This post is actually from yesterday, but the internet cafe where I wrote it was using an outdated browser, and it would not let me hit the “post” button. Here it is, in case you were wondering what happened:
I have safely made it to Lanzhou, but, much to my dismay, I just discovered that my hotel does not have the internet access that I was promised. I’m writing this from a smoke-filled internet cafe, trying to tune out the gaming teenagers and Tibetan monks. As a result, I’m unable to post any photos, or post all the text that I wrote today on the train.
The landscape changed dramatically over the course of my journey today. I am now decidedly in the desert. I passed from fertile plain, through lush green hillsides, to the mountainous yellow-colored terrain from which I’m writing. I spent most of the trip staring out the window.
For the first time today, I had a moment of panic, thinking that I am totally stupid to be attempting this trip with zero language skills. Finding my hotel this evening was incredibly difficult, and once there, I had a very difficult time communicating with the staff. Hand gestures can only get one so far.
I don’t know what my internet access will be like over the next several days, but I’m betting it won’t be good. I’ll try to keep the posts coming if possible, but it looks like they’ll be missing photos, and will be pretty short.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to post a big batch of updates when I get to another major city (By the way, Lanzhou is no small town. At 3 million people, it would be the third largest city in the US, ahead of Chicago.)
Good luck Tad, keep on moving. I know how it is trying to get around not knowing how to communicate, but you will get through it. Just keep on taking good pictures and enjoy your trip. One question, did you book all of your hotels ahead of time?
No, just the ones where I thought that I would definitely need to. I knew that I did not want to wander around Lanzhou last night looking for a place, so I booked that one ahead of time.
Sometimes life begins where the internet ends.
Best of luck with your continued acquisition of the quasi-universal language of hands.
Agreed, but I needed to make some arrangements for forward travel, and I exactly pick up the phone and call.
Are the people friendly in Lanzhou? What brought you to this particular city, is there some interesting architecture?
Tad – Great blog – I have loved the pictures that you have managed to post!
Were they still showing acres of soldiers in the process of being excavated in Xian??? From the pictures I’m guessing it is more formalized then when we were there.
Food is making my mouth water – I admire your bravery!