Destination Reached II

Central Kashgar
August 12, 2009

Communications are cut across Xinjiang. There is no Internet access. International phone calls--both incoming and outgoing--are routed into the ether. Even SMS text messaging between mobile phones doesn't work.

The military is maintaining a presence through the streets of Kashgar. Convoys, three trucks each, drive troops slowly around the city center. Long red banners line the sides of each vehicle. Along each banner will be one of several slogans promoting ethnic harmony: each message repeated in both Uighur and Chinese. In the bed of each truck soldiers line the sides standing at attention, facing outwards. A large shield rests in front of each body; sunglasses perch over each pair of eyes. At the tail of each truck are three soldiers facing the rear: one mans a machine gun, the two standing on either side of him bear Kalashnikovs.

It's midnight and all is well on the streets of Kashgar.