Silk Road

I have a serious fascination with South and Central Asia. You know, the -stans — Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan — plus Iran and India. This interest is part of my infatuation with the Silk Road, so I also throw in Turkey, the Levant, Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, and eastern China for good measure, too.

See, one of my most ambitious goals in life is to travel the Silk Route, starting in Turkey or Lebanon or Israel and endiing in Beijing or Shanghai or Hong Kong. We could do much of this now by train as others have if we wanted — and it would be fantastic — but I’m thinking about something bigger, something that would put more stamps in my passport and gray hairs on my head. Clearly I’m going to need more money and skills. I’m working on the latter by learning some languages. Hopefully the money will sort itself out.

I figure there’s at least a decade (at least!) before we have the money (and probably much longer for the skills). So here’s your chance to recommend things to see along the way. Or try to talk me out of it. Or just post ridiculous things about the Silk Road or the ‘Stans.

What’s currently on my list of things to see?

p.s. — You may see some Central Asian history here in the future.

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3 Responses to Silk Road

  1. Kathy says:

    That sounds like an incredible journey! The May, 2008 National Geographic issue is all about China. An included map says that on the Southern edge of the Taklimakan Desert at a town named Hotan, which they say in on the Silk Road, jade has washed down from the Kunlun Mountains. Just thought i would pass that along.

  2. Jeff Mather says:

    Hey Auntie! Thanks for the NG tip.

    I love the whole idea of the Taklamakan Desert. Its name means “You go in, you’ll never come out.” That sounds like my kind of place.

    There are a couple of things I would like to see in Xinjiang, the location of the Taklamakan Desert. On the east side is Yumen Guan, the Jade Gate, which marks the end of the Great Wall. And on the west is the Stone City of Taxkorgan.

  3. mary says:

    sounds very ambitious! the mountains in the karakul link look so badass – you must go! i am also drawn to mountainous regions, but mine favorites (well, the ones i want to visit the most) are on the complete opposite side of the globe from where you want to visit. yay!

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