At the edge of the Gobi Desert, Liqian, a remote town, YongChang county in China inhabits descendants of the ancient Romans with striking Caucasian features of blond hair, green eyes and that typical roman nose.
It isn’t a surprise that these Chinese look astonishingly Central Asian, this area of China was part of the Silk Road, a 7,000-kilometer trade route that linked Asia and Europe more than 2000-2500 years ago.
What was surprising however, Chinese archeologists in 1990s found remnants of an ancient Roman fortification in this village.
The villagers practise a game similar to the ancient Roman bull fighting and also worship bulls. DNA testing in 2005 confirmed that some of the villagers have 50% Caucasian origins which lead to the conclusion they are descendants of the ancient Roman army. This however has detractors apprehensive due to the county being part of the Silk Route, where the Asians and Europeans intermingle.
Cai Junnian has yellow wavy hair, a hooked nose and green eyes. A DNA test in 2005 confirmed he is of 56 percent European origin. Image by Natalie Behring
“Mr Cai said his great-grandfather told him that there were Roman tombs in the Qilian mountains a day and a half’s walk away, but he had never connected them to the unusual appearance he inherited from his father. “People thought I had a skin problem,” he said.”
Autumn is my favorite season. My Travel Lust during this period turns on high. The temperature changes, some of the trees start changing color and beautiful harvest fruits and greens come in abundance.
While walking one late afternoon, after a huge rain fall, I was stopped in my tracks looking at the ground filled with colored leaves. This is such a welcome sight!
Soon I’m off for a quick visit back to China again for the second time in 2 months!
See you when I get back.
Shanghai in the last decade has quickly become a huge mega city filled with incredible modern buildings and large scale shopping malls along with renovated glitzy 1920s buildings. It felt like the roaring Shanghai of the old, where the incredible rich gather in this mega playground. I had the chance to live like the rich, staying at a nice huge swanky apartment, and dined at a few swanky restaurants. It was a superficial look at Shanghai, but boy it was fun.
My Autumn favorite of yummy pepper corn chili snail stew! A very popular dish in Shanghai during this time of the year where the weather is getting cold.
I must admit, I hate dumplings, not fond of them at all.
Chinese Ingot Dumplings
As China progresses, the inevitable happens to its ancient crafts. Here in Zhejiang Province , old towns producing traditional crafted silk are fast dying off or have turned into a tourist circus attraction. Zhejiant is where the art of Silk crafting is invented. These old towns grow the mulberry orchards, tender to the delicate mulberry silk worms, painstakingly harvesting silk from these worms in community factories. The most famous are the Jili silk factories which have probably died by the time you write this.
For you gourmets out there, When you talk about Ham, you would either regard the hipsters choice of Spanish Iberian Ham or Italian Culatello Prosciutto. Surprising to the rest of you Hipsters, I bet you don’t know China has its version of great Prosciutto.