A BUS STOP IN TARTARY I flew into Tartary because it China climate zone map was where I wanted to catch a bus. Xinjiang Autonomous Region, as, this north China climate zone map -western edge of China is known today, is isolated by the highest mountains and the largest desert in the world, linked to the outside by the thread of one of history's oldest trade routes, the Silk Road, travelled by Marco Polo. All the same, I had no great romantic expectations of Urumchi, its state capital. Peter Fleming mentions two banquets in 1916 and 1928 where the guests were beheaded one by one, which may account for the verdict of the missionary travellers Mildred Cable and Francesca French, who were there in the 1930s and wrote categorically: No one enjoys life in Urumchi; no one leaves the town with regret, and it is full of people who are only there because they cannot get permission to leave. Nowadays it is still an ugly city.
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Its sprawling industrial areas produce so much smoky pollution that one can seldom see the snowy mountains which fringe this part of the Gobi Desert.