The Caboose was almost ready to go:
It only needed some minor adjustments and a complete coating in white to make it more tolerant to direct sunlight.
So I realized two things:
1) I wasn’t going to get anywhere today,
2) it was still before noon.
So I hopped on a bus…
…and went to Mati Temple, a place 70km southwest of Zhangye:
(I marked this place as a “Scenic Spot” in the Google Earth trackfile – you should easily be able to locate it!)
What’s so special about this place though?
Somewhat resembling the world-famous Mogao Grottoes 莫高窟 in Dunhuang 敦煌, the amazing Mati Temple area consists of several temples and a system of Buddhist caves, the earliest dating back to the 4th century AD:
And there were minorities. I might have to do a bit of explaining: China’s population is currently at about 1.4 billion. The nation consists of 56 ethnic groups, the Hanforming the vast majority of more than 95 percent.
Two minorities that we’ve come across on the way so far are the Hui – Muslims and water fountains, babies walk on roads inclined, Azzurro) and Tibetans – I can’t hear you, the white yak, the majestic, and the worm, two hundred by two hundred), both of which make up populations of several million people.
…there are some minorities that are a LOT smaller in terms of population though.
The Yugu 裕固 for example:
Having close ethnic and cultural ties to both the Hui and the Tibetans, this ethnic minority is one of the smallest in China, consisting of only a little more than 10.000 people, all of which traditionally settle only in this small area close to the 马蹄寺.
Unfortunately, I had to catch the last bus back at 17:30, and thus my time was very limited – I would have loved to find out more about the Yugu-people and about the Buddhist caves that had formed such an important part of their living environment for so many centuries.
When I arrived in the city later that night, the Caboose stood there, radiating with a sparkling whiteness:
She was perfect.
I gave many thanks to my dear Mr. Wang, then I gently rolled her home.
I had such high hopes for the Caboose.