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China Day 13 - Terraced fields and Mosques

Added: October 28, 2009

Tags: China mosque mountains photos
Saturday 18th of July. The thin crescent of the Moon is directly above our heads surrounded by blue sky when we are getting to the bus for today's journey. It is getting thinner and promises it will cover the Sun in a few days.

We are leaving Xiahe, nice small town we nearly were not allowed in. We are heading to Lanzhou, ugly industrial town. We would have nothing to look forward to, fortunately we are going through amazing country side and we will visit couple of strange mosques (well, they are not strange in China).

Through Gansu province

After about an hour of ride we have the first stop. Zuzka likes the place a lot, some other people said photos I took there are the nicest of all my photos. I don't know, I like others more.

This one is through the bus window, we did not stop to admire masterful combination of stupa with something looking like a cement mill.

We are probably leaving Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, notice Buddhists symbols at the gate. There is a 3G world at the other side :-)




Mosques replaced monasteries in Linxia Prefecture.

Mosques Made In China

Our next stop is at one of the older mosques around (or just one happening to be next the road). It does not look like a typical mosque at all. It cannot deny its Chinese heritage. It contains dragons and other animals in its decoration, flora is present too. Very atypical for Islam.

Just check it up yourself.




OK, there were not many details in previous photos. But I will prove my point with photos from another mosque in Linxia (city). I have also photo of carved Arabic text (very nice), but I am not going to show it. It's just the same reason why I do not wear any T-shirts containing texts I cannot read :-)


DSC_6889_raw      DSC_6914_raw




Mountains of mud

After very good lunch in nearby restaurant we continued in our journey. Our bus started to climb muddy hill through many hairpin bends. After some time we got rather high, but we were still only in the middle. Trough trees around the road I could see surrounding hills with terraced fields. That is something I have never seen before (apart from TV). Hence, as my readers could easily predict, I started to be nervous when we are going to stop.

We got to top of hill and still no stopping happened. Trees started to be sparse, so I started to take photos. Of course they were blurry and usually ruined with only tree that happened around. So I had change my camera to slow continuous mode. After about 20 photos later I had decided high continuous mode suits better speed of our bus. Still not much success. There were only 2 people going along the road and I have picture of them both, but neither of nice terraced fields :-( Somewhere around this place even the most tolerant people in our bus started to call me paparazzi.

Finally Rich decided my camera deserves better treatment. Or just road got wider and more straight. So we stopped... He asked us not to go too far, because police could be here any minute and we will need to leave soon. FINALLY, SOME GOOD PHOTOS! (Why am I shouting? It was 3 months ago, I could be relaxed now.)






Whole place was huge. It took us more than 1 hour to start descending from hill at the other end. Everywhere around were similar hills and we could see big mountains in the distance. We passed through one town, but we did not stop. We were told the poorest people in China live in this area and only products growing here are potatoes (my photos suggest also maize).





The guide told us there was also better road to Lanzhou, one avoiding the hills, but fortunately our driver likes to show the country to the tourists. And he is also paid for it. We got to the vale, passed around fields with water melons and eventually got to motorway and in 1 hour we arrived to Lanzhou.

The guide shown us where was the market and I was paying an attention where the banks were, because our cash got thin. We did not go to the dinner with others, instead we headed to market and shops (I like looking at exotic shops, Zuzka hates it, but I was really intrusive).

Then we tried out luck with ATMs (all banks were closed at 6pm in Saturday). I guess the first one refused because we asked too much (we have not noticed limit is 1000RMB and in all immodesty wanted 2000). Others just plainly refused. LLoyds TSB in combination with Chinese banks are my favourite! I am glad I told them before our trip I will be in China, at least they were not surprised what withdrawal they were refusing :-) But to be fair, last one refused also my Slovakian card. Well, we will ask Rich for help in the morning.