I took a morning flight back to Wulumuqi. I was running late for the flight and just as I was putting my passport on the counter to check in a well dressed Uigur guy threw his passport and ticket down on top of mine. I had my bags in my other hand so was slow to react and the girl behind the counter began checking him in instead of me. I ripped into the prick verbally but got no response besides a shrug.
On the plane a Uigur leather trader saw me reading a Chinese novel and leaned over to tell me that he disapproved of the Chinese writing system and there was no reason for foreigners in Xinjiang to be using it. He suggested I learn Uigur. The Chinese passengers looked around but nobody said anything.
Disembarking from the plane the Uigur queue jumper was just ahead of me with his overweight Chinese wife. I clipped his neck with my computer case as I walked past him, shrugged, and walked on. Waiting to pick up baggage I ran into Mr. Tang again. He had also been on the flight. Hopefully he didn’t see me clipping the guy’s neck.
The Chinese taxi driver taking me in from the airport tried to scam me, just as the driver who had taken me out to the airport the previous time had tried to do. They both tried to get me to pay a non-existent airport pick-up/drop-off fee. The one taking me into town also stopped to pick up some woman on the way into town, then suggested I move my luggage off the back seat so he would have space for more passengers, then tried to charge me the whole fare (plus the pick-up fee). The level of dishonesty and general piss-artistry in China is amazing.
The Peacock hotel had a bit of an issue with hot water so this time I tried the Huadu. The rooms were battered but OK.
I bought a ticket to Yili, did a little work at the Greek Posthouse, and then had dinner with Johathan, a Norwegian on holiday from one of the Central Asian republics, and a Russian girl. We ate in an Uzbek restaurant, sharing a range of dishes ordered in Russian by the Norwegian guy.
There were two soups. I think one was vegetarian and one was lamb. Both were excellent. The bread was probably the highlight of the meal, softer than the hard Uigur bread, and eaten dipped in yogurt. There was also a deliciously rich stew of lamb, potatoes, onions, and a little mustard and herbs; large chunks of braised lamb; hamburger with fried potatoes; and a salad of pickled carrot strips. Some beer would have been nice but unfortunately there was nothing to drink besides bowls of tea. The bill for four people came to just 70 or so RMB, amazing value for the quality and quantity of food.
I headed straight home after dinner since it was another early morning flight to Yili the next day.