Friday, December 17, 2010

Tour Guide

I have become kind of known around town as a bit of a tour guide when friends have guests come in from the States. I like to take people on what has become known as “the Uyghur walk”. It is a trip through some of the back streets of town looking at Uyghur trinkets and playing guessing games on what you would use them for. We often stop and talk to vendors, and friends of mine. The walk covers everything from how to wash your hands respectfully in Uyghur culture ( three times, wringing your hands dry – no flicking the water off since that is very offensive) to how babies diapers work. The whole walk can be as short as twenty five minutes or as long as two hours based on the group I am taking around.

In the past some groups have politely listened to my explanation and nodded in the direction of the things I am highlighting. While others, like the group I took around this week, take the tour to a whole new level. They made videos of themselves all tasting the fermented Kazak cheese at the same time, so they could play them back later to see who re-acted the most to the bitter taste. They took pictures of themselves dancing with the statues in the square. They peeked their heads into the tunour to watch the nan baking. They asked me to interview the kabob guys who where BB-Qing their meat. They wanted to buy Uyghur music CD so they could practice dancing in their room later. They loved the butcher selling whole lambs, they checked out the boiled sheep heads, they even dared each other to sit and listen to the fortune teller. They were the best type of group, everything was new, everything was cool, everything has a story and they wanted to hear it. We walked for almost a full two hours and no one really seemed to notice the freezing December temperature. (Yes the pictures are file photos of the same walk on a much nicer day.)

Me- playing host to the Uyghur trinkets guessing game challenge

Butcher shop- whole lambs for sale outside
Nan baking

Boiled sheep heads

Metal worker sharpening his blade

Shoe sales

Bright colourful fabric

Uyghur Fortune teller - have your cards read on the side of the road

Seeing their excitement and explaining a little more in detail about this place reminds just how much I love it and how thankful I am for these unique aspects of my life.


Anonymous said...

Love the tour and the pics :)

Beth said...

Ah. I see that the fortune teller is predicting that s/he will catch a nasty virus.