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Gentrification hits the Kashgar bazaar

Tom did not recognize the bazaar from his 1987 visit, captured here in a postcard shot. The postcard is still sold today, no doubt to entice tourists to visit Kashgar...

In 2003, the bazaar had been transformed from a legendarily sprawling and chaotic outdoor event to a tidy, brand-new, set of stall in a gleaming complex:

We went on a weekday, so it was extremely quiet, but good for browsing. Without the crowds, we could actually see the items on offer!

The bored vendors, however, looked like they could use a few more customers:

Already laden with our Khotan treasures, we weren’t really in buying mode, but we made an exception for some more Uighur gowns, available at a very good price - they weren’t custom-tailored, after all! The girls enjoyed trying on several options before choosing an Atlas-style number (synthetic, of course – remember that original Atlas is out of reach, budget-wise, for most Uighurs and for us!) and a sky-blue beauty:

Tom discovered a pharmacy – but not like any “drugstore” the girls had ever seen:

The “pharmacist” specialized in medicinal herbs and animal parts, designed to treat what ails you – especially if you are a man and what ails you is your plumbing, so to speak! From ginseng to animal penile bones, he had it all.

We found lots of animal pelts for sale, but we breathed a sigh of relief when we realized – it took only a glance or two – that most of them were only painted to look like lynx, leopard, and other endangered species.

We tried on more hats – no, dear, not THAT one ...
... not THOSE either, please; remember our no-pets rule! ...
...but we couldn’t resist this fancy Kazakh number that reminded us of “The Music Man!”

Little did we know that a whole lot of music – performed by costumed kids a la Preston Sturges – was about to come our way!


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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