China: Silk Road

Xi'an: Shocked


Shaanxi Province


August 28, 2016



I am shocked as I ride from the airport to the city. 

On both sides of the modern highway, clusters of recently-constructed apartment buildings provide the only scenery. 

Each cluster contains twenty high-rise towers.

Each tower is forty floors high and each floor contains sixteen apartments.  

I estimate there are one hundred of these clusters between the airport and the city!

Baoji: The People's Park


Prefecture Population 3,760,000

City Population 800,000

Shaanxi Province

Peoples Republic of China

August 31, 2016


With mountain ranges to the north and the south, Baoji lies in the strategic corridor and is the gateway to the eastern cities of Shanghai and Beijing and to the Far West of China.

Baoji traces its roots back to 2000 BCE.  

The ancient, now modern city of Baoji is just a short 177 km (110 miles) from the ancient capital of Xi’an and, heading west, an appropriate first stop along the Ancient Silk Road.

Tianshui: Maiji Shan


Gansu Province


September 2, 2016


Ancient trade routes were much more than just a highway for the exchange of materials and goods from one distant place to another.  Ideas and culture also traveled with ships and camels and horses. The Silk Road is certainly a prime example of the exchange and dissemination of culture. 

Buddhism flowered in South Asia and eventually “traveled” to Central Asia and China.  Here in Gansu Province, the Maijishan Grotto Complex is one of several grotto sites lying on the trade routes between northwest China and Central Asia.

Tianshui, Gansu Province, China


(pop 3.5 million)

Gansu Province.

People’s Republic of China


The aroma of fresh baked bread draws my attention as I wander through the noisy food market here in Tianshui, the second largest city in Gansu Province.  My eyes bulge as I encounter a pile of huge watermelons – the largest I think I have ever seen.

The bakers smile and also the lady who slices chunks of tofu and the man who sells noodles.  An elderly lady ignores me as she makes her selection from a truckload of pears.

Lanzhou: Night market


(pop 2.1 Million)

Gansu Province


September 2, 2016


When I return to China, I will head straight for Lanzhou and then directly to the Night Market.

The Muslim Halal Night Market is crowded and fun.

At one stall I purchased a portion of seasoned potatoes that were the best I have ever eaten.

Next time I'll try the fish and vegetable stir fry.  

Or maybe a lamb kebob or two


Tongren: Town and Temple

Tongren (pop 257,000)

Qinghai Province


September 9, 2016


The Longwu Tibetan Temple and Monastery is the main site in Tongren.   I saw very little of it.  In fact, I almost missed it. 

I stroll from my hotel towards the Temple along the main street but as usual, I am seduced by shops and shopkeepers and the local population at work or at leisure.