. Yeah, we’re sticking to our plan finally.

Kashgar Night Market

Back to Kashgar. Here, even without this night market, you can find endless stalls and restaurants at every corner, along every street. Did I say earlier that Kashgar has instantly become our official ultimate food destination? Especially for juicy lamb kebabs, of course! We only learned about the night market after one day touring around the town picking up every single lamb kebab in sight, and by evening, the night market was just starting and we were already full! Too bad! Az said let’s come again another day (which is, after visiting Karakul) to enjoy the night market to the fullest.

Now we are here again after back from Karakul, at the right time, right place, most importantly with enough space in tummy to try food particularly in the night market. What makes this place more interesting than regular restaurants is surely the crowds, and different types of food cramped in a place. Ignore the improper bench for sitting and it’s perhaps not the time to care so much about stalls condition. Food is first!

Most of the stalls provide long bench for you to sit up and have your meal right at the very place, facing the seller and the food itself. This is something that we dont know the name, but it’s like long big hot dog made of rice and mince lamb and veggies, being cut alongwith other stuff and soup mixed together to become something what Malaysians know as Yong Tau Fu for, 5 yuan. To us it’s tasteless, but we have to finish it anyway. Serve us right for the itch of trying new food, which turned out not as worth as lamb kebabs.

We tried soup noodle next. 5 yuan per bowl, and from the appearance of those bones I guess it’s supposed to be lamb noodle. Although hardly contains significant meat chunks in it, the soup is great. However, the stall owner noticeably looks unfriendly for whatever reason.

Kashgar food is mainly lamb, and lamb-based, including the inner organs and parts that something too weird to learn that they’re edible. Sheep head and feet for instance!

We call this curly hotdog, 1 yuan per stick. Grilled traditionally on fire and dashed with some hot spice powder and within a minute, it’s ready to be enjoyed right on the street.

This is manta, some kind of steamed bun (I know the name because already having it earlier with Nazar in Urumqi) and if earlier we had manta with lamb fillings, this stall owner gave us to try one with garlic chives in it. 1 yuan.

The ultimate food you have to taste once in a lifetime: THE SHEEP HEAD! Like, seriously. See the well-organized stack? While we used to think it’s the last part in a cattle that someone would eat, people in Kashgar on the other hand are very fond of eating sheep head, there are many stalls that serve only the heads! We’re contemplating whether to try it or not (ya, it looks gross, but the curiosity kills everything!).

So we had a plate, OMG! (Although, the stall owner – which I think he purposely – misunderstood that we want to eat for two =.=) so we’re given two sheep heads in one plate (18 yuan). Know how he serve it? He chooses one head from the stack, with a knife, he chops the head into half, and with hands, break everything into smaller pieces before putting into a plate (the bones and skull seem to have turned a little soft thanks to being cook in soup for a while) . And it comes with a bowl of soup – yes, the very soup from which sheep head had been cooked in. This is the meal! Now how do we eat this thing? We look around to see how others eat theirs: without choosing and checking what is in their plate, have them straight away into their mouth and munch delightfully. And they dont leave anything in the plate! Even the skin, the organ tissue.  And I wonder if they eat the eyeballs?? I mean, I can take eating chunks of meat that’s left at the skull, and that’s all. Okay I guess I’ve eaten something else too (which I dont want to try to think what they could be) and washing them down with soup does make it taste better (and less gross feeling). Anyways. For a moment I thought we’re taking part in a Survivor challenge. And we did it! :D

We end up coming to night market every day since just to explore Uyghur food and see the feast. For record, we had another bowl of soup noodle mentioned earlier, and the manta, and curly hotdog, but never again sheep head!