Today we got to see the much-anticipated Rainbow Mountains. I have seen pictures of this place for years and have been excited about seeing them since learning they were on our route. It was cool to see such a well preserved landscape. Probably the most well preserved National Park I have seen in the world. The flip side to this was that the preservation came with very little access to the features themselves. We took the bus ride through the park and walked along the walkways, being wowed with every sight. At the same time, all I wished was to be down in the washes looking up at the walls, being among the colorful giants all around.
We ran into the manager of the park and asked if there was camping. As usual, rather than give us a straight yes or no, they explained why we shouldn't want to camp here saying, "it is too cold and there are dangerous animals." When we asked what animals they told us there were wolves and that they are wild and dangerous. Knowing full well that we have nothing to fear unless we start traveling with livestock. The Chinese tend to give indirect answers despite having a very direct language. Using this format, the response we received (the reasons we would not want to camp in the wild of Gansu) was actually a 'no, you cannot camp in the park.' We simply had to be satisfied with observing the beauty from the well-maintained viewing post that Ed Abbey would have hated.
After seeing the mountains and getting a rushed KFC dinner (one of the few food escapes for us from the land of noodles), we hurried to see Star Wars in the theater which had just come out in China the day before. We sat in the front row because it was about 25 feet back from the smallest movie theater screen any of us had ever seen. The theater itself only had about 48 seats of which maybe ten were filled. It was a nice day but not a restful one as we got back to the room just before 11 pm to do our nightly chores.
Distance: 0 km
Total Distance: 1326 km
End: Zhangye (张掖)- Youth Hostel
Written by Timb