The Qinghai Province in Central China is a meeting place for Mongolian, Tibetan, Muslim snd Han Chinese cultures. Driving through the vastness of the grassland plateau I could just imagine Genghis and his marauding Mongolian hordes cantering through the region and how terrifying their presence must have been to the nomadic tribes.
It was Genghis, however who unified the warring tribes and laid the foundations for the development of The Silk Road.
And it is Marco Polo who really captured my imagination on his voyages along The Silk Road. How intrepid those early explorers must have been to travel for years and years in such inhospitable terrain and unforgiving climate. What took us five hours on a fast road in a reasonably comfortable van would have taken those caravans months. They too didn’t know the language and had to eat strange foods not to mention navigate in unfamiliar territory.
Polo wasn’t too complimentary about the people of Xining in his diary. He called them ‘idolaters who are fat with small noses and black hair’ He also noted that they practiced polygamy.
Today the rain held off while we visited the enormous Quinghai Lake. The red building out in the water is a disused torpedo testing site.
The lake is salt water, and only one species of fish can survive here. They are called yellow fish. During Mao’s revolution in the 1960s when famine gripped the country the local people survived by eating these fish. Today their descendants come and feed the fish to say thank you for keeping the people alive and to give something back to the fish.
Modern Chinese people have a growing penchant for photography, in particular posing for pictures. It is a national craze and wherever we go girls (usually) are beautifully made up and we see them striking pose after pose. It is more than just a selfie affliction, it requires a willing (usually male) photographer but on occasion we have seen whole photo shoots with lights, silver screens and the works.
Here at the lake being a beauty spot the management clearly knew their clientele and had provided a range of props to assist the narcissistic populous.
It is really quite fascinating to watch. Never has a generation or country been so totally obsessed with recording themselves.
We decided that if you can’t beat them, join them. So we had s group picture by the scooby-doo mobile