Urumqi is covered with somewhat grubby snow, laying around like sand in the negative numbers. Having failed to ground the plane with our excess baggage; permissions having been granted; a car secured; and batteries charged we are ready to embark on the next step. Across the Taklamakan Desert to Kashgar (Kashi). The Taklamakan Desert is what's known as a cold desert, but apparently none the less inhospitable for that. I am reliably informed (a cab driver in Urumqi) that Taklamakan translates as "enter, but do not leave". This could b because it is such a paradise that you lose all desire to return. On the other hand... I was also reliably informed (same school of learning, different driver) that during the ice storms that gripped China in 2008, the entire desert was covered in a layer of snow. Apparently never happened before (or since, but that's not saying much). Jeepers!
The failures of tiger conservation
6 years ago