Thursday, 8 July 2010

A Rest Urumqi Style

Sunday May 23rd
We have been having a few days so called rest at Wujiaqu near Urumqi, but I would not really call it a restful rest due to the relentless hospitality we have been receiving from the local horsey community.

The horses are being hosted in style by the 'circle of wise and wealthy friends' at the newly developed Qingcun Equestrian Club, while we are being put up at a very comfortable nearby hotel. The only downside is the ear splitting disco across the street which pounds out music into the early hours so my beauty sleep is even more severely eroded.
The irrepressible Mr Yu (looking strangely serious on the left of the photo below) drags us out for breakfast every morning, and makes sure we are royally entertained in the evening.

Someone has been at the baijiu again - Peng sleeps off the effects of the evening's toasting.
At the Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, where the Uighur shopkeepers' eyes lit up at my arrival. Peng and I look rather dowdy next to these fashion conscious members of the Urumqi horsey set.

...but one of them soon tries to smarten us up (a losing battle I fear) by buying us colourful Uighur neck scarves carefully matched to our attire. Here I am with Niyaz's very decorative daughter who works in Urumqi and came to meet us.

Then it was a mediafest back at the ranch. Peng faces up to the reporters ........

..... while Bajiu and I are unexpectedly made to lead a parade around the racecourse - hence no chaps or jodhpurs, and sporting Peng's spare boots.


.... and then the assembled company pose for the cameras.

Today we visited a horse market, not a very salutary experience, before driving to the airport to collect Welsh endurance rider Valerie Price-West, who will be accompanying us to the border.

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