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.