13 July 2010
Well today was an adventure. I'm starting to really take a liking to China. We saw a rainbow today before we left. A rainbow in Lanzhou-the dirtiest place in the "Wild West."
Jimpa, Joel's Tibetan friend and our guide for the next couple weeks, came to pick us up from the hotel in Lanzhou. Driving here is suicidal. The lights work like ours- green, yellow, and red. But it seems that they are optional, as are the lines on the streets. This makes crossing the road like a game of Frogger. You just take it one lane at a time and wait for cars to go brushing by you at high speeds on both sides with each progressing step/leap of death.
The car ride took forever! We all piled into Jimpa’s car for what ended up being an 8+ hour trip to Xiahe, complete with getting lost, encountering police checkpoints, traffic-halting accidents, cows, tractors, and beautiful scenery. We didn’t listen to any music, but instead talked and enjoyed one another’s company. Most of our conversations revolved around China- its economy, government, people. Big things. Conversations that I don’t have everyday, but it definitely gets you thinking. Xiahe is home to Eastern Tibet’s largest monastery: Labrang.
The streets/street of Xiahe is decorated with lots and lots of monks, some Chinese, and then motorcycle outlaws that look like a cross between Hell’s Angels and the Huns from Mulan. A couple of them asked for a picture with me, but little did they know that I was just as excited to get a picture with them.