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Red Cultural Working Team encounter


In mid autumn the overnight train from Urumchi disgorges passengers at its penultimate stop around dawn. A fleet of buses trundles us onward the few miles into an urban centre. We have arrived at Bole the principal town of Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

There is a nip in the air, motivating me to poke around a store for a pair of gloves and woolly hat; then, after securing a hotel room, there seems little to keep me in town, so I buy a map, locate then walk to the west-bound bus station, and enjoy a meandering ride towards the mountain range shielding us from Kazakhstan.


Reaching what appears to be the middle of nowhere, I alight, take a couple of snaps, and stroll back to a village. Something’s going on in the yard through the school building. I wonder what? Let’s see!




It’s a ‘Red Cultural Working Team’ troupe. Originating in Mongolia these traveling folk performance troupes perform in grassland areas. “Multi-talented, each Wulanmuqi team member can sing, dance, and play musical instruments. They not only give brilliant performances on stage, but also do labor work helping out on farms.”



Here’s a short video of quite a catchy number:
(if there’s a problem hearing/viewing it, scroll down to view a sideshow)


Here’s a slideshow of eight photos I took on this trip.
A caption for each photo will show if you move the cursor/pointer onto it:

A bus ride south up the mountains, past Sayram lake, then down to the Balkash basin.