Flaming Mountains, Turpan

When I was a kid, I remember reading picture books about a kung-fu fighting monkey king. He had a friend named Pigsy who liked to drink. Sometimes there was a monk, and sometimes they undertook noble challenges.

The Monkey King is the hero of a classic Chinese novel, The Journey to the West, featuring Chinese legends and superstitions. It’s based on the true journey of Xuan Zang, a famous monk who set out on foot to bring Buddhist scriptures from India. In the book, the Flaming Mountains block his way back to China.

In real life, the sun is supposed to highlight the Flaming Mountains’ red sandstone making them look like they’re on fire.

I just thought it was hot. Really really hot. The world’s largest thermometer backed me up. It read 38 degrees.

The world's biggest thermometer