A Peek Into the Local Life in Urumqi, China

When getting off the train in Urumqi (pronounced Uru-Muchi), the capital of the Xinjang province, we felt that we were no longer in China, but in one of the Central Asian countries. This was muslim China and food, people, buildings etc were much different to what we had seen in Beijing.

When asking Chinese people about Urumqi people had been saying that it was beuatiful, had the best barbeque in China and was dangerous. There had been violent riots here in the past and the streets were full of military police making sure that nothing went on. It felt quiet and safe, and we walked around with our local guide to explore the Mosque, the Bazaar (market) and a park located on top of a hill.

When the evening came we sat down to have some shish kebabs, or Shashlyk as they are called here, and some beers that we just bought from the nearby store. Evening turned into night and people started heading back to the hotel, but as it was our last night in China we wanted to spend our last Chinese money (23rmb/3USD) on a couple of beers and kebabs, but then some Khazak people from the neighbour table invited us over and insisted that the rest of the evening would be their treat.

They kept buying kebabs and beers for us until the restaurant closed and then they asked us to come home to them for some more food and drinks. Again they insisted on paying for the taxi and we were on our way to a local home, with only a couple of dollars in our pockets and no understanding of the local language. It was the best decision ever. We ended up spending the whole night eating horse meat, drinking beer, singing (mostly Norwegian childrens songs) and dancing. It was all quite hillarious, with us speaking no Khazak or Chinese and they speaking no Norwegian or English, but we still managed to understand quite a bit, like that they thought we looked like Leonardo di Caprio and Charles Darwin and that they wanted us to join killing their sheep. We kindly declined and got on a bus back to the city in the morning.

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