Of course, the day that I need a toilet more than ever, was the day we left Lanzhou City and traveled to Beijing.* Did you know that most establishments in China don’t have toilets? It’s just kind of a porcelain hole in the floor that does flush but provides no place to sit. It’s the ultimate squatty potty. Once again, I’ll spare you the details…
*reference to end of previous post
Except for my personal struggles, we were fortunate to have another good day of travel. The area between Lanzhou City and the airport is quite a distance. It took us a little over an hour of countryside driving to get to the airport. The countryside was unlike anything I’d seen before. It was sort of a desert-like mountainous area, but the mountains are made of dirt and had several bushes and small trees very neatly planted as far as the eye could see.
It turns out there are actually people planting those bushes and trees as their work. Many of them even find a nice cave to live in instead of commute to work every day. I’d imagine it’s a very simple lifestyle. It made me think about the Chinese definition of work and the American definition. I don’t know many Americans who would live in caves just to plant bushes in the middle of almost nowhere for a living. I’d imagine the HR guy has a pretty easy job, though.
If living in caves isn’t your thing, there are many condos and apartment buildings along the highway. Many of them aren't really near any particular town or city, just out in the country. There were often small shops and gas stations accompanied with them to create a little community.
Oh, and by the way, don’t knock cactus tangerine water until you try it. Foreigners who visit China are wise to stick to bottled water (much like other countries) so I had the opportunity to try many different brands and flavors of bottled water. I was skeptical when Shirley’s aunt handed me a cactus tangerine water, but it was actually not half bad. Definitely a flavor I hadn’t had before.
Finally, we arrived at our hotel in Beijing. We ate dinner at the hotel, which consisted of beef fried rice and traditional Beijing Style noodles. Both are dishes we serve at Heavenly and both dishes tasted a lot like ours. The dan dan noodles might look scary, but they’re definitely worth a try.