Marco Polo travelled the world trading spices, documenting his experiences.

Today, I entered the city of Kashgar. Rumors preceded the fantastic spice shops that littered the streets, and my taste buds danced in anticipation. What new mysteries might my tongue uncover? Without hesitation, I approached a vendor. He handed me a small jar, and I removed a flake and placed it in my mouth. “Yucky spicy,” I said, impressed by what I’d just tasted. “Too hot, ouch! No like,” I remarked. If this is was merely the first stop on my tour of Kashgarian spices, I was in for a marvelous adventure.

I proceeded to the next booth, and was handed an interesting green flake. Excitedly, I consumed it. “Ow ow owwww. Milk. Need milk!!! Eww. I miss my mom. I need my mom. I love my dad too but I miss my mom right now.” Unbelievable. Simply exquisite. I never dreamed that I would stumble into spice heaven.

But there was still one more spice I had to try. The rare Malagashi Pepper. This was the only place in the world I could acquire it. A small, nondescript booth on the outskirts of town gave me what I needed. “Gross. This is so gross.” The vendor looked at me with an inquisitive smile. “It’s not even hot it just tastes like shit.” I was so excited I could scarcely contain it. “My cousin is a garbage truck man with long hair. Do you play Yu-Gi-Oh? I have a cell phone.” 

While my stay in Kashgar was pleasant, it is time to move on. Still ahead is Lanzhou, and many more cities before I lay my weary head to rest.