Sunday, May 22, 2011

Qinghai in May

At least I made it to Qinghai lake. Visited with a Chinese tour operator and was the only non-Chinese on board the bus. The lake is at an altitude about 3000 meters and the locals are mostly Tibetans. The tourist spot has been changed into some kind of amusement park for Chinese. On the way, we stopped at Dangaer, whose old town has been rebuilt according to what it could have looked like centuries ago, and a street was full of small museums and tourist shops. We only stopped briefly at the temple of the sun and moon as the altitude of 4000 meters meant it was cold and windy, too much to be worth a visit. After one more night in Xining, I moved on to the Salar Autonomous County and the town of Xunhua. The local are of Turkic origins and on the bus I could hear more Turkic than Chinese spoken. Xunhua is a good place to visit a beautiful lake in the mountains, Tianchi, though in May it can still be cold and I experienced some snow showers during my visit. The Yellow River flows nearby and is still beautifully blue, not as polluted nor muddy yet as it is further downstream. The way back to Gansu led me to Linxia, the Mecca of China, through an awasome mountain pass.

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