Detour

MARKET DAYS A bone-jarring two-day jeep ride across Kyrgyzstan's border with China lies Kashgar, a hub on the Silk Road for more than a millennium. Camel trains laden with tea and textiles would emerge from the Taklamakan Desert, meeting other traders descending from the lofty Pamir Mountains, all survivors of terrible deprivation and brigandage. The glory days might be long gone but so are the bandits, and Kashgar welcomes ordinary tourists eager to see Central Asia's most spectacular market.

From first light on Sunday, women in thick brown veils, families on donkey carts and men dangling chickens from...

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