Desert. Grassland. Basin. As a student who has lived in Xinjiang for 17 years, these are the top 3 words I’ve ever heard from others to describe this mysterious place. Yes, Xinjiang consists of these, but these are just small aspects of Xinjiang. The natural views are gorgeous, the cities are developed, the economy is advanced, people are modern, food is delicious, snacks are various, fruits are juicy… There are not enough words to describe Xinjiang. To be honest, I am not a native of Xinjiang; I moved to Xinjiang from Liaoning (a northwestern part of China) with my family when I was two years old. However, I did live there for most of my life and thus I have been forced to love this amazing place.

Unlike most provinces in China, Xinjiang is one of the few provinces which uses kilogram as standard uint of measurement. Once I went to a supermarket in Shanghai to buy apples, and the only thing written on the board above the apples was the number “10.” Naturally, I thought the unit price of these apples was 10 yuan per kilogram. However, when I tried to pay, I was shocked that I had to pay twice the price; I quickly realized that I was not in Xinjiang anymore.

One of the attractions of Xinjiang is the provinces’ juicy fruits. Delicious and cheap. Even the fruit that is not produced in Xinjiang is still cheap. Apart from fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts are also of very good quality. However, you must remember: never take too many raisins (葡萄干) or you’ll get tooth decay because they are extremely sweet. As for why the fruit in Xinjiang is so sweet, let me quote from a Chinese Geography textbook: “新疆日照时数多 (long time with sunshine)”;”热量丰富 (very hot)”;“气温昼夜相差大 (the temperature at day & night are in big gap).”

Xinjiang has many days of sunshine, and at the summer solstice day we suffer nearly 17 hours of daytime. The immediate result is that we have two hour time difference from inland China. See the table below.

Time Table Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Any other provinces(cities)
Get Up 8am-9am 6am-7am
Class Begin 10am(or early) 8am(or early)
Lunch 2pm 12pm
Dinner 7pm-10pm 5pm-7pm
Go To Bed 12am 9pm-10pm

Xinjiang residents are really relaxed and never in a crazy rush. This is one of the reasons why I found it difficult to adapt to the pace of life in Shanghai when I first came here, or in other words, it is the reason why I was always late for class.

Since the daytime is very long, everyone who goes to Xinjiang for the first time will have a similar feeling: there is plenty of time to play and visit. No matter how late you end your activities, the sky is always bright.

There is saying that: 没去过新疆,你就永远不知道祖国有多大。You’ll never know how large China is if you never visit Xinjiang. While most people know that the area of Xinjiang makes up one-sixth of all of China, the truth is you will experience a seemingly magical process if you drive a car by yourself through Xinjiang. During the first stage of your trip you will see the most beautiful sight outside your car window: clouds, grasslands, lavender fields, rivers, mountains, deserts, basins, gobi, populus euphratica forests, and so on. During the second stage you will experience winds blowing fiercely and feel as if your car might turn over; you might exclaim, “How amazing the power of nature is!” During the last stage of your trip you will find yourself plunged into despair, feeling helpless because there is no one around you for a hundred miles and you fear cannot reach the end of the road. Without experiencing it firsthand, you can never imagine the size and diversity of Xinjiang!

There are various ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Two major ethnic groups are the Han people汉族人 and the Uyghur维吾尔族 people. Just as many people think, they excel at singing and dancing and are often good-looking. When you walk on a street in ethnic minority communities, you feel as though you are in an exotic place. However, not all people in Xinjiang are Uyghur; the Uyghur people are just one of the thirteen main ethnic minorities, and actually the majority of people in Xinjiang are Han people. No matter what ethnic group, Xinjiang people are absolutely kind and friendly.

Now comes the most exciting part – food in Xinjiang. You can never count how many kinds of food you can taste here. And the more exotic, the more delicious the dishes are! Chicken and mutton are the two most popular meats in Xinjiang, especially around ethnic minority communities. Uyghur people cannot live without mutton and those who live in rural areas have been graziers for generations. They are very good at cooking mutton and pastry.

Moving to Xinjiang may be one of the best choices my family has ever made, and no matter where I go in the future, I cannot forget its kind people, breathtaking views, and delicious food. Although my parents’ roots are in Liaoning, my roots will forever be in the beautiful province of Xinjiang.

 

亦闹亦静最边疆

大漠。草原。盆地。

如果你像我一样,也是一个正儿八经的新疆人,那么这些就是你最常听到的用来定义我脚下这篇神秘而广袤的土地的词。正如你所看到的的,这些的确是新疆的标志,然而却不仅仅只有这些,这些在旁人看起来形容新疆最恰当不过的词,在我们看来,只不过是区区一隅罢了。也许从我两岁随父母自辽宁搬至新疆开始扎根的那一刻起,我就只属于这个地方了。我爱这个地方。

和大多数地方不同,新疆是中国少有的的几个使用公斤作为标准计量单位的省份之一。说来也好笑,有个很典型的例子就是有一次我在上海的一家超市买苹果的时候,一堆苹果上面插着张价牌,上面清楚地写着“10元”,我便下意识地以为这是每公斤苹果的价钱。然而尴尬发生在付款的时候:我居然要为这些苹果付出两倍于原来的价钱!然后我才突然意识到这已经不是在新疆了。所以一直到很后来,我才慢慢习惯着用斤和两去度量一个东西的重量,这样便不至于每次在餐馆被收银员问需要几两米饭的时候,表现出茫然和手足无措。

