On our last trip south my roommate decided she wanted to visit a friend who lived in a small hamlet , near a small village, outside a small town. We tried calling her number as soon as we got into town. We took a bus out to the village and tried to look her up at her place of employment. Sadly she no longer worked at the Uyghur wedding hair studio. My roommate had been to her house twice (once in the dark) but we were up to the challenge of trying to locate the correct dirt road somewhere outside of a tiny little hamlet that know one has ever even heard of.
We found a taxi driver willing to drive us and before we knew it he was stopping the car in the middle of two intersecting streets and announcing we had arrived. From our seats in the car we could swing our heads from side to side and take in the five store fronts that made up the entirety of our destination ( I mean this place made Tawakkul seem like a booming metropolis). The drivers followed our glace as we looked over our surroundings. “How long are you ladies planning on staying out here? I can wait and give you are ride back into the village if you want?” We stepped out of the car, paid him his money and assured him, we were fine and didn’t need a ride back. Before he drove off we did ask him to point out which road would at least get us in the right direction.
It was a beautiful spring day, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing , the leaves on the popular trees were dancing in the wind. We had been walking for almost ten minutes when we heard a car rumbling up the road behind us. As it slowed down we saw the familiar face of our driving leaning out the front window “Now do you guys want a ride?” We waved him passed and kept ambling down the street. We didn’t really want to mention we were looking for someone, since in an area this size having a foreigner come to visit you normally means the next guest through your door will be the police asking a bunch of questions. Twenty minutes later the same, now familiar voice could be heard from the car driving by “Are you guys sure you don’t want to hop in?”
Finally the straight country road started to bend towards the left and my roommates got excited. “I think this is it” She said. I looked at the row of small homes and one side and the plots of land with small green heads of crop pushing through the soil on the other and wondered to myself “ how this dirt lane looked any different than the last six we had passed”. “Yes this is it, look” she started pointing out minuscule landmarks that assured her we had reached our destination. It took us another ten minutes to reach the last house on the lane and as she peeked in the front door that was slightly ajar she whispered back “The layout of the house looks right, but I don’t recognize anyone sitting inside” She pulled her head back out and asked what we should do. “While we have come this far… even if it is the wrong house Uyghur people are so friendly they will likely invite us in for a drink before we have to keep walking.”
But they weren’t all strangers, and it wasn’t the wrong house. Out of all the hamlets, near all the villages in all the parts of this province… my roommate had lead us to the right house at the end of the correct dirt road, to the very living room of her friends family. We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up and having a great dance party with the whole family.