Published: May 1st 2009September 28th 2008
Jia-gwan, Jy-a-yu-gan... for some reason I just could never pronounce the town that would end up being one of my fav places in China. Maybe I'm just retarded, because noone else had that problem - how awkward. But getting there would definitely be an adventure of a sort, a 17 hour train journey consisting of some pretty damn awesome scenery, warm pepsi, a marriage proposal and possibly more reading than I had ever done in my entire life! We left at about 10pm, knocked back a few bundaberg shots and had the best nights sleep I've had on the tour! We spent the next day sleeping, reading, sleeping some more and mingling with the chinese locals on the train. Our tour leader was chatting up this lovely old chinese man who was desperate to marry his son off to her, it was so touching! How cute! We arrived in Jiayuguan at about 5pm and transfered to our hotel in the city. We headed straight for the night markets where I would discover the most delicious of all Chinese snacks - I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but it was a little bread bun of deliciousness,
filled with meat, shallots, onions and then fried in this super cool contraption thing that made the bun all crunchy and crusty OH YUM! And all for 2 Yuan each. 40 cents. Did I mention that I loved this place? We found this little shop within the market and had about 100 kebab skewers between us, and had our first bowls of noodles in a plastic bag wrapped bowl, convenient for easy cleaning! We arose early next morning and headed out to the Jiayuguan Fort, on the edge of the Gobi desert and at the very end of the Great Wall of China, about 1000 miles from Beijing. It was so pretty, snowcapped mountains on one side of the fort, and tourists riding camels in the desert on the other side. Spectacular! The place itself was mighty touristy, opportunities to dress up as old Chinese warriors, archery lessons, fake yurts and randomly dressed Chinese 'soldiers' marching through the fort every 10 minutes. Dimi and I made friends with some fancily dressed Chinese security guards who happily took photos with us, happy that is until we stole their hats to take lame myspace style pics! We went to some other area
of Jiayuguan, somewhere where the official 'end of the great wall' is, and what I remember most was this absolutely mortifying overhanging bridge that everyone insisted we walk over. Goddam, I've never been one to shy away from heights (and to be honest it really wasn't high at all...), but this bridge looked like it had been there a few decades with no repair and NOTHING TO HOLD ONTO except sticking out bits of wire that ripped your hand right open! ARGH! But I got to the other side. And there was nothing there. So we walked back over. Eh.
That night we hit up a local Sichuan restaurant for dinner, not my favourite meal, everything was so incredibly spicy I couldn't taste anything after for days. But I soon forgot as we headed back to our hotel for some drunken card games and lots AND LOTS of cheap chinese red wine. (And yes, it really is as bad as one can imagine Chinese red wine to be - but did I mention it was cheap?) And boy did I pay for it the next day. And I had ran out of Nurofen by then - oh dear.
I realize this post doesn't really make Jiayuguan sound as amazing as it was... clearly you just had to have been there.
There are more photos below