It would seem that this is a lake and not a reservoir. But it is a reservoir that used to belong to the Liu family whoever they were. Fantastic. It was huge and it took an hour on speed boat to get to where we were going. The Buddhist grottoes of Bingling Si.
After almost 24 hours of flying and being in 3 airports we finally reached our destination, the little town of Lanzhou in Central China. We had a good night sleep and the next morning we decided to visit a Buddhist grotto. We couldn't find any tour company in town to take us. So we had to go alone. The people at the front desk of our hotel was very helpful, take a local bus to the long distance bus station, take another bus to the reservoir. So off we went. The Liujiaxia reservoir is huge, it used to belong to a family. And tucked in one corner of the reservoir is the Buddhist grotto we want to see.
Once there we paid for seats on a speed boat or a launch. This was the more expensive but faster way to get to the grottoes. The speed boat can take 8 people at a time, so you have to wait to meet up with other individual groups and once the boat fills up, we left.
One can also take the slow ferry which is cheaper.The speed boat takes 1 hour while the slow ferry takes 2 and 1/2 hours just to get there. Coming back adds to the time spent just on the water. Some who took the ferry to get there refused to return with the ferry, it just took too long. They had to pay extra to find space on the returning speed boats.
This was the first time I traveled in long distance buses in China and it was only my third trip there. I liked it. We rode the trains too and they were crowded. I sort of prefer bus travel. We rode on local buses as weel and it cost only 1 yuan per ride. China is incredible value for the travel dollars. I highly recommend it.
I just got off the plane. Traveling to the interior of China is not for the faint hearted. It is hard but if you have the stomach for it, the rewards are like nothing you'll ever get from anywhere else. We went, again, to Gansu province, this time to a little place at one corner of the Tibetan plateau called Xiahe or Little Tibet. Here is found a Tibetan monastery, the most important one outside of Tibet. My two traveling companions, Zack, my nephew and Sophie, my sister in law, both read, write and speak Mandarin. It did not make things easier because they were not involved in making the itinerary. I was the only one who took care of all the logistics. When I get lost, they are lost too. Anyway we managed and had a great time. I'm looking to planning a trip to Tibet proper.
My backyard, with a cup of tea, a new book and some magazines..... that's the life. One day I'll spend more time doing this than the other things that I now do.....working none stop and traveling to far off places.
Cold showers, freezing rooms..... I don't know why I do it and do so much of it. Then again there are converted palazzos like this one in Catania, Sicily. This one is a crummy hostel but the owners were really nice. We've stayed in more expensive converted palazzos in Sicily. In China most cheap rooms have something leaking in them but then again we've found some really decent newer hostels. Our accommodations on the road run the gamut, from decent to downright awful. We're still undeterred and will keep on traveling.