Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Sunday animal market

Often when traveling it is easy to build up an over-romanticised mental image of a place or sight. A long anticipated visit is then met with disappointment when the reality is realised. Not so with the fabled Kashgar Sunday animal market. It was everything I had imagined after reading so many accounts. Unlike the city of Kashgar itself the market has remained untouched by Chinese 'improvements'. The market still appeared to be the hub of animal transactions in the region and the centre of Uighur culture.

We pushed our way through rows of fat tailed sheep, watched test rides of horses, saw donkeys, mules, goats and fighting dogs, cows and bulls, farriers shoeing horses and butchers producing some very fresh mutton. A cow broke loose and made her escape. She proved surprising agile, dodging people trying to recapture her. She made it to the exit and disappeared out of sight. Deals were being made by a buyer grasping the hand of the seller; the hand shaking continuing until a price is agreed. The barter could last up to an hour. Donkeys brayed, dogs barked and horses kicked up the dusty ground.

 Horse test riding

Bottoms up - fat tailed sheep

 Little donkey

 Kebabs - yum

The more attractive end of fat tailed sheep

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