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)|
|Class Begin||10am(or early)||8am(or early)|
|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.
|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|
This article was written and translated by Zihe Wang. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Kadallah Burrowes