A Travellerspoint blog

Skullcaps and Noodle Eating Notherners

Hey Hey and a big G'Day to you all

Decided to head out of Xiahe today and make our way to Lanzhou the capital of Gansu. I was a bit worried about this day as Baiyan being only around forty-five minutes away will have the same or some of the same feel about it.

What if I didn't like Lanzhuo?

Would I have the heart to teach in Baiyan?

We left Xiahe on the 10:30am bus and arrived in Linxia around 1:00pm. Not a bad place. The streets were bustling and noodles were flying everywhere. When we got off the bus and walked out of the bus station in search of something to eat a young kid, dirty as Oliver Twist came running over and tried to grab the plastic bottle out of Judys hand, still full!

For those of you whom haven't been here, believe me, it is hard to find plastic, card board, glass, paper etc in any form on the streets. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING is recycled. Things are taken apart and anything that can be recycled WILL BE!

Why are the streets so dirty you ask?

Food scraps, plastic bags, basicly anything that can't be recycled will be thrown on the streets.

We searched and searched for what we foreigners believe to be Chinas staple diet...RICE! Believe me when I tell you, rice is NOT Chinas staple diet, it is south Chinas staple diet. The northerners eat mostly breads and noodles....ALL FREAKIN DAY! Just as the southerners eat rice by the bowl full...ALL FREAKIN DAY!

After finding some rice and eating it by the bowl full, we boarded the 2:00 'Beepin Disco' bus headed for Lanzhuo. This guy loved his horn I'm sure just as much as he loves his mother. Maybe more! He also loved his stereo just as much. It didn't matter if everyone else didn't as long as he loved it! It was loud, so loud that the speakers continually rattled all the way to Lanzhuo.

Oh yeah, besides the difference between Rice and Noodles, Noodles and Rice, another few differences between southerners and northerners are that those up here in the north are much larger than those in the south. My market place friends used to tell me all these differences but I never believed them...I'd think yeah right, they are bigger up there and eat noodles and its hard to find rice etc...ok!

OK, so I'm an idiot!

They were right, plus up here in the north or the north to the west there are so many Muslims which means there are Mosques everywhere about town. True, white skull caps line the streets along with old grey and young black beards. Many womens heads are covered by black scarves, well not actually their heads but some of their hair, NOT the full face 'lets over do it stuff'. All seem very very friendly and offer huge smiles as you walk by in search of rice.

We arrived in Lanzhuo around 5:30pm. We thought we had arrived in the West Bus Station. We headed down the street and found a pretty bloody nice hotel for 68 Yuan a night. The back board said 130 Yuan but as soon as we walked through the door it dropped to 68 Yuan. Why complain. The hotel was new and most things worked pretty well. Even the persons shower above us worked well as it dripped though our roof into our bathroom.

For 68 Yuan a night, who cares!

We headed back to the 'what we thought was the West Bus Station' to see about the caves we were to visit the following day. When we arrived we were told to go to the West Bus Station. HHHHhhhhhmmmm, we are in the west, we are so west we are on the edge of town! We needed a map! We headed out of the 'Whatever Bus Station' and crossed two sets of unused train tracks and found a huge over pass. Here we turned left and found a bank before then searching for south Chinas staple diet 'Rice'.

We did we search for rice and not eat noodles. Same reason as now (many days later). You can ask 5 million times NOT to have chilli in your noodles BUT the noodles come out and the water is almost blood red just like your tongue after a few mouth fulls. I live on what is known as Yangzhuo Fried Rice which is kind of like the fried rice back home. It has mixed veggies, egg and some meats. Awesome and no chilli! We found and we filled ourselves before then heading down the road for a relaxing massage and haircut.

So far Lanzhou seemed to be a rather modern city. We had no idea where we were. We knew we were west but where west was the question. The buildings were all modern and around them was the old areas that I love. Straight away I knew I would love this city. I was pretty excited on the walk home. Lanzhou is built between two sets of mountains. Around three million people live in the city so mate, it is long, in fact 20 km long.

So much to explore!

Lanzhou City Walk

Lanzhou City Walk


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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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