- 9 April 1999
- Electricity Hotel
- 428 KM
- 15766 KM
9 April 1999 – Left Turpan for Hami – famous for the melons but to our disappointment, the melons were not in season. That evening around 8 p.m., we visited the bustling night market. Located down an alley, the rectangular area, which opened only in the evening, housed 30 or 40 vendors selling meat and vegetables. In the middle of each round table, where the customers sit, was a hotpot – a large electric pot with oil inside. Once you bought your meat and veggies, you place them on skewers in the pot. After five or 10 minutes, dinner was served.
We found a vendor who had a large wok for stir-fry and a hot pot so we opted to try both. The first dish from the wok was not good – full of meat that made me worry – stomachs, liver, who knows what else. Then we had lamb shashlik that was tender and tasty. Then fried rice with lamb, although there was almost no meat on the bones in my fried rice. Then we ate stir fried veggies – onions, mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, hot peppers – this was the best of the evening. Then a man came through selling banana sorbet, which we ate with glee since we’d had nothing like this since Europe.
Most of the people at the market were 40 or younger. Many women were dressed smartly, but the most of the men did not look so good, more like they had worked outside all day. The young children wore crotch-less pants – I guess that needs no explanation.
Afterwards we walked home and stopped at a local bakery and bought a roll for the morning. The streets at 11 p.m. were full of people walking, biking and driving. There was an enticing energy in Hami.