Day 22: Hami to Turpan

We started from Hami for Turpan. The route from Hami to Turpan was only 400 kms., so we
took it easy in the morning. The journey was special because we found The Flaming
mountains or Gaochang Mountains.

The Flaming mountains are barren, eroded, red sandstone hills in the Tian Shan of Xiajiang.
They lie near the northern rim of the Taklamakan Desert and east of the city of Turpan.
Their striking gullies and trenches caused by erosion of the red sandstone bedrock give the
mountains a flaming appearance at certain times of the day.

The mountains are about 100 kms. long and 5 – 10 kms. wide crossing the Turpan
Depression from east to west. The mountain climate is harsh, and the extremely high
summer temperatures make this the hottest spot in China, frequently reaching 50 degree
Centigrade or higher.

One of the largest thermometers in China  - a popular tourist spot - is on display adjacent to
the mountain, tracking the surrounding ground temperatures.

We reached Turpan and near the city, on the way, we saw some Grapes farms. Our Guide,
Mr. Tom, advised us to take right turn so that we can stop and see the grapes being grown
and touch them. We soon reached a spot where there were many Grape trees.

We stopped the car in an open space and started seeing the Grape trees and took many
photos. The place where we stopped the car was outside a house which has a very big gate.
The small children of the house were playing outside with some grown up children also
sitting there. They were very excited to see us. One of them could talk little English. They
came and talked to Aviv. They were so kind that they cut a fresh big watermelon and
offered it to us. It was too big for us to finish. They insisted and we took the fresh
watermelon. It was very sweet.

The generosity and hospitality of the children was to be seen to be believed. This was also
our culture, but in India it seems to be reducing. We were pleasantly surprised that for
complete strangers, the people in Turpan had so much love and affection. We took photos
with them and spent some time with them. They have won our hearts.

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