Life Archives | Xinjiang: Far West China

One Man’s Journey to the Center of Asia

March 19, 2015 | 2 Comments

Thirty-five kilometers south of Urumqi is the geographic center of Asia. With the long winter coming to a close in Xinjiang, a couple of friends of mine decided to enjoy the warmer temperatures by going cycling with the geographic center as our destination. As the distance there and back extends to over 70 kilometers, naturally […]

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What to See in Xinjiang During the Winter

January 21, 2015 | 5 Comments

It used to be that Xinjiang tourism practically shut down between the months of November and March. Travelers were so few that most tourism sites shut down completely for the winter and weather often prohibited transportation to some locations. While Xinjiang’s weather still plays an active role in what you can and cannot see, a lot […]

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My Take: Top 5 Best VPNs for China (Updated November 2015)

January 14, 2015 | 54 Comments

Update November 2015: as many of you know, China cracked down on VPNs in early 2015 after this article was published. While many VPN services had to make changes to their connection protocols, I continue to use each of the 5 services since the crackdown and they all function well. *Click to watch the video and then subscribe to […]

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Traveler’s Guide to Turpan’s Jiaohe Ancient City 交河故城

October 4, 2014 | 3 Comments

The ancient city of Jiaohe, which lies about ten kilometers west of the small town of Turpan, is one of the most visually spectacular ruins of the old Silk Road. More than 1,500 years of history sits atop this 30-meter high plateau and because of this it has become one of Xinjiang’s most interesting archeological sites – certainly […]

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The Day I Got My First China Speeding Ticket

September 6, 2014 | 15 Comments

It was bound to happen at some point. Not that I’m a bad driver. In 15 years behind the wheel I can count on one hand the number of traffic violations I’ve received. Yet there splashed across the computer screen in the police station was a picture of me happily speeding down the highway between […]

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15 Incredible Photos That Capture My Xinjiang Story

March 17, 2014 | 7 Comments

It’s been 6 months already but a lot has happened. I believe these 15 pictures tell the story of this last half year well.

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Mayhem at the Xinjiang CBA Playoff Basketball Game

March 11, 2014 | 10 Comments

Basketball is an extremely popular sport here in China, arguably the most popular behind ping-pong. Ask any male youth and they can probably name their favorite NBA team and a few of their favorite players: 科比 (Kobe Bryant), 詹姆斯 (Lebron James) or 乔丹 (Michael Jordan) among many others.

So why is it that it that nobody seems to care about the professional China Basketball Association (CBA)?

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How I Got a China Driver’s License in Xinjiang

February 28, 2014 | 22 Comments

All it took was one and a half hours on a bus to the Urumqi DMV to remind me why I wanted to get a China driver’s license in the first place. The Urumqi DMV, known as the 车管所 (che guan suo) in Chinese, was inconveniently built as far away from Urumqi as possible. The […]

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How to Teach English in Xinjiang, China

February 17, 2014 | 34 Comments

In this article I want to describe to you the process of finding a good job here with the help of Jan Abbey, an anthropologist and current teacher here in the province. At the end, you will have the chance to sign up for an exclusive newsletter that will send out alerts to job openings throughout the year.

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Uyghur Customs | 26 Rules for Hosting

February 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

Hosting or being hosted by somebody from a different culture can always be a bit stressful, and for me the Uyghur culture with all the nuances of Uyghur customs, has been no different.

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