既然谈到了水果,我必须要多说几句。相信新疆这里品种丰富及鲜嫩多汁的水果绝对占据着“去新疆旅游的几大理由”榜首的位置。新疆的水果好吃是出了名的,也更是因为便宜而享誉全国。另外,撇去水果不说,干果的丰富度及美味程度也更是超乎你的想象。只有一点,葡萄干这类甜到掉牙的千万不能贪吃,否则易致牙疼。

大多数人都听说过新疆和内地有两个小时的时差,但是并没多少人真正了解这两个小时的时差在生活作息上的差异。每当我跟身边的朋友讲,新疆的白天很长很长,朋友们可能都没有意识到这意味着:在夏至日这天,我们将要经历的是将近17个小时的白天。具体时间差异请见下表:

Time Table | 时间表 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region | 新疆 Any other provinces(cities) | 其他省市
Get Up | 起床点 8am-9am 6am-7am
Class Begin | 上课点 10am(or early) 8am(or early)
Lunch | 午饭点 2pm 12pm
Dinner | 晚餐点 7pm-10pm 5pm-7pm
Go To Bed | 睡觉点 12am 9pm-10pm

在新疆生活确实是件很享受的事情,人们也永远不会因为任何事而加快自己的节奏。如果说全中国只有一个地方能抓住时间的尾巴的话,那么大概就是新疆,对于绝大多数第一次到新疆的人来说,掌心中总是能握住比想象的更多的时间,因为无论你玩到多晚,天总还是亮的,而繁星早已出现。坐在薰衣草田里,看着夕阳映射下残红的天空,数颗明星在头顶透出恬静安详的光,便总觉得能够在时间的针脚处,嗅到风的气息,寻到花开花落的痕迹。

“没去过新疆,你就永远不知道祖国有多大。”——用这句话来形容新疆的广阔再合适不过。都说新疆占据着祖国1/6的大地,然而这句话在我听来是如此的苍白无力。这份称誉恐怕只有那些亲身来过新疆的人才能感受到。当一个人驾着车,开在一条望不到尽头的公路上的时候,首先包裹着他的是车窗外无限美丽的风景,从天上的云,到地下的河,从情意绵绵的薰衣草田,到鬼斧神工的千年胡杨林,从无垠大漠,到茫茫戈壁,从高山冰川,到丘陵盆地,无一不是值得驻足流连的地方;接着,迎接你的是呼啸的狂风,那是一种仿佛    是要把人撕裂的恶风,这时人们往往爆发出来的是对大自然奇异力量的感叹;到了最后,你会发现早已置身无人之境,紧紧勒索着你的是一种令人窒息的孤独恐惧,千里无人的紧张不安捆绑着你,那是一种无助的绝望,一种来自于对大自然深深的敬畏,对祖国大地忠诚的认同的对人类渺小的写照。

新疆是一个由众多少数民族组成的地方。而在人口最突出的13个主体民族中,汉族和维吾尔族又是作为两大重要民族而存在。也正如旁人所认为的,维吾尔族人的确能歌善舞,同时颜值也是高度突出。所以,当你走在少数民族聚居区之时,你会仿若走入了异域他乡:看着身边的高鼻梁,长睫毛,深眼窝,说着另外一种完全不同的语言的人们走过,有的头顶一大盘西瓜,有的手捧一束油馓子,你一定会爱上并迷失在这个奇妙的街头。新疆的人们,无论是什么民族,都是极其的热情好客,为人善良,即使遇到了土生土长的不会说汉语的少数民族,他们也会邀请你到家里喝一碗奶茶,吃一片西瓜,咂一串葡萄,嚼一块馕。

接下来的是最美味的一段文字,因为这是关于新疆的美食。你可能永远也数不清你在这究竟会尝到多少种美食。并且,越具有民族特色,往往就越美味。新疆主食的肉类是羊肉和鸡肉——维吾尔族人民擅食羊,回族人民擅食鸡。维吾尔族人民更几乎是离不开羊肉,一家人无论身在何方,遇到重大节日,都会回到家里美美地吃上几道羊肉佳肴。住在山上维吾尔族人,大多都是牧民,羊便自由生长在山野之间,饮雪水,啮青草,自然,这样的羊肉也从不会腥膻。除了羊肉,这群热爱生活的人们也很擅长烤制面食,馕,烤包子,油馓子,油塔子便是其中的几种代表。

私自认为,迁至新疆也许是父母替我做的最正确的几个决定之一,不仅是因为我在这里扎了根,更是因为这片肥沃的土地极大限度地滋养了我。或许未来我会走得很远,远到连我自己都不知道在哪里,但我总会记住那条回家的路,在人生的终点,终究还是要回到这里。也许对父母来说,辽宁和东北的黑土地文化是他们的根,然而,于我,新疆才是那个我喝着天山雪水成长的地方,也是在这里,在新疆文化的拥抱中,我学会了如何去做一个真正的人。这里,是我的根。

 

This article was written and translated by Zihe Wang. Send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Kadallah Burrowes

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