Our travel columnist Jada Yuan is on his way to visit "The 52 Best Places to Go in 2018". The following report is from Gansu, China, which is ranked 17th on the most worthwhile list and is the 47th stop of Jetta's itinerary.
She first spoke a series of Chinese words that I did not understand, and then she said one that I understood: "Lanzhou?"
Yes! Yes! I'm going to Lanzhou, too, I said, and I nodded hard at the friendly-looking 40-year-old woman, and we soon discovered that we were all traveling alone and flying to China. The capital of Gansu Province—it is a stop on the Silk Road along the ancient trade route in the northwestern part of China's inland, and neither of us speak the other's language.
注意到 I noticed Wei Zhaohan at Beijing Airport. She was sitting next to me and started watching Chinese pop music videos without headphones. This is my sixth visit to China, but for the first time without relatives. My relatives live mainly in Shanghai and Beijing. I have always missed the lively atmosphere that I am familiar with: everyone speaks at the same time, and my voice is louder than one. The chairs in the terminal are covered with buns and fruits, like a picnic.
Wei Zhaohan runs a construction company, and I soon had a good opinion with her. After we boarded the plane, she changed seats with the person sitting next to me. "Let's be friends," she said via a Baidu translation app (Baidu is the equivalent of Google in China, Google is blocked in China), and then announced that after arriving at the airport, let me take her car to the hotel.
You can believe I'm a good person! She wrote on Baidu App, and then laughed. At that time it was past midnight, and her friend was pulling us to Lanzhou along a dark road. In other cases, this may be the middle part of a Stephen King novel. But she was just one of many people who took the initiative to help me—they helped me order food in the restaurant and sent me to the hotel safely like Wei Zhaohan. Most of them didn't realize that I was Chinese-American at first; they only seemed to see a woman alone in a strange place, and seemed a little lost.
There are large expanses of magnificent desert in Gansu Province between the mountains. It used to be the "wild west" of China. It is the westernmost end of the Great Wall to resist nomadic attacks. There are also famous grottoes, which follow Buddhist Spread, shrines dug out on cliffs.
Gansu was selected as one of the 52 tourist destinations in 2018, because after the high-speed rail opened, people will have easier access to many local valuable tourism resources, including the Rainbow Striped Mountain in Zhangye Danxia National Geopark.
容易 But easy is relatively speaking, it is not easy for Gansu in November. The temperature here is below zero, and the land here is beautiful and barren, making it difficult to believe that it can sustain life. There are almost no foreigners here; almost no one speaks English; I cannot read the menus and road signs. (I will only say basic household phrases, such as "I have eaten"; "No, really, I can no longer eat")
After climbing up a hillside near Jiayuguan City, the cold, dry air (and considerable pollution) made my lungs feel burning. I boarded the cantilevered Great Wall, which is so called because it seemed to be firmly attached to the ridge of Montenegro by some magic. Ming Dynasty tacticians built the Great Wall in 1539. From its highest point, it is Gobi in all directions, dotted with bare mountains and oasis, and a smoking factory in the distance.
It's hard to stand here without admiring the mighty human will, including the point I paid for seeing this scenery.
In the afternoon after eating with Wei Zhaohan, I took a six and a half hour train to Jiayuguan. It was the shortest trip I could find at the train station in downtown Lanzhou. I have learned before that high-speed rail tickets are available. Sold out, and the high-speed rail is getting on from a new railway station in the suburb, Lanzhou West Station.
On the train, a police officer introduced me to an English teacher named Qiao from Jiayuguan. Not only did she wake me up when we needed to get off the train at half past two in the morning, but she also asked her husband to drive me to the hotel. After arriving at the hotel, she cut my room rate to $ 29 for two nights (instead of the $ 90 I booked online). I took a shower and got into the bed with all my winter clothes because I didn't know how to turn on the heater. But I'm glad I didn't spend that extra $ 60.
The next morning, following Joe's suggestion, I walked along the wide and relatively empty streets of Jiayuguan to a restaurant named Wumaier to taste local specialty food: Lanzhou ramen. When I couldn't communicate with anyone what I wanted, a lined-up man bought me a bowl of noodles and taught me how to get the noodles, add chili sauce, then sit at the counter and take the noodles from the steaming noodle soup He sucked with his mouth and ate it loudly.
Qiao Qiao also suggested that I rent a taxi for 150 yuan ($ 22) to see the three Great Wall attractions in Jiayuguan. We drove through the Gobi Desert outside the city and came to a mound. It used to be the first beacon of the Great Wall, or the westernmost point of this western defense. There are 54 beacon towers like this, sending smoke signals along the Great Wall to warn the enemy of their actions.
On the shuttle bus to the attraction, I met Wei Gong, a female tourist from Sichuan, and Yu Lihong, an English-speaking businessman from Nanjing, who helped me communicate with the driver. The three of us didn't always keep the same pace, but when we visited the Great Wall and the last Jiayuguan, we kept using WeChat to keep in touch. It was too big. I had to go again the next day to see it all.
