Silk Road: "West of Yang Gate there'll be no old friends."
June 9, 2007 3:35 PM   Subscribe

The quote in the post title is from Wang Wei's Song at Weicheng:
A morning-rain has settled the dust in Weicheng;
Willows are green again in the tavern dooryard....
Wait till we empty one more cup --
West of Yang Gate there'll be no old friends.
Oh, and... previously on MetaFilter.
posted by Kattullus at 3:38 PM on June 9, 2007

There's also this...for the Cheap MMORPG gamer in you.
posted by bidrattler at 5:16 PM on June 9, 2007

Thanks for the links. When I look at books like One Hundred and One Places You Must Visit Before You Die, I am reminded of the fact that there are so many places - like The Bezeklik Grottoes in the Flaming Mountains near Turfan - (from your last link: #8) - that I have had no idea they existed. What a big, old, people we have been.
posted by kozad at 5:19 PM on June 9, 2007

I love this stuff--the whole area was enormously enriched by the trading and spread of ideas and things at a time when so much of the world was insular and closed. I hope i had ancestors who traded or travelled along it.

(and the net is kinda a new Silk Road, no?) : >
posted by amberglow at 5:23 PM on June 9, 2007

I wonder if: The Silk Road : Turkmenostan :: Highway 66 : New Mexico, say.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:07 PM on June 9, 2007

Presently on my third reading of
"The Journeyer"
Author is Gary Jennings.
Story is Marco Polo's journeys/adventures
experienced on the silk road.(late 13th cent.)
Recommend it highly!
posted by notreally at 6:25 PM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Can we get a special site set up for SilkRoadFilter?

because I'd pay a monthly fee for daily silk road links :)

Thanks much for the link, glad to know there's so much love for this topic on the Blue.
posted by EricGjerde at 7:54 PM on June 9, 2007

Can't wait to see this.
posted by Wolof at 8:08 PM on June 9, 2007

I now feel compelled to throw down a shout out to the Silk Road Palace. There, I've done it.
posted by SimStupid at 1:48 AM on June 10, 2007

My favourite Silk Road find must be the letters from the Sogdian merchant community left stuck in Gansu as the Huns were pillaging Luoyang. Like those from Vindolanda, you really get a sense of history as lives lived.
posted by Abiezer at 2:54 AM on June 10, 2007

My wife and I both are fascinated by the Silk Road, but we'll probably never get there. So keep the links coming!
posted by languagehat at 5:58 AM on June 10, 2007

Abiezer: Thanks for that great link! Now I'm all caught up in the travails of Miwnay: first the short whiny letter to her mom ("I ask for a loan, but no-one consents to give me one, so I depend on charity from the priest..."), then the long nasty letter to her husband ("I have been in Dunhuang for three years thanks(?) to you.... Surely(?) the gods were angry with me on the day when I did your bidding! I would rather be a dog's or a pig's wife than yours!"). When's the movie coming out?
posted by languagehat at 6:03 AM on June 10, 2007

languagehat - and then you realise that the letters were never even sent! Poor Miwnay, abandoned to a cruel fate.
posted by Abiezer at 6:57 AM on June 10, 2007

I think an opera is more appropriate for Poor Miwnay. Great links, great stories. Thanks.

I've got one URL to contribute. The Silk Road Project began in 1998 as a musical collaboration exploring the soundscape of the Silk Road, under Yo Yo Ma. Now, the project focuses on "what happens when strangers meet" using art as universal language (instead of extortion.)
posted by luminous phenomena at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2007

Poor Miwnay, abandoned to a cruel fate.

No, but see, just as she's giving herself up to despair, a handsome official arrives, fleeing from the wrath of Liu Cong (who had taken the official's daughter as a concubine and then was outraged when the official objected); the official had been mourning his wife for years, but when he sees the lovely Miwnay his heart begins to thaw, and when word arrives that Miwnay's worthless husband has been eaten by wild pigs, romance begins to bloom...
posted by languagehat at 8:30 AM on June 10, 2007

luminous phenomena: i have the (?) CD of the Silk Road Project. Some very nice stuff, there.

Coupla book recommendations: William Dalrymple: In Xanadu (retracing Marco Polo's footsteps) & Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Cities and Treasures of Chinese Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:09 PM on June 10, 2007

Thanks Abiezer! That was a great link.
posted by Kattullus at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2007

I just rode the "Iron Rooster" in January. The dunes in Dunhuang were possibly one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. The kao baozi in the Turfan market was pretty damn close to the best thing I've ever eaten. One more thing, when the guy pushing the cart full of minature coal stoves in the market in Kashgar yells, "boish," you had better mother fucking boish.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: when the guy pushing the cart full of minature coal stoves in the market in Kashgar yells, "boish," you had better mother fucking boish.

: >
posted by amberglow at 5:54 PM on June 11, 2007

I just rode the "Iron Rooster"

Is that some kind of euphemism that I've never heard before, macho chicken?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:07 PM on June 11, 2007

The Iron Rooster is the train from Beijing to Urumchi.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:18 PM on June 14, 2007

Beijing to Urumchi!

That is *so* being done!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 PM on June 14, 2007

I't's better to get off at Turfan and head to Kashgar instead (or keep on going into the hinterlands of Northern Xinjiang). Urumchi was not that great, I'm afraid. Too hanzu-fied. You can get your fill of the Han Chinese East of Xinjiang.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:01 AM on June 15, 2007

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