Updated: Oct 3, 2019
Today, I got the opportunity to explore Lanzhou City and get a good look at Chinese culture. Lanzhou City has a rich history of trade with the ancient Silk Road trading route running straight through the city. Shirley’s uncle showed us around a bit of the city, including the Iron Bridge, the first-ever bridge across the Yellow River and an integral part of trade.
The Iron Bridge was a team effort – the design came from an American, the materials came from Germany and the labor was provided by China. Here you can see me helping with the negotiations.
Near the Iron Bridge was a mountain with several winding roads and shops waiting to be discovered by those brave enough to walk up an inhumane amount of steps. Atop the mountain was a temple with Tibetan monks. With the altitude at 1500 km above sea level, this was the highest place I’ve ever been. I ran up about four flights of steps and had to take a breather because my chest was tighter than any workout I had in college track & field practice. We didn’t even get close to seeing the temple, which I know realize how secluded the monks must be after seeing all those steps.
In 2019, China is celebrating its 70th year anniversary of becoming the People''s Republic of China. China became The People's Republic of China when the Communist Party of China defeated the Republic of China in the Chinese Civil War in 1949. China's early history involved several different imperial dynasties dating back to ancient times.
After a morning of over 10,000 steps, it was finally time to try the famous beef noodle soup that Lanzhou City is known for. I must say, I think this dish will be the one I miss most when leave Lanzhou City. I don’t have the right words in my food dictionary to describe how it tasted, but it was amazing. Everything was handmade and delivered piping hot.
The beef noodle soup was spicy, but not too spicy. The noodles were cooked just right and the beef was the tenderest beef I’ve ever had, even before I added it to the soup. Many Chinese dishes have you assemble some of dish yourself, so it was neat to add my own beef and stir my own soup. It added a personal touch that you don’t find at typical American restaurants.
Speaking of making your own meal, dinner tonight was hot pot. Hot pot is a food experience unlike any else. If you’re unfamiliar with hot pot, it’s a large pot of broth that is served over a burner at your table. You order the broth, then order the sides you want to put in the broth and cook it yourself at the table. Hot pot is typically done with groups or families, so we dined with six members of Shirley’s family, making it eight of us total. The restaurant gave us each a snazzy apron, too.
I had a lot of fun tossing in different things into the pot and cooking my own meal. The more it cooks, the spicier it gets. I'm usually the spiciest one in my family when it comes to spicy food, but I got put in my place this time. I had to tap out before all the different food was thrown in. The hot pot dinner will be by far the most memorable meal I have on the trip. Memorable for all the right reasons, and all the wrong ones, too.
I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say my intestines were mad at me the next morning.