Tongjiayuguan underwent an overhaul in 2014. The night I came here, the desert temperature dropped sharply with the sunset. I was alone in the whole place. I walked up the stone ramp. It can be used to pull the horse up to the lookout. Defeat the enemy. At the exit, I found Wei Gong waiting for a taxi. At a shop selling tea sets made of local stones, the owner invited us to sit by a wood stove to bake fire, warming frozen hands.
I had no plan to go to Mogao Grottoes, which is the Thousand Buddha Caves certified by UNESCO. Later, Wei Palace invited me to go with her. A few hours after leaving Jiayuguan, she would go there by train overnight, which I couldn't do. But this idea persisted. According to UNESCO, there are 492 caves there, all carved by hand on sandy cliffs, and they are the largest and longest-used Buddhist art treasures in the world. They are located 4.5 hours west of Jiayuguan, in a desert oasis called Dunhuang. This distance is very tempting, and I don't know when I will be so close to them next time.
With the help of Yu Lihong, I booked a train leaving Jiayuguan at 2 am. I chose a luxurious soft sleeper with comfortable beds and doors that can be closed. After sleeping in Meimeidi for four hours, and waiting for the door to open for a few hours, I went into the first Mogao cave to see the Tang Dynasty Buddha statue with a history of more than 1,400 years.
无法 You cannot enter the cave without a guide. After some inquiries, I found an English group, plus three people in total.
Hundreds of small Buddha statues were painted on the ceiling of the cave, indicating that the Dharma is boundless. Their history can be traced back to 366 AD, when a monk named Lezun walked in the desert and saw a thousand Buddha statues bathed in golden light. The illusion in it, so inspired, cut a grotto in the sandstone.
For centuries, devout devotees will excavate new caves and sculpt huge statues of Buddha in them until the Silk Road declines and people no longer come. The cave has remained intact (except for some thieves), but only reopened in the last century, and a large amount of 11th century Buddhist literature has been found here.
At the core of the Mogao Grottoes is a five-story pagoda structure. When I entered, a group of people were coming out, the light was dim, and nothing was clear. What a giant beast ahead. Is that one foot? I looked up to see a 98-foot (29.8-meter) tall Buddha statue.
There are larger Buddha statues in China and elsewhere in the world, but this intimacy may not be there-standing in a building that is almost the same size as a Buddha statue, forcing you to look up at him with your neck up, making you Be in the position of a beggar. The determination and belief made mankind turn this huge statue into reality, a feat that was overwhelming and overwhelmed. I often think of that Buddha statue, how close I have to stand to see him, and how small I feel at that moment.
On my last day in China, I had to fly to Japan at 9 pm. I had a sudden idea and planned to spend a morning in Zhangye Danxia Landform National Park, which is Rainbow Mountain, and then take a three-hour bullet train to Lanzhou West Station , And then take a 40-minute train from there to Lanzhou Airport. But this road needs precise planning.
First of all, the eastbound companion Lian Shaoyong I met in the grotto reached an agreement for me and the conductor. Since the last trip to Zhangye was sold out, I only got tickets for part of the trip. Solution: The difference was paid in cash and the staff would wake me up in the middle of the night and move me to a vacant space-because my bed was already sold.
旭 Next comes Song Xu, who sleeps with me and is a good English businessman. He pushed backwards from the last time I might reach the airport and planned the trip for me. A college student named Liu Haocheng and a businessman sitting nearby joined us. We took the bunk of a family of three. When Liu Haocheng translated my actions into Chinese and told them, they were not doubted. "You alone?" The mother asked; I nodded. "very brave."
四个 Four of us checked the website, called in Chinese and English, and finalized a plan in just two hours. When the train arrived at 2am, a driver named Tao Hongbing would pick me up, help me buy a ticket back to Lanzhou Airport, find a cheap hourly room for me, take a short break, he was 7am Pick me up to get me to the Geopark before sunrise, then return to Zhangye Railway Station, take the bullet train to Lanzhou, which is the central point of my interlocking schedule.
Tao Tao Hongbing came to pick me up when it was still dark. We headed towards the park, passing by the trucks carrying goods in the early morning, and the children who rode to school. Private cars can't enter the park, so I boarded the first hop-on hop-off bus of the day. This car carried all the guards and park staff. They wore fur hats and winter coats and went to their jobs. post. The thermometer shows that the temperature is minus 7 degrees Celsius.
短暂 After a short drive on the red brick road, we reached the second of the four scenic viewing platforms on the route. A guard shouted, I guess it means "get off!" Together with two other tourists, I ran up the wooden trail quickly, just to see the red hills, valleys, stone pillars, and human-like sandstone layers passing by the rising sun, these scenes can be with me in the southwest Everything the Ministry sees is comparable. Then, as the sun bathed the ground, yellow, green, white, and maroon stripes began to appear. That is the morphology of the mineral deposits produced during tens of millions of years of crustal movement.
WeChat messages from the planning committee began to flow in. They wanted to know how everything was going. Yu Lihong and two friends named Wei, uncles, aunts and cousins ??in Queens also sent messages, and they happened to be on Thanksgiving. Visited Shanghai but I couldn't see them. The other tourists have already left, and I am alone on the icy mountain top, far away from the life I left almost a year ago, looking at the scenery from Mars in front of me, I feel contented.