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10 Years in Xinjiang | CCTV Documentary

October 27 | 2 Comments

In July of 2016, I was connected to Han Bin, a senior producer who was planning to film a CCTV documentary series on the Xinjiang region. He was going to create 18 mini-documentaries on various stories and characters to help paint a picture of Xinjiang that he felt was missing from the state-run broadcaster. For some reason he […]

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Stunning Scenery on Xinjiang’s Highway 216

May 17 | 40 Comments

It all started with a single WeChat message, a kind of Chinese social media, from a friend that lived in Korla. I was planning to drive out his way from the capital of Urumqi and he insisted that my Xinjiang road trip include Highway 216. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. He […]

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Evolution of Xinjiang Tourism: A Photo Essay

May 19 | 24 Comments

One of my favorite tourist spots in Xinjiang is changing. Like Kanas Lake, Heavenly Lake, and Kashgar’s Old City – all beautiful gems of Xinjiang travel that have been swallowed up by tourism – the ancient city of Jiaohe in Turpan is being exploited, and it makes me sad. I realize that this isn’t a Chinese […]

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“Timeless” Xinjiang | Interview with Ryan Pyle

September 16 | 8 Comments

I had the opportunity this last month to chat with Ryan Pyle, a Shanghai-based photographer and producer best known here in China for his 20,000 km motorcycle journey across the whole country. He’s been described as an “anthropologist with a camera” and I think you’ll see by the photos below exactly why that is. I’ve always […]

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The Day I Got My First China Speeding Ticket

September 6 | 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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Review of Urumqi’s Foreign Restaurants

June 19 | 22 Comments

Update 2020: Every single one of the restaurants listed below is now closed. Very few foreigners remain in Xinjiang thanks to China’s attempt to cover up the human rights abuses they are committing against the Uyghur. This post will remain active as a time capsule for what once was. My son is a little over […]

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(Fake) Story of Urumqi Miner Trapped 17 Years

May 27 | 5 Comments

For all the strengths and advantages of social media, users who fact-check stories before they share them has never been one of them. Take, for example, the most recent story of a Urumqi, Xinjiang miner who was reportedly rescued after 17 years trapped underground. This story, which for the past month I’ve seen circulated numerous […]

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Update on the Urumqi, Xinjiang Attacks (Can I Still Travel to Xinjiang?)

May 24 | 66 Comments

As many of you know, these past few months have been quite difficult here in Urumqi, the capital of China’s far western region of Xinjiang. It seemed like a distant problem back in March when Kunming was struck with a violent knife attack but sadly came knocking on our doorstep in late April when the Urumqi […]

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Mayhem at the Xinjiang CBA Playoff Basketball Game

March 11 | 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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A Crazy Idea That Would Literally Reshape Xinjiang, China

February 24 | 4 Comments

I read news last week about a recent proposal to push the US state of California to divide into 6 different states. It intrigued me for a few different reasons, not the least of which has to do with my current home here in Xinjiang, China.

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