Sunday livestock market, 20-minute taxi ride outside Kashgar, Xinjiang, October 2013
I planned the timing of my entire Kashgar trip around this dusty, pungent, vibrant livestock market that dates back to the Silk Road times.
Starting from around 10am, traditionally dressed Uyghur, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and I believe even Tajiks in trucks and donkey carts stuffed with sheep, cows, horses, goats and camels enter the grounds for a day of buying, selling, eating, gossiping and socializing. It’s really lovely to watch, especially as nobody really pays attention to the handful of tourists wandering around.
Some of the livestock owners, like this particular shepherd, arrived early and spent part of the morning grooming their animals to look their best for prospective buyers. I couldn’t help but snap this shot, as it was the first time I really paid attention to sheep’s bare rumps and was all agog at how protruding and bouncy they were!
Word of warning – this market is not for everyone. I grew up tottering around Hong Kong wet markets and still head over any chance I get, so instead of getting grossed out by a deft sheep gutting at one of the food stalls, I enthused over entrails and said things like “Wow this guy is amazingly efficient! Look at that knife work, not a wasted stroke! Mmmm I bet that’s tasty.”