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A Costume and a Concert

Miranda’s Uighur costume was due to be finished, so we returned to Mr. Shakeer’s shop in time to see some last-minute tailoring.

Each of the zillions of sequins was sewn on BY HAND. We told Miranda this might be the first AND last time in her life she would ever have a made-to-order gown!

Finally, it was ready, and she ducked behind a display case of musical instruments to change. Meanwhile, Sami and Tom tried out the brand-new snakeskin tambourine! Mr Shakeer demonstrated the proper finger-tapping technique. Looks easy, doesn’t it? But just like spinning the toy top, doing this correctly is MUCH harder than it looks – Tom practically sprained a finger trying!

TA DA! Miranda posed in her new finery.

Once she was suitably garbed, Mr. Shakeer and his brother (who is another famous musician and teacher) treated us to a brief but intense and lovely concert. They played two long songs, both Uighur classics. The first one had a fast tempo – fingers were flying up and down the long necked instruments! The music literally made my heart pound.

At the end of the first song, I glanced outside the glass door and by sheer coincidence (or was it? Who knows?) I saw Gul walking by with a friend! I waved her in and she sat down for the second song. It was slower, more lyrical and moving – it literally brought tears to Gul’s eyes.

Who says Khotan has only three treasures? Tops, hats, Mr. Shakeer, walnut candy and fabulous finery – the list is much longer than that – and we haven’t even gotten to… (click here to see what's next!)


Xinjiang chapter shortcuts: Intro Urumqi
Khotan Treasures Toy Bazaar Camel Weaving Shakeer Hats Food Costume Bowls Camel Ride
Overland Kashgar Old City Bazaar Kindergarten Rural Life Reunion

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