Kalamaili

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Jimusaer to Qiakeertu

– north into the Kalamaili Reserve
– not a ‘reserve’ in the sense we might think –
– oil & coal fields, numerous oil wells dotting the landscape
– desert grassland, more flora as we increase in elevation (this area is used as winter pasture)
– stopped to do an informal survey of the flora, mostly low lying except for the sauxal which can be low lying or grow to tree height
– animal prints (paw and hoof) as well as burrow systems are evident
– visited horse enclosure
– drove around the animal husbandry complex – trash and debris tossed behind the buildings
– Shalkar and Omar regulary throw empty water bottles and cigarette butts out of the car window as we drive through the grassland
– from the conservation outpost, you can see that for many kilometers around, there are no other buildings, just the tire tracks of automobiles and motorcycles
– the men spoke to a young man who was new to the job at the conservation outpost – he was unable to direct us toward the Guerbantvvgut, so we made our way back to the animal husbandry complex where we got better directions
– drove to shifting sand dunes that marked the edge of the Guerbantvvgut Desert
– Dr. Z says we are not actually too far from the nearest human settlement…paved highway and water is planned for this area to accommodate oil & coal workers
– we got into Qiakeertu late at night, see big busses ferrying people between Altai and Urumqi, hotel where we were planning to stay is booked for the next several days
– eventually we found a place to stay, but woman at the front desk (who is on some sort of an IV drip) is at first reluctant to book rooms for us, but eventually she acquiesces. For our purpose, I am Chalkhar’s relative.
– we are located next door to the police station

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