Despite the charms of the Chinese train and that to travel hopefully (and painfully) is better than … not at all, it’s always good to arrive when the destination is beautiful Lanzhou. It’s the most polluted city in China, possibly the world, so how can it be so great? It must be because of its wild west frontier charm combined with its leisurely pace.
As well as the fact that every other restaurant is a Sichuan one, and not ‘pretending to be Sichuan’ either. In addition it is now the great fruit season of northern China and by Jove, you can live off the succulent, so beyond sweet they are sub-sweet, grapes and melons forever. Or during the season at least. We spent the day walking around the gigantic park clinging to the sheer cliff-face just behind the station, ending up on a barge on the Yellow River with tea, sunflower seeds and card playing.
As we commented upon how civilised life could be, we noticed people floating past on the Yellow River, surprisingly swift considering its mud-like appearance, in fact they were hurtling past tied to floaty things. It was part of the “River Floating Race.” Strange leisure activities have well and truly arrived in China.
The day ended with more Sichuan food and beer; a perfect day in the most polluted paradise on earth – which astonishingly many people, if you look online, call a hellhole! Unfathomable.
But if you really are one of those curmudgeonly sourpusses who insist on breathing all the time, you could always go shopping in one of the many upmarket designer shops in the city:
Yes. Lanzhou. There’s something for everybody. I’m just filling up my water bottle for another outing; a day trip to Tibet as it happens. On the bottle it says: CONS TANT CREATIVE MAJOR IN THE OUTPACE LINE.