London to Sydney 2005 travel blog

Wuwei flying horse

After dinner entertainment

Pagoda at Zhiangye

We have had a good day. We didn't have to get up too early as the distance wasn't too long - 450km.

The road runs between the Qilian mountains to the south and the Gobi desert to the north. The Qilian mountains rise to over 6000m and are snow covered at the peaks. Yesterday they were unfortunately covered in haze when we were at the fort, but this morning we were blessed with clear skies and an impressive panorama for our drive.

Soon there was a new express road with lovely tarmac to enjoy. The speed limit sign said 90 so we drove at that - having previously had a policeman point at my MPH speedo to indicate the speed we should travel at! We used the new road for a while and then diverted to Zhangye where there is a 34m long reclining Buddha. We visited the Buddha and climbed a wooden tower called Mu Ta. We then carried on on the old road and stopped for lunch next to a tower on the Great Wall. It was so much nicer than the bits of wall that we visited yesterday which were heavily restored to the point of looking like Disney creations.

We then continued on the old road with the Great Wall running parallel until we ran out of wall when we reverted to the expressway.

Wuwei is a modern town which has a famous tomb. We were too late to go there but did find a sweet little pagoda. We wandered briefly through the bazaar and bought some really good biscuits. We also found a stall selling caramelised crab apples on sticks, like the ones we found in Korla (or was it Aksu?) so will go back there later for pudding.

The dinner in the hotel was the best one yet. We have finally got to eat Peking duck! What is more the waitresses were very attentive and serious and took pity on us if we struggled to pick up tofu with our chopsticks first attempt and rushed over to make sure we did not miss a treat. After dinner, our new guide, Katie, brought a man with a wind instrument built on a gourd to play to us. He then sang a Chinese drinking song in fine voice.

As you can see, we have found an internet shop in Wuwei. It is the place where the young men of Wuwei go to smoke cigarettes and watch movies on the internet. To make life interesting, most of the keys have no letter on them, although some have been restickered in a kind of graph paper. Still, it has a USB socket so I will upload some photos.

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