I spent most of my time in Turpan as any person might—lounging under a grape trellis for an afternoon/evening xiu xi (rest), popping grapes into my mouth. From my back looking up, the leaves glittered in goldenrod and serpent-green. Supple green heaves of ripe grapes bulged from above. I had never seen so many grapes before in my life.
“Here,” the gardener hosing the vines said. “Eat as many as you’d like.” And he’d motion to the biggest bunches above for me to taste. Sometimes he sang, but mostly he slunk around with his hose in the scorching heat to tempt more grapes to flourish.
There’s nothing for it in Turpan. The blazing heat is such that in the mornings and evenings you can go out as much as you’d like in this desert oasis relatively barren of Chinese tourists. As for the bulk of the day…have as many grapes as you’d like.