In Xining

I’m(JM) off of school, teaching has wound down, so what better way to spend a few weeks than catching a train to Tibet? I’m halfway there on a trip with two friends. We’re going to wind through Lhasa all the way through the main Tibetan cities, and end up at Mt. Everest base camp!

I’m halfway there already, stopped over in Xining, a city in central China that is the starting point of the Tibetan railway. This city is a huge lesson in contrasting cultures. There are four different races represented here fairly equally, and racial tensions are in fact very high. There are the typical Han Chinese, the majority ethnic race in China. But added are thousands upon thousands of Mongols, Muslim Chinese (the Hui), and Tibetans. In fact, there are two different groups of Tibetans, the Amdo and Kham, and they don’t like each other very much either. We’ve been told there are a lot of knife fights in town (guns are illegal here- more illegal than in the US).

In a way, the contrasting cultures make a fascinating city scape, with Tibetan Bhuddist temples right next to Islamic mosques, and certainly a wide array of food. It is a big contrast from Nanjing, a predominantly Han Chinese city.

Tonight I board the evening train for Lhasa, and arrive 24 hours later at an altitude of 3500 meters. Breathing may be difficult!

If anyone is interested in travel here as well, I highly recommend the agency we’re using: They are super reliable and affordable.

Bon voyage!


1 Response to “In Xining”

  1. 1 guideontravel February 6, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Traveling during the holidays is always interesting. I also having some good information about India travel…..

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