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Published: March 8th 2018
Camels on a smallholding
Maybe they are used during the tourist season? It is hard to imagine that they are in normally productive work.
We are at Qiemo, about to move on tomorrow (by bus?) to Ruoqiang.
An excellent breakfast, after which we decided to explore. Oddly enough we noticed that the reception staff, so helpful last night, were the opposite today – very nearly rude, and unwilling to divulge such information as the way to the bus station (1000 metres straight along the road!). Anyway, we set off and I may say that we received information about tomorrow’s bus (sadly wrong, but given in good faith), although for various reasons we were unable to go to the bus station ourselves. Those who know me will forgive a slightly gnomic account of this day’s events and doubtless read amongst the horizontals; suffice perhaps to say that it was a fascinating day, hugely interesting in every way, and that the very many people with whom we had dealings were correct, courteous and well-intentioned.
We decided it was time for some exercise, and that we would visit certain tombs at Zaghunluk, also the important architectural tourist attraction of Toghraklek Manor, near Lalulik. This meant a walk of maybe 5km each way, or rather longer if any routes happened to be unavailable. It was an excellent
It is amazing that such a large population can gather so much wood from an apparently difficult environment, without there seeming to be any risk to the resource itself.
walk, along flat, well-paved ground and in very warm conditions (for us), maybe 25 degrees or so. On the way we saw some adobe houses, also many more modern traditional houses, also beautifully cultivated fields. We were particularly pleased to come across a croft which had taken to breeding camels, one step up from alpacas. Our little trio did attract plenty of attention, and at one stage a person accompanied us for quite a long distance, although he was quite heavily dressed and probably had not intended to join us.
Eventually he called a colleague, who kindly hastened after us to catch up, despite the heat. It turned out that the places we wanted to visit were closed and that certain hazards lay ahead, but it was a great day and we were happy enough to ramble back by another route. This brought us past a large and very impressive cemetery; by this stage photography was no longer possible but it did appear that many of the inhumations are in a lengthy pre-built sepulchre, with each section (presumably) being walled up progressively. If so, it would seem to be a continuation of a practice going back at least 1,000
years in this vicinity. Our ramble continued, and we were at one stage offered a lift back into town; everyone was very helpful and we were given a special telephone number to call if we encountered ANY sort of difficulty. By chance, when we were eventually back in town and trying to get a late lunch, that telephone number proved very helpful in resolving a misunderstanding.
Lunch was good (we went back to the Chinese restaurant) and then we were able to go direct to the bus station; it seems there is a bus at 10.00 am tomorrow, to reach Ruoqiang at 5pm (196 miles). We have our doubts, but we intend to give it a whirl. Dinner, after a wee stroll about town, was in a seriously top range establishment, I will add a picture of its card; it is upstairs – leave Yudu hotel, walk across the road and straight ahead to the corner, then plunge into a staircase on your left, it is on the 1st
floor as we know it (one stage above the ground). Really good, really smart, splendid design – and, by chance, a brilliant local Chinese wine – all I can do
Chinese traditional lion
These are everywhere, goodness knows what they must cost. The all have a free-rolling large ball in their growling mouths, a ball that looks perfect and seemingly had to be carved in situ.
is to add the barcode. The wine was not cheap (about 350 Rmb) but one of the best, although wildly outside of our normal price range.
All in all, a memorable day in Qiemo.
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