shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Running about QingHai Plateau Part 2 of 2

Continued from Running about QingHai Plateau Part 1 of 2

Thursday 22 Aug 2013

More photos in Flickr collection "Running about QingHai Plateau"

We had another good local breakfast. We all love eating and ate as well as we could.
And then it was off to the Mogao Grotto 莫高窟 which was inseparable from DunHuang
See what my betters wrote of Mogao Grotto

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With Ms Freiheit Chen at entrance gateway to Mogao Grotto

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Alba Wu about to join heavenly angel up to the sky to play pipa

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The complex was vast. No camera was allowed. I felt the crowd control was very good. Groups of us were allowed and the entry fee included a guide to explain and to mother-hen that group.
What you see above were new walls and walkways to enable easy access and to protect the fragile murals inside the grottos. We all were given headphones receiving the words from the individual guide to maintain the silence of Mogao.

Some of the grottos were sealed off for studies done by experts or too small to allow groups to prevent deteoriation.

About 2 hours was as much as I could absorb what was done by unknown artists over thousand years. Vast as the 300 odd meter complex we were allowed into, it was a fraction of that 300 meter we were guided into. How much murals can you see of Buddhas and their angels dancing topless playing the lute?

Yet the grottoes stretch for about 2 kilometer on the bank of the river. Caves existed on several levels, and some went deep into the bank. If they are lined up in a row, they would be a gallery of 30 kilometers long.

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Without the walkways and stairs, can you hope to get to those places?

Here is a short 3 mins video by UNESCO/NHK of the grotto to give an idea of what we seen.

If you want more, here is an hour long

Horsing about way way way outside the Mogao grottos.

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And I discovered an image so shocking to behold.

You know of the V for Vendetta mask so fondly used by protestors.

David Lloyd was said to design that mask. Except that design was already painted 600 to 900 years ago by an unknown artist in the Mogao grottos. I pointed this out to my friend ChengHung. He was one Taiwanese with a foot on the West and knew of that V for Vendetta Mask. I regret I did not take a photo of that part of the mural. Especially as that was the front cover of a book in the souvenir/books. Or bought that book to reproduce here that image for the world and for David Lloyd to see and explain the quaint coincidence of that image.

Had lunch, but did not take photos of that lunch. I only remembered that was good, as I could not remember any meals which was bad.

Went back to hotel to rest a while and then at 430 pm, we were at the sand dunes of Yueyaquan 月牙泉 National Park.

Yueyaquan 月牙泉 referred to a lake in the shape of a crescent moon.

Photo below by ChengHung energetic to climb to top of dune to take this
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The sand dunes

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I would not care to walk to the top even if they were just hills. But sand! there must be an easier way.

Chosing the camels. The orange cover on the feet to prevent the fine sand from getting into the shoes

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Off we went

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Xieu Feng decided to go on foot to take photos, half walking and half running. She was incredibly fit

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Camels stop halfway up. Camels too clever to go up to the top leaving that to less intelligent humans. Who went up there to slide down a sledge later.

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I was as clever as the camels. And went back down on them with another 4 while the rest went up and over the dunes.

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The above photo was to show how soft the sand was for you to imagine walking and climbing on the dunes.

Yet to my horror, the others decided the dunes to be appealing enough to change their minds to walk up to the others on top and waving at them.

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I decided to go take some photos of the quaint pagoda at the crescent lake instead

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If you like to know how the view was like from up there on top of dunes, and other views of this trip, go see

Friday 23 Aug 2013

More photos in Flickr collection "Running about QingHai Plateau

AQinghai 04 DunHuang JiuQuan city

We left Dunhuang after our usual very good breakfast.

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And almost immediately, hit the desert once more on leaving Dunhuang. Very clearly visible where water was , and where no water was.

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Just to remind us of the birthplace of the incredibly sweet Hami melon, stalls were encountered by the side of the road selling the melons.

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Where there was water, we passed by fields of sunflowers

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or flowers

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or fields of windmills

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And reached the city of Jiu Quan 酒泉 City . Jiu is wine and Quan is spring just to let you know. The city's name came from legendary tale of the young Han general Huo Qubing, who poured a jar of precious wine into a local creek in order to share the taste with his troops, in celebration of their crushing victory against Xiongnu forces. The creek was later named Jiu Quan ("Wine Spring"), which became the name of the Han prefecture established there. It was an active military garrison during the Later Han Dynasty.[1]

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Just across from our hotel

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The flying horse of Gansu is iconic and seen in all cities of Gansu as I found out the next day.
Gansu was known in ancient times as the place where best horses came from.

A bronze from 200AD

Gansu was supposed to be an impoverished inner province. I seen instead people well dressed and looking very well fed and walking about with a hand fingering on their iphones. And the variety of electrci bicycles that I seen on the roads there was mind boggling. As if many companies made many different types of electric bicycles and testing them there. I think a trade war will come about from the electric bicycles made in JiuQuan city and the rest of the world.

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I think the electric bicycle was real compared well with the flying horse which was mythical.

Nearby was the Jiayuguan Pass. Also known as the TienHsiaTiYiXiongGuan 天下第一雄 關, or Under Heaven Number 1 Martial Pass

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Over the other side, barbarians and demons roam.
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On this side, women, wine and song.

