We were on our way to Yili and as the car sped past field after field of sunflowers, the temptation eventually got the better of us. We asked the driver to stop and then sneaked into
one of the fields to take photos. The one below is one of the outcomes.
Not all the fields had sunflowers blooming like those in the photo. There were a few where the flowers had all wilted. The driver said that because of the short summer in Xinjiang, farmers mostly managed to grow only one crop, and should some natural hazards happen, they would lost their major source of income for the year.
Behind the sunny side seen by tourists like us lies the hardship of life in northwest China.