On to Kuqa

On to Kuqa

               Another early wake up call, today at 5 AM to catch the flight to Kuqa at 8 AM. 

               Cab was waiting at 6 AM and he first asked for 80 RMB for the trip.  When we arrived the ride was 30 RMB I knew he was high so I countered with 50 RMB which he accepted.  Arrival at the airport terminal I gave him 50 RMG and he said I owed him 80 RMB.  Not to be intimidated, and with enough Chinese to argue, I told him he agreed to 50 RMB and if he did not accept I would call the police.  This went back and forth for a bit and fortunately my loud voice can be very unpleasant even if my Chinese is not perfect.  Finally, I offered his 10Y more as a way to conclude, for a total of 60 RMB.

               Security in China is much tighter than in the US and in Urumqi and maybe all over Xinjiang, it is quite tight.  The line at the entrance to the terminal took us 30 minutes to complete.  The crush of people may have been due to the end of the National Holiday and we were part of last minute returnees.  This security step also included baggage X-Ray.  Check in was faster than anything I have witnessed in the US.   They just buzzed through check-in.  The airline, China Southern really had this under control.

               The security before boarding was a nightmare.  That was at least 45 minutes.  Long lines, very thorough screening of baggage and individual pat down.  I had the usual tourist quota of camera, lenses and flash with lots of batteries.  I had to unpack my knapsack to locate all batteries and then when they were sure that it was camera equipment, the bag was then rescanned. 

               In comparison, arrival in Kuqa was a breeze.  It is a tiny airport.  We were the only plane on the tarmac.  One luggage carousel.  One exit door. 

               The itinerary had changed since through a contact we were allowed to access Kumtura, a Buddhist cave site not often opened.   Our driver was at the door and after a brief phone call confirming that we could access Kumtura we were off. 

 www.overseventy.xyz     :     Expand your mind.  Stretch your body. 

Boston to Beijing – Flying

Boston to Beijing – Non-stop


The trip to the deepest part of China, the northern Silk Road, begins with a flight from Boston to Beijing.   Non-stop it is fifteen hour fifteen minutes flying 6,728 miles, 10,820 kilometers if you prefer the metric system and like the bigger number. The Silk Road, even stretching it a bit from Rome to Beijing is only 5,045 miles, 8,120 Kms for those starting out from the Euro side. We can be sure the original Silk Road travelers took a year to travers a shorter distance than we cover in a bit more than a half a day.

Hainan Airlines offers this non-stop opportunity. More than time saved, we depart late afternoon and arrive the next day early evening. Adding the fifteen hour flight with the twelve hours, 12 time zones, that Beijing is ahead of the East Coast of the US, we get a twenty seven hour time difference between leaving and arriving at our destination. Science aside, leaving later, having dinner and sleeping in a normal cycle eases the change of time zones for me. Agreed that Hainan is a Chinese carrier and some loyalty is owed to US carriers, but the US carriers all have a stop and the trip extends four or five hours longer.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner our camel of the sky has a rated distance of 7,355 or 7,635 miles, depending on the model.   But it is not a small sipper. With a capacity of 33,340 or 33,384 gal, also depending on the model, they are not taking small sips of fuel. They are consuming about 1800 gal per hour. This does depend on number of passengers and their luggage. The less weight the less consumption. Flying northerly over Siberia and over the Pacific, is there a better reason to pack light to help stretch the fuel. My little contribution.

Beijing and Boston are nearly the same latitude, distance from the equator. Boston is a bit further north, about 144 miles further from the equator than Beijing. If we were to fly directly along the latitude, the distance is about 7200 miles. Flying northward towards the pole where the sphere of the earth is smaller, remember at the North Pole the earth is at a point, we can fly a shorter distance westward.

I’ve packed my usual for the flight. Two months of past issues of The Economists which I have yet to read, last Sunday’s New York Times and six paperback books. They are usually the classics that I probably would not read normally but confined to the cabin I plough through one or two each flight. All the magazines and papers are left behind, expanding my brain and lightening my load.


www.overseventy.xyz                        Expand your mind.  Stretch your body.