TienJou -- Fri, Jul 29, 2005
This is going to make everybody at my office cringe -- people line up to take pictures with me here -- just what me and my ego needs... right? So today there was a half page photo of me and an autistic girl was on the front page of the local Lanzhou newspaper (I will upload a picture soon). Yesterday, I had a line of more than 10 people waiting to take photos of me, I got to limit them to only one photo... ;)
It's partly the biking thing, but its a lot about the white thing... China is an incredibly homogenous country (well at least in terms of skin color diversity) and its quite incredible that even in this age it is an incredible thing to see a "yigeren" (foreigner). It seems to have gotten more common in the east of China and therefore it is less of an event, but as we have gotten further west -- the insta-crowds are getting bigger and bigger (I stop, 20 people quickly gather around, I smile and speak poor Chinese, they stare, etc.)
But, as anyone that knows me knows, I like it. Some would get sick of it, even my Chinese friends took a while to get used to it. It will be wierd coming back to the States and not having everyone wanting to be my friend and take photos with me. Oh well.
Well, I got lost today, sort of. My partners went one way, I went another. I swear I saw the right sign... opps. So I had to take a back road to get back to highway 312 which was actually a blessing in disguise. It was a great rolling road (lovin the hills) through desert like hills with mountains in the back drop.
Then the road opened into the full backdrop of mountains -- beautiful. No real steep climbs today -- a steady uphill getting us ready for the climb tomorrow and then steep drop into WuWei. We will reach our highest point of the trip tomorrow (about 9,000 ft).
Today we are staying in a great mountain town where the air is fresh and the air is cool. I haven't had air like this since I've been in China -- it is a great feeling.