Glacier in the desert
Jiayuguan Travel Blog› entry 9 of 19 › view all entries
I woke up at 5 this morning and took some pictures of the great wall at sunrise. My driver was waiting for me, so I hopped in for a ride to the July 1 glacier. This was the same driver from yesterday who's a really nice guy but doesn't speak a word of English so we have a hard time communicating with my lack of Chinese. First he took me to a local restaurant where he bought me a boiled egg and noodle soup. He also bought me some bottled water. Now my understanding was that the glacier was maybe an hour away and you could park pretty close and go up to it. I nearly wore sandals that morning. I couldn't have been more wrong.
We drove for three hours over roads that I would not have driven my car on for a foot, much less that many miles.
We finally reached the gate to the glacier and went in to pay the admission. The woman there tried to rent me a bladder filled with oxygen, which should have been my first clue. The driver said I didn't need it, so I passed. We got back in the cab and drove a mile and stopped.
About 3/4 of the way there, a Chinese group caught up with me. Two of the women spoke English- Vivien and Rose and walked with me.
The walk back was much easier, probably because it was downhill so it got easier to breathe with each step. It only took me a little over an hour, and this time the driver was the one lagging behind. When I finally reached the stairs I nearly flew down them I was so happy! But I hadn't had anything to eat since 7am and it was then 3pm. Luckily the driver had some moon cakes (kind of like a sweet biscuit) which he gave me and more water. We just sat in the car eating and panting until he felt ready to drive again. I don't know how he did it, I was so physically exhausted I had a hard time keeping my eyes open if it weren't for the bumpiness of the ride. I'm amazed he was able to stay alert enought to make it through the very difficult drive.
He drove me into town and I had him drop me off at a street food market. I went up to a random stand and pointed at the snails and mussels. The guy threw together some ingredients and cooked it all up for me. His wife thought I was hilarious and was repeating every word I said and laughing. I took it all home with me and ate it in my hotel room, very tasty!