Up early to catch Kashgar's famous livestock market before getting the flight home. Except I was too early. Apart from a few camels and a truck laden with cows, there wasn't much going on. So reluctantly I directed the taxi to the airport and the long flight, via Urumqi, home.
What, I wonder, was the point of the tour? The other artists have all been, or are going, to bigger cities with half-decent, reliable venues and audiences to match. What was the point of Urumqi and Kashgar? All the planning manuals and strategy papers said no. And yet, somehow, it was there to be done. You climb a mountain or go to the moon because it's there. We made some friends. Urumqi was great.
And there was even a happy ending in Kashgar. For tonight, as I write this, The Fence Collective are playing a hastily re-arranged free concert in the courtyard of the Old City Youth Hostel to a mixture of Uyghurs, Han Chinese and western backpackers. A Xinjiang singer is jamming with them and it is, to quote Archie, "a beautiful event". Even my not being there doesn't spoil the knowledge that, in the end, we just about pulled it off.