My last day in Shaanxi, my first day in Gansu 甘肃.
There’s a Tang-dynasty temple in Changwu, it’s called Zhaoren Temple 昭仁寺:
It was closed when I got there, so I went to the market instead:
Then I hit the road.
One thing that is really noticeable about spring:
People are creating homes everywhere. “Build a house and get married” – that’s how an old man put it a while ago.
It’s not every day that I’m entering a new province on foot, so I started looking for some kind of indication that I wasn’t in Shaanxi anymore.
One time I thought this might be it:
…but it was just an area where they put freight trucks on scales to measure their weight.
Well, I thought, might as well take a break and lay down somewhere between provinces, and so I did:
I fell asleep as soon as I stretched out on my therma-rest.
When I got back up again, I had developed a more indifferent attitude towards the changing provinces. After all it’s just names, isn’t it?
So I walked along and took pictures of lovely people, regardless if they were from Shaanxi:
…or from Gansu:
Then suddenly, there it was:
Shaanxi didn’t just sneak out of the picture, instead it was extending its greetings in a very polite way.
And so was Gansu:
So there I was, in a new province.
I was going to settle down in the first place I got to, but oh no! – there wasn’t a hotel or a guesthouse anywhere to be found, and not a kind soul offered to take me in:
So I sat down for dinner in a small restaurant and started thinking about my options.
Some kids were studying me from outside:
…and after I had finished my meal and made up my mind (whatever, just keep walking), I noticed the little bunch had grown larger – and they were following me:
They weren’t nearly as bad as my face might suggest though, in fact they were really nice and we had lots of fun taking artsy pictures of the world at dusk:
You can see one of them even posed as a model:
And a great job he did – this is a thirty-second-exposure, and he managed to stand completely still!
Well, my little friends had to leave me eventually, and I continued to make my way through the black velvet night alone.
I was going to show you a picture of the stars, but I think I miserably failed on this one:
If I can’t get this feeling on camera, can I describe it then? Are there certain words that I will just have to say to make you think of the most beautiful star-dotted sky you’ve ever seen?
– the gentle haze of the Milky Way
– the feeling of depth in space
– the little stars and the big ones
– the bling-bling and the shining
– and the total absence of light in between
I made it to a tiny settlement after about two hours of star-gazing footsteps.
But there was no hotel there either!
I started desperately asking around, and someone pointed out the pharmacy:
Lucky lucky lucky – they had spare beds there, and I even got my own room.
…the first night in Gansu, which is also called Long 陇.