Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Good to be back in the Sichuan Canyon. Yesterday I flew to Lanzhou. Since I had taken an early flight, I went immediately to the South Bus Station in Lanzhou to see how far I could get into the mountains. I thought perhaps I would go to Hezuo, and then leave for Langmusi the next day.When I went to the ticket window, the lady told me she could not sell me a ticket to Hezuo. She would only sell me a ticket to Linxia. I asked her why, and she didn't answer. I didn't really want to spend the night in Linxia, so I asked her if I could buy a ticket to Hezuo as soon as I got to Linxia. She shrugged. I was annoyed by this bizarre behavior, but I decided to go ahead and get the ticket. She told me I had to go to a local place and get a photocopy of my passport. The guy standing next to me showed me where to go. She also told me that I could not buy a ticket for another 20 minutes. That struck me as odd, because the guy standing next to me was also going to Linxia, and she sold him a ticket right away. Obviously, it had to something to do with the fact that I was a foreigner, but I have never encountered anything like this before. Nothing to do but wait. I waited 20 minutes, bought a ticket to Linxia, and got on the bus. When I got to Linxia, there was a bus just getting ready to leave for Hezuo, so I got on. I don't usually do that, because buses that arrange fare informally can sometimes be quite exasperating. They won't leave until they are close to full, and if they aren't full, they will keep stopping to try to recruit riders. For some reason, after talking to the driver, I figured this one was going to be OK, and it turned out to be not that bad. So I made it all the way from Beijing to Hezuo in one day. Yesterday, all that was left was the three hour ride here to Langmusi.I went to the Langmusi Binguan where I have stayed in the past. The lady who runs the place recognized me right away, which resulted in a bit of a discount (about 5 kuai), but still a little more than in the past, because they have completely remodeled the place. So now it's 25 kuai for a bed. I put my stuff in my room, and headed over to Leisha's for something to eat. I met a couple Israelis who told me they had a private room for 40 kuai at the youth hostel, and the place had free wireless. They were leaving the next day, so I arranged to take over their room. I have never taken my laptop with me in the summer because it's a little bulky (I hate small monitors), but I decided to take a chance this summer, because the Internet bar in Langmusi is so bad. Really glad I decided to take it, because the wireless here is actually pretty good. On par with the coffee bars in Wudaokou.

After lunch, the two Israelis, a British guy and myself hired a car to go out to the hot springs. It was fun, I guess, but the place is not developed at all, and not very clean. Mind you, I am a little spoiled. Once you have been to a Japanese onsen, nothing else quite lives up to it.

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