If you’ve been following the news a ‘Dangerous and Life Threatening Storm’ Juno (The Weather Channel) has been in the process of ‘clobbering’ New England (also, the Weather Channel), and has singled out Mass. for particular rough treatment. To see a rather funny video of the weatherman struggling to report through hurricane force gusts of snow check out the link here.
Yesterday I decided against the good advice of my housemates to make the mile plus trek out to Tufts University. I’ve never seen anything like it before: Davis square deserted but for some people in snow shoes walking their dog, the traffic lights changing only for the snow plowing cars, and drifts that came above my knee on the sidewalk. Being from Hawaii, all this is still pretty fun for me.
Good training too, because the temperature in Urumqi Xinjiang today is -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit, American friends). Kashgar is a bit more merciful, at around -8 degrees (17 degrees Fahrenheit). Cold, straight up. Now that the library is re opened I’ve been finishing off all the books I need to return before I leave on Monday, and I found an excellent timeline of Xinjiang’s history from Paleolithic times to present in James Millward’s excellent Eurasian Crossroads: a history of Xinjiang. Hope to be posting that here tonight.
In other news, though now my itinerary is set (whee!) I’m facing some slight hardships regarding interviews in Beijing as a) these are very sensitive times, even more than usual to be discussing Xinjiang, and b) it is 春节 (chunjie), spring festival, Chinese New Year season and most people are on the road, as chunjie is like Christmas and Thanksgiving combined, multiplied by the largest population in the world. Like any other project, I’m learning the hard way that what you expect will happen probably won’t for multiple reasons and this in itself is a valuable learning experience. Still, I’ll try my best and try to keep the interviews strictly to water policy and environmental work strictly, no political stability involved. I’m hopeful some more leads may come through.
Also I’ve been keeping up with my Chinese via italki, and have been reading this article on a Han Chinese man’s experience growing up in the predominantly Uyghur Kashgar for class on the NY times Chinese Section: 把我知道的新疆说给你听。 Interesting stuff and the kind of story which isn’t readily available through English media.
Some pictures from the long walk to Tufts, and some cute snow dogs on the way.
vs. a no snow day below..