Sunday, 27 July 2008


We already knew that the dimensions of China were considerable, but only spending the long hours sitting on the bus and the train to go to our every time destination, we can realize how big it is...
We leave behind the province of the Xinjiang with its endless deserts and some impressive peaks that will take you all the way to Pakistan along the Karakorum Highway. For us is also the last place where muslimism is the main religion. After travelling several months in central Asia, we look forward for the change in the culture that the Eastern provinces are going to bring, but we also know that we will miss the character and the hospitality typical in the Allah worshipers whose as well as in all central Asia, also populate the Uighur province.
A few days in China are enough to comprehend that Communism has been replaced by pure Capitalism. The prices for visiting some of the sites are in a disproportion hard to believe...
With the entrance fee to visit a temple, a fortress or just to visit a lake is enough to buy your food and accommodation for the day!
Chinese people pay full price too, which with an average monthly salary of 80 Euros, makes it only affordable for rich locals and foreigners that have not been long on the road.
Quickly we cross the Gansu province, only stopping by to get our first glimpse of the great wall, and to change the original plans of visiting the town of Xiahe. After asking why, the answer that we get is that the government has forbidden any foreigner to visit the place for "safety" reasons...
Xiahe is a main pilgrimage point for Tibetans Buddhists, which make us think that maybe is for the "safety" of the Chinese government that we can not access to the information of what's really going on in Tibet.
After all that and knowing that many areas close to Tibet are going to be inaccessible for us, we drive our steps to the Sichuan province, famous lately for the massive earthquake that left many people without a home and depending on international aid.
The capital Chengdu is the first place we visit, overpopulated as we thought, we enjoy the famous province's spicy food, the traditional opera and some grumpy monks which get quite upset if you point your camera at them when the play with the last "toy" in the mobile phone market.