Well, as hard as I tried, Xinjiang is just a bit too far out of my reach. So instead I'll be hitting the beaches of Sanya and chowing down on seafood for a week in what they call "China's Hawaii."
Oh darn. #tear
Hehe…Looking at hostels in the area now. Sanya has some interesting things going on. Apparently there's a place called Wuzhizhou Island not too far off the coast, and it's a macaque reserve. An island full of monkeys, basically. You can go and touch and feed the monkeys and they may or may not bite and/or fling poo based on the amount of tasty offerings you leave them. YES. Also planning on climbing the central mountains and doing some good ol' fashioned backpacking/bike riding around the island. Might even do some camping; haven't quite decided yet. Either way, things should be fantastic! It's Southeast Asia lite, basically. "Lite," I say, because I actually speak the language. In Thailand or Cambodia I'd be up a creek, but Hainan is still China-proper, even if it's geographically Southeast Asia.
According to the history, Hainan was a place of exile for failed politicians. Seems the Chinese had government down pat long before we did. And before you say "why is sending politicians to Hawaii a punishment," once should remember in 200BC Hainan was a remote outpost populated by headhunters. Yeah. Fail your job and get thrown on Skull Island. Qin Shi Huangdi for Absolute Monarch in 2012!