Day 29: In Lanzhou


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Asia » China » Gansu » Lanzhou
March 25th 2018
Published: March 25th 2018
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After breakfast in the hotel (jolly good, 18 RMB, ca. £1.50) we walked a couple of km in warm, sunny weather to explore Five Springs Mountain Park. It was Saturday, so quite busy for the time of year (by our standards, VERY busy). It is an extensive park on the side of a 650 metre very steep hillside, and the many shrubs and trees were just coming into leaf or bud. The area is packed with facilities, hawkers, street-stalls, temples, shrines, a zoo, a fun-fair, five different springs and numerous washrooms in varying degrees of suitability. Maghnus had decided to run up to the top (35 minutes?) whilst K and C elected to “people-watch”. Quite a lot of them watched us instead, and we were greeted by various children; we also watched a chap playing a kind of fiddle to accompany a couple who sand, and we saw a fellow who seemed to be running some sort of “China has Talent” affair, and attracting more attention than seemed justified.

After Maghnus got back we left the park and had an excellent lunch in a clean, comfortable and well-appointed nearby restaurant, with “Huanghe” beer; there was a Lambhorgini parked outside, plus
Dust laying, LanzhouDust laying, LanzhouDust laying, Lanzhou

Machines like this circulate to blow or spray water onto the road surfaces in cities.
another unidentified super-car, but the price did not reflect the fact. We noted news-vendor stalls nearby, but did not see any actual purchasers or readers.

By taxi to the deservedly respected Museum, admission free. We visited only one floor, to see the Gansu fossil record and the Silk road exhibition. The fossil record was surprisingly well represented, and tere was a nice note about early life beginning in the “aminophenol micro-organism community”, dated as 3.9 billion years ago less about 400 million. The Silk road exhibition included a fine statue of a Bronze galloping horse “unearthed” from a grave, and a nice display of (replica?) “honoured guard of horsemen and carts” (Han dynasty tomb, Heitai, Wuwei).

We then walked down to the Yellow River, to complete our walk along its course through the city. The weather was perfect and we had an interlude of excitement whilst observing a dredging scene. Numerous huge diggers were dredging river-shingle which was being shovelled into big 10-wheeler trucks, for land reclamation and an improved embankment. One of the lorries, fully-laden, reversed a fraction too far and its back slipped into the river, putting the vehicle at forty-five degrees and likely to slip
Five Springs ParkFive Springs ParkFive Springs Park

Chap on bench is playing a Chinese fiddle, two folk standing are singing traditional songs.
further. The driver sounded his horn, and at once two huge diggers clanked across to him and secured the lorry with their shovels. The next ten minutes provided great interest to one and all as the recovery was completed; extraordinarily, in such tense conditions, all sorts of stray individuals were standing in front of, or behind, or too close to all the machinery. The area was alive with members of the public who were poking through the excavated material, presumably looking for artifacts? Or perhaps jade?

As we walked on, we passed many kite-flyers, watched the cable-car crossing the river, and enjoyed the pussy-bearing willows and their very fresh shade of green. It was intriguing to hear the music of The Sally Gardens being played, presumably it could not be coincidence, but one wondered how many people could appreciate the connection?

We went for dinner to the street-market area to graze at the stalls – potato and onion rosti, spiced meat in a flat bread, baked flapjack with vegetables. the area is polluted by “Deliveroo” type motorbikes, bursting their way through the pedestrians at quite a speed, constantly bleeping their very shrill hooters. It is clearly a big and underpaid source of employment, hundreds of riders all trying to do more deliveries than is possible.

We then went to an excellent if modest restaurant, the “Wanhang”, with yellow “smiley face” for standards (like almost everywhere else), for wine, hot water, lamb wit cumin, green peas, peanuts, crispy chile bamboo shoots, and cucumber.


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Typical rental bicyclesTypical rental bicycles
Typical rental bicycles

The have no gears, and tyres are filled with a foam material. Unfortunately people steal the saddles and also tend to dump or trash the bikes. A little like the good folk in the Home Counties with supermarket trolleys.
Incident in the Yellow RiverIncident in the Yellow River
Incident in the Yellow River

The driver made no attempt to leave the cab, but the diggers did secure the lorry before it could slip any further.
Orange digger to the rescueOrange digger to the rescue
Orange digger to the rescue

Orange digger had to clank about 200 metres to get there, was the most powerful one. Digger on left dug out most of the load from the lorry.
Yellow River  kite flyersYellow River  kite flyers
Yellow River kite flyers

It was interesting to see so many kites close together, and without any tangles.


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