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At the gate

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temple to Guan Kung inside the complex
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Exploits of Guan Kung
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After this, we went to another section of the Great Wall of China

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They went up
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and up
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I let my telephoto lens do the walking
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You all know my leg was wonky. The steps were very steep. I would not take the chance of injury. So I went on down to the fishing pond below to see people fishing there and to watch the pond being stocked with fish for the fishing

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Eventually we all were reunited again by the fishing pond and went back to hotel.

And had a good dinner

Of wonderful braised pork belly
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and good food

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Followed by usual whiskey, wine and fruits in the room
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Alba had this stuff to put on face to take away wrinkles and make one more beautiful
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She had many of those

I also wanted to be beautiful. The old ugly me

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The girsl there promised they would protect me from sweet young things out to snatch me. So I put on one to be more beautiful

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Other guys decided to be more beautiful as well

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Saturday 24 Aug 2013

More photos in Flickr collection "Running about QingHai Plateau

AQinghai 05 JiuQuan city to Zhangye town

After breakfast, or course after breakfast, we set off again.
This time to Zhangye city.

We passed by plantations in front of the range of snow cap QianLian 前連山 mountains in the south.

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We passed by fields in front of the range of snow cap QianLian 前連山 mountains in the south.

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And we were into Zhangye city
Passed by banks of public toilets, nothing like what we encountered before Dunhuang a couple days ago.

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We found our hotel and checked in. And as we were still in Gansu, the flying horse of Gansu outside our hotel making me felt a touch of deja vu.

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Gansu very proud of their flying horse. Dunhuang in Gansu also. But Dunhuang got their nubile angels playing lute backwards with proud breasts jutting forward and Dunhuang more proud of their lute playing angels than of flying horses. Dunhuang mayor put up so many lute playing angels that no space left for flying horses.

We had lunch, and then set off to Mati Si 马蹄寺

Passing farms and farmers on the way south

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Mati Si was like an enchanted fairy land, of brilliant emerald green fields and trees. And strange temples behind the trees playing peeka boo with us

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Mati Si will be a place to spend a few days if not weeks in. I had not the energy to explore as it was too much for me to take in and hopeless to try to see it all in the couple of hours allocated. I been on the road for a week already with little rest in between as you have read in this blog. I could not even join the others with my wonky leg and slightly less wonky body as they raced about that 3000 meters altitude.

I had to content myself to taking a few photos.

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See my friends photos as they went higher and further then me in Mati shi

And this blog written by Adam who spend 8 hours exploring there

We then went to Zhanye DanXia landform.

You might even like to click on the URL below to see a different perspective and aerial shots by people who know how to use settings in camera better than mine

Here are some of my shots

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Then it got dark and time to go back to Zhangye town. It was our last dinner together.
It was a very good dinner. And back to hotel for a last night of drinking and laughing.
And for you folks to see how the room was like in a small provincial town in China. Very different from when I travelled about 20 years ago.

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Sunday 25 Aug 2013

More photos in Flickr collection "Running about QingHai Plateau

AQinghai 06 Zhangye town to Xining

We had breakfast in a local breakfast place in this street

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Leaving Zhangye town and scene of Sunday street market

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Racing to Xining to make it in time for the plane to Taiwan for my friends.
Passing fields and farms and fields and farms

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Climbing higher and into meadows and herds of yaks

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Passing flocks of sheeps and yaks

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Stop to stretch legs
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Another stop, to get water and to stretch legs

Ice cold water
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Pretty decent houses everywhere I turned my head. Never seen abject poverty here

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Lunch stop here

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Moving on again

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Farmers selling yogurt and honey
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Farm house

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View from lookout point

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Climbing higher

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Through mountain

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Into Xining city

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And airport for their flight back that day.

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I went to Xining city.
Stayed a night over and flew back to Singapore the next day.
All in all, it cost each of us 3300RMB for the share of the chartered bus and hotels and dining and entries to all those sites. And we got memories which were priceless as you have seen.

More photos in Flickr collection "Running about QingHai Plateau

9 Sep 2013
I have kicked Old Nic for One miraculous year, seven incredible months, one wonderful week, five luvly days, 14 bloody hours, 23 misc minutes and 0 odd seconds. of cold turkey after about 45++ years of smoking. 30120 cigarettes not smoked, saving $15,813.30. Life saved: 14 weeks, 6 days, 14 hours, 0 minutes.

LiBai mash making.
About 300 grams of beef mince, with 200 grams of chicken mince and 150 grams of dried anchovies(for the calcium). That was all done up to the kitty mash formula I wrote about in
Pakistan//Tinkerbell Kitty Mash//Dommie at the beach Ramadhan 2010 //Villa walkabout 2
Instead of the almond and brazil nuts, about 100 grams of human grade groundnuts(peanuts) were used.

Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7

suri - Read "Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris"

milli - read "Found the perfect treat and Yingshiong first "step up""

if you forgotten about clicker training

Tinkerbell Legacy - VH parrot and Clicker Training Rant 06

Some thoughts on clicker - The initial experience with Tinkerbell

Clicker training and bonding with Tinkerbell

To Shanlung-Charlie and clicker training

Charlie and clicker training - beyond touch target //LiBai on finger and in slow motion videos —

Tinkerbell Legacy - - Rant 03 (a flighted parrot mentality) & Understanding the mind of your grey
Above is probably the most important of all I have written, and the foundation to all that I have done.


(edited on 4th November 2011 to include below)

To Shanlung - How to do Free Flight Outside

If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.

Durrell-life member
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice

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