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Published: July 29th 2018
July 23 - Qinghai Lake
Still raining when we woke up and not really feeling ready to pack everything in the middle of the rain, we decided to sleep in jiji. After an hour of rolling around, the rain finally stopped and we jumped out of the tent into a cloudy day. With a lot of our equipment wet, the second objective apart from getting to Qinghai Lake was finding a place to dry it all.
Finally heading out of Haibei and towards Qinghai Lake. Now being four in the group, hitchhiking was going to be harder. And so it was. After spending a long time looking for a ride we got the opportunity of pay a driver to take us to Qinghai Lake. Not finding any other option available we took the offer.
It was still quite cloudy, but blue skied were slowly appearing.
Taking advantage of being dropped near the lake we decided to walk towards the shoreline and try and dry all our stuff next to it. Before leaving the road we found a little shack with a lady in it, selling many types of honey's . Feeling hungry, we tried them all and ended up buying a
bottle. As we left we noticed that behind her little shaft she had her honey plantation. Box after box of bees, not too complicated to implement. I wanna do something similar in the coffee plantation my family owns in Chiapas, Mexico.
With honey, dates and dried beans we walked towards the lake. The sun was finally starting to shine it's rays through the clouds. Arriving at the shoreline with a a slight breeze we took all of our gear out, from our bags, and laid it all throughout the grass. Waiting for it to dry we went for a walk throughout the lake.
Lake Qinghai is an extremely popular tourist attraction for Chinese citizens. No foreigners can be seen around the area since it's prohibited and a special visa needs to be aquired. The only reason why we managed to get there was because of Bean and hitchhiking. The area around and in the lake has a lot of military bases, resulting in the tourist restrictions. We were lucky to be there but had to be careful of not getting kicked out.
Needing a bath, Bean jumped into the freezing lake with Max. Realizing it was salty I decided to
back out jajaja. The sun was finally out and it was getting hotter by the minute! Taking our shirts off we bathed in the sun as if it were a beach day. Finishing it off with some amazing leg stretches we packed our gear and headed off to explore a new location next to the lake.
We took another long while to find a hitchike, even though many cars where zooming past us. We ended up having to split the group in two. Leo and I took the first ride while Bean and Max waited to catch another one.
Meeting up again in a small town establishment next to the lake we went for an early dinner. That's when we realized how burned Max was, head to toe and was even getting some headaches because of it 😞
After noodle soup dinner with many eggs, buns and garlic 😉 we headed off in look for a camping spot next to the lake. The sun was just setting over the horizon making it an espectacular scene as we walked alone in the road. As it finally dipped and disappeared we jumped another fence and camped in a grass field next to
the blue lake.
July 24- Desert Dunes in Qinghai Lake - Dia 34
Waking up to blue sky's everywhere. I managed to sneak some sun salutations as the sun rose in the horizon meanwhile everyone slept soundly. After everyone woke up we went to have some breakfast. The intense sun ended up absorbing all of our energy. As we finished breakfast we ended up staying under the shade for too long, wishing the clouds could role in again. As if our wishes were heard, clouds started rolling in and the day cooled down. Realizing it was almost midday and we still had not done anything we headed out. Sometimes those lazy days are needed. The objective of the day was heading to some desert dunes, which were right next to the lake.
We again had to split up into two rides for the first hitchhike. Fortunately in the second hitchike we all managed to fit into one single car. Non of us knew that we would stay with the father and daughter, driving the car, for the rest of the day. As we became friends with them they gathered interest in our plans and joined us.
The driver took
us to a house right before the desert dunes. Here we waited out the afternoon sun, drinking some milk tea, doing an intense 2 hour workout session in the backyard of the house ( we where using the trampoline as a pullupbar), and taking a well deserved shower after many days of not doing so. The reason why we managed to take a shower was because the father and daughter were going to stay the night in the house. He ended up canceling the reservation at the last minute, making the owner of the house quite upset and asking us aggressively to leave. 😕
Well by now the sun was already falling and we were on our way to the Desert Dunes, with the father and daughter still with us jajaja. They wanted to see where we were going to sleep. Driving through a highway which crossed through the desert dunes, trying to find a good place to park and jump the fence. Accessing the dunes was much harder then we expected since there were people asking for money in order to jump the fence. Quite a weird situation, the next day, talking with some policeman, we realized it was
illegal to access the dunes and the people asking for money were conducting illegal business.
In the end the father driving us around payed 50 yuan (10 Canadians) to a random person to let us in, the price included a horse back ride for her daughter. The horseback ride lasted for less then a minute, all of us were completely confused jajajaja. Realizing that the father had been scammed, but we were in the desert dunes at last.
Hiking up through the desert dunes as the sun was setting, Leonardo carrying a huge watermelon to eat the following morning (the father had told us that if we digged a hole in the sand, buried the watermelon and placed water on the sand the watermelon would become really cold regardless of how hot it was outside).
Beautiful sunset shared with two people we had just met today, I was happy they had joined our adventures for at least half a day. After a lot of pictures we sayed goodbye to the father and daughter as they left us alone in the desert dunes overlooking a huge beautiful blue lake.
July 25 - Xining - Dia 35
A really cold watermelon for breakfast, burying the watermelon and placing water on the sand had actually worked! It was so juicy, sweet and it got us extremely full and energetic. What a great way to wake up.
Back in the road again we started realizing a great deal of police cars around the area. As we were waiting to catch a ride, which was not working, a police car stopped and started asking Bean questions. Bean handling it extremely well told the cops the truth. The truth always ends up being better then lies, especially with government officials. The cops understood and left us standing in the road alone again. They told Bean how they were trying to catch the people that were charging to let people into the Desert Dunes
After a long wait with no success we finally catched two rides heading to the city of Haibei. The ride which Leonardo and I were on ended up asking for money. From what we barely understood 50 yuan (10 Canadian Dollars). Right before we had gotten in the car they had talked with Bean and no money was ever mentioned. Not willing to pay that much, specifically since it was never mentioned before getting in the car, we played stupid. Which was not too hard since we couldn't understand anything they were saying jajajaja.
We took the bus from Haibei to Xining since the cars were not being friendly today. After a couple of hours we finally arrived at the city of Xining. Our rest spot for the next two days before our next big trip 😌
The city of Xining was really similar to the last big city we stopped at, Xi'an. After having trouble finding a Hostal to stay in, Leo accidently booked a Hostal for the wrong day and it was fully booked for today. We were taken to another Hostal which was in a room of a high rise building. Defiently looked and felt illegal for foreigners, especially since they only registered Beans ID jajaja. Dropping our bags in our own 4 bed room we went on a walk around the city.
Like the other cities we had visited throughout the western part of China, the population was mostly Muslim around Xining. All the man wore there Muslim hats.
This was Max's last night with us so we went to a cool Muslim restaurant, ordering a new dish: A complete slow cooked spiced chicken accompanied by potatos, buns and a variety of vegetables....incredibly juicy. We wanted to get some beers but they didn't serve alcohol in the restaurant. It was incredibly hard to find cold beers around the city. We actually never found any...had to buy hot ones and bring them back to the Hostal. On the way back we tried some amazing Yak Yogurt, a specialty around the region yuuum.
July 26- Xining - Dia 36
Not an incredibly interesting day to write about.
We had to run some errands around the city, took the advantage of walking all over the city at the same time.
We also finally managed to get a driver for the next 7 days. We will be traveling to some remote areas and in order to cover all of them we decided to have a driver. Let's see how it works out! Excited for the new chapter!! Finally we will not be carrying our backpacks everywhere.
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