Kashgar, the mythical oasis city of northwest China's Xinjiang region has always held a special place in my imagination. A legendary Silk Road marketplace, the majority of Kashgar's people are of the Uygur nationality and like neighbouring Tibet, Xinjiang’s Uygurs have strong nationalist and separatist sentiments. 

When I got to Beijing without any assignment in early August 2008 I found myself both overwhelmed and alienated by the media circus around the Olympic games.

On August 4th and 9th, the first day of the Beijing Olympics there were a series of bomb attacks in Xinjiang.  These attacks caused numerous deaths and carnage and were soon after attributed to Uygur separatist militants. 

I decided to travel to Kashgar to begin to form a portrait of that place and its people.