Life Archives | Xinjiang: Far West China

10 Crazy, Little-Known Facts about Xinjiang

August 14, 2017 | No Comments

For most people around the world – including Chinese people in China – Xinjiang is a mysterious and generally misunderstood region. What makes Xinjiang so special? And how can one place cause fear for some people and inspiration from another? As a foreigner who has lived in the Xinjiang region since 2006, I’ve learned that […]

Read More

Living in Xinjiang | One Foreigner’s Perspective

February 16, 2017 | 12 Comments

For most people who want to study in China, moving and living in Xinjiang is not one of the first things that comes to mind. Why is that? For one, it’s a place that is associated with a number of stereotypes, including stereotypes people have about China as well as prejudice directed toward Xinjiang, which can even […]

Read More

Best VPNs for China in 2017 (that still work despite the ban)

April 14, 2016 | 87 Comments

Update August 2017: as many of you know, China has already cracked down on VPNs in 2017 after doing so multiple times over the past couple years. Not only that, but the Chinese government is now threatening to block all VPN use by February 2018. So what’s the deal? Do the best VPNs for China still work? […]

Read More

One Man’s Journey to the Center of Asia

March 19, 2015 | 3 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 […]

Read More

What to See in Xinjiang During the Winter

January 21, 2015 | 8 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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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.

Read More

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)?

Read More

How I Got a China Driver’s License in Xinjiang

February 28, 2014 | 45 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 […]

Read More