Arrival at Urumqi..
10:00am Urumqi Train Station (Wulumuqi Huoche Jahn)
I arrived at urumqi train station and headed straight towards the travel agency. According to the lonely planet, its much cheaper to take an agency to Kanas Reserve Park rather than going yourself since there are no buses to the park and a cab would cost about 250 one way. So, i went to 5 different travel agency and paid 400 yuan to one of em. Its dirt cheap. Accomodation and travel expenses paid for. The only problem with chinese tour agencies is, they tend to get really excited with ‘the group’ so they probably would really think im an asshole for telling them “guys, thanks for the transportation, but i think i’d like to be on my own right now”. The bus was going to leave the next day, so i had a whole day at urumqi to myself. I checked into a nearby cheap dorm (20 yuan) and started walking around town..
1:00pm, Around Urumqi
There are so many mosques here. But all of them look the same as the ones we have back home. Arabic architecture kinda thing. Nothing like the ming dynasty architechture mosques i saw on the way to Xiahe. It was uninteresting. I had some kebab and meat dumplings and walked sommore. I really liked this town. Unlike most chinese big cities i have been to, Urumqi is really really laid back. Not too much croaking, spitting and even honking!
6:00pm, Bogda Binguan (Bogeda Guesthouse)
I went back to my dorm and had a shower at the most unpleasant shower in all of china. On top of that, i had to pay 5 yuan for it. Stupid. I hanged out with this 50 year old italian traveller and we went to a nearby market together. For dinner, i had more kebab. The italian guy was so kelakar okay! When the kebabs came, he took out a knife, two tomatos, some bread and started making his own goddamn sandwich right there. And so i said ‘What on gods good earth are you doing?’ With a think italian accent, his response was, ‘I can’t help it ey? I’m from italia!’
9:00pm, Bogda Binguan
It was still way too early to sleep. I didn’t know what to do. After reading a few pages of the novel i brought with me, I decided to arrange my backpack properly. A folded piece of paper fell out and i opened it. Back when i was in Xi’an, i met a chinese from beijing that wrote down on this piece of paper, in chinese, a popular disco for me to ‘check out’ in Urumqi. ‘Hmm..’ i thought. ‘This could be interesting.’ Besides, i realized after walking around town, the women in urumqi are much more beautiful than the rest of china, i think this is partly because they have many ethnic minorities here (uighurs, kazakhs, uzbeks). So what the hell… After my backpack was sorted, i headed out and hailed a cab to this disco.
11:30pm, Outside the Disco
Apparently, this place is called ‘the house’ (in chinese). But unfortunately, it was closed. So i told the taxi driver, ‘wo yao qu PARTY’. Obviously he did not get me. Then i said ‘WO QU…’ and i started dancing in front of him to let him know i wanted to go to a friggin’ disco. He got me. He took me way across town to this really dodgy place. I got down, and saw some people lining up outside what might look like one of those dodgy places in KL. But the people lining up looked really hip and happening. Hmmm… This could be really dangerous ail. Your alone, no allies and your entering a disco full of people that you can’t understand, nor could they understand you. After much contemplation, i decided its best i experience all aspects of china… I walked in, paid 20 Yuan for the covercharge and entered the lift. We went 4 floors up and when the elevator doors opened, I realized that it only looked crappy from the outside, the inside looked like Zouk. Only with much more bright colors.
12:30am, The Disco
When i walked in, people were not dancing but they had girls in tight uniformed outfit dancing at the dancefloor. It was just a show. I went to a dark corner and watched from afar. I noticed that the people around me were actually quite fashionable, handsome and beautiful. I realized this must be the place the ‘beautiful people’ go to on a tuesday night. After the dancers stopped dancing, the host came out and he talked like what would appear to me as a game show host. Everyone clapped and enjoyed whatever he was saying. They had these plastic hands on each table that you can wave around to make a clacking sound. I felt like i was at a new years party. After the host was done, he gave way to a bunch of shaolin kids doing some real cool acrobatic moves. Flying kicks, speed punching and all kinds of shaolin fighting moves. What the hell was going on? I thought this was supposed to be a disco??? The shaolin kids went off the stage and followed by those dancers. The host came out again and invited everyone to the dance floor. Everyone started dancing to some feng-tau song and the host was sort of karaoke-ing it! It was a minus one! And in between music he sounded like one of those rtm DJ’s that constantly interrupt a song. I was really irritated. And how could you dance to this?? But the people there were ENJOYING IT. After staring at these people for a good 45 minutes, i decided to hit the dance floor. They started playing hip hop and fortunately for me, chinese here CANNOT DANCE. So i was attracting quite some attention. The music stopped abruptly, the host came out again and everyone went back to their seats. I went back to my corner and could not believe my eyes. They had a CLOWN! But everyone i noticed was enjoying themselves. So was i actually. The clown was hilarious. But i knew it was my cue to leave. I went out, got into a cab and went back to my hotel.
2:30am, Bogda Binguan
When i got back, everyone in my dorm was asleep. I tip-toed to my bed and fell asleep just as soon as my head reached the pillow.