Super Bowl in Korla, China
Super Bowl, Korla, China
Packer fans looking to be as far away as possible from Indianapolis on Super Bowl Sunday need look no farther than Korla, China, on the old Silk Road at the foot of the Tianshin mountains, exactly where a first down marker thrust through the globe at Lucas Oil Stadium exits. Subtropical Korla, average temperature 40.9 degrees in February, has many interesting sights to savor, among them the Bayhanbulak grassland with its famous yarn bearing sheep, the wonderfully eroded landscape of the Yadan Spectacle in Lop Nor, something, as the name suggests, to see, while Swan Lake is breathtaking even if the swans won’t be back until April (might be worth staying for their spectacular return depending on how the off season goes). Miss the Kizil Thousand Buddha Caves a stone’s throw away in Baicheng County, and, believe me, you’ll be kicking yourself all the way back to Wisconsin, should you eventually feel able to return. Korla has the added value of being absolutely off the internet highway, eliminating any possibility of scores, recaps or highlights being streamed anywhere close to you. You’ll want to make time for if not with the Loulan Beauty who could take your mind off pretty much anything; one can only guess how good she must have looked three thousand years ago, making a side trip into the Forbidden Zone to pay your respects less Forbidding.
Nestled in this the treasure land of the Taklan Maka desert, biggest in China, Korla is synonymous with the local sweet pear, although the little apricot in white will vie for your attention, and is widely regarded as the gateway to the Taklamakan oil fields. If it’s nationalities you’re after in your travels, you can’t beat Mongolian, Uygur, Han, Hazake, Hui, Kerkezi, Xibo, Tajike, Wuzibieki, Tatar, Dawoer, Manchu and Russian for variety, each with its own delightful ethnic cuisine and cultural practices. Getting there is easier than you might think–the outbound flight from O’Hare ($1767 roundtrip–cheaper than Fiji) leaving on February 4 arrives at 5:30 AM in Beijing on February 6, so you will have missed the entire unpleasantness in Indiana while cocooned on Air China. After a short air hop to Urumqi, you’ll feel like you’ve started life all over again on the pleasantly air conditioned (by the air) bus ride to Korla en route to the spanking new Korla Jianguo International Hotel on East Jiao Tong Road for, are you ready, 78 USD for a deluxe single, or, what the hey, 99 USD executive suite. Sweet is right–you’d swear you were at the Days Inn Lambeau. While hard to pin down, Korla’s nightlife along the banks of the Peacock River is described as colorful, which, frankly, is not often said of that of Indianapolis.