Thursday, September 25, 2008

Caravan: Day 11

Day Eleven: In Ghenghis Khan’s time, this was the mighty city of Qaghystrka in the Uygur kingdom of Khocho. Now it is an empty ruin. We arrived just as the sun was beginning to set.

Do you think that, in 2,000 years, there may be cities in North America that look like this?

The two figures in this picture ran away when we tried to approach them. Not far from here, Marco Polo wrote of terrifying mirages - "hosts of men coming toward them" - which caused merchants, "suspecting they were robbers," to take flight and lose their way; modern Swedish explorer Sven Hedin called it "the most dangerous desert in the world."

Speaking of which, still no explanation for those gunshots a few nights ago. The owners of this caravan are Fatimids, and they can be extremely harsh with those that cross them. The drivers seem very relaxed and some of them even dozed off on their camels, so whatever it was, the danger seems to have passed.

Running very low on water.

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