A Quest to Discover International Calling in Xinjiang | Xinjiang: Far West China

A Quest to Discover International Calling in Xinjiang

January 24 | 2 Comments

Xinjiang has always been a land of important discoveries. Sven Hedin discovered in 1895 that it was possible to cross one of the world’s biggest deserts here. Aurel Stein, working for the British, and the German von Le Coq became famous after unearthing several ancient ruins previously swallowed by the sands of this desert. I, too, am determined to make a name for myself with my own important desert discovery: the elusive artifact known as the international phone call.

My quest began on the 20th day of the first month (that would be last Wednesday) during what has been considered the harshest winter the province has endured in quite some time. Despite the prohibitive weather I was determined to find my treasure based on a few local rumors that had been circulating. Reports had reached me indicating that an ancient site to the south was known to house the sacred “international phone call” and I couldn’t pass up the chance.

Without wasting time I packed up my camels, grabbed my heaviest lamb-skin coat and headed south. After several body-numbing minutes of cold I arrived at my destination and checked myself for any signs of frostbite. So far, so good.

In front of me stood one of the largest ancient ruins I have ever witnessed in all my years of travel. I immediately decided I should name this site lest somebody else take credit for my find. Considering my location and the object of my quest, I named the giant structure “China Telecom”. As fate would have it, inscriptions found during my excavation revealed my prophetic gifts.

The China Telecom building

Unfortunately, during my digging at what I shall call China Telecom Site #1, I discovered that earlier treasure-seekers had somehow broken the phone I was determined to find. Local Buddhist monks at the site pointed me towards another set of ruins, which I aptly named China Telecom Site #2. Here, they told me, my treasure was waiting.

I was not to be disappointed, for here I discovered not one, but 4 international phone cards! While three were sent to the British Museum to determine their authenticity (they have been duped by Xinjiang finds before) I decided to keep one for my personal collection. Here, for the first time in 6 months, I am revealing the long lost international phone call which I believe will help connect the east and west.

The international phone card for Xinjiang

This is my discovery. This will be my legacy.

Note from the author:

For those with friends or family within Xinjiang you’ll be happy to hear that I was able to contact my family in America. They still cannot call me (although others have reported calls from Japan and the Philippines), but with this phone card I can call them. Some people have told me that calls to the UK have been difficult but possible with the help of China Telecom. In any case, be assured that all calls will be heavily monitored.

About Josh Summers

Josh is a writer, musician and entrepreneur who currently resides in Urumqi, capital of China's western province of Xinjiang. He has been traveling and writing about this region since 2006 and has no plans to stop in the near future.

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  1. Good news, my wife was able to call her mom and relatives in Xinjiang today from the US. Looks like communications may be returning.


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