Chengdu to Lhasa II

After struggling through a rather dismal night thanks to Mr. Snore, I awoke to find the train in the Gansu province. Gansu is an isolated province with poor people and a dry, extreme climate. Not a lot of tourists find their way there. I saw tall hills on either side of the train and small villages running along the train track. The homes are built of brick and are done in the traditional courtyard style. They are small and one-story for the most part. Most have been decorated for the new year with red lanterns and bright new red banners around the doors.

Many of the hills have been terraced for growing crops, but they seem to suffer seriously from erosion. Everywhere you look is brown and barren, which contrasts spectacularly with the clear blue sky. It doesn’t seem as though anything has changed here in hundreds of years.

As we progressed towards the city of Lanzhou, the landscape became less and less hospitable. There were no trees, nothing green and even though it is winter, you get the impression it is always this way. Just when I think I have seen the “real China” and have seen what real poverty looks like, I see something new.

Taking photos on a train is pretty difficult, but these might help you to visualize the scenery:

Gansu Province 1

Gansu Province 2

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