Day 708 – CHINA (GANSU): From Qingshui to Gaotai


Today’s distance / ???????: 51.8 miles / 83.4km
Average speed / ????: 9.1mph / 14.6km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 5h 43m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5327mi plus 377mi (?) / 8573km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 300
Descent / ??: 475
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N39° 22′ 29.20″, E099° 48′ 55.70″

Mmmmm…delicious looking mountains tempted me with their snowy peaks for the day today as National Highway G312 made it’s way along the foot of these monsters, some as high at 5,000m or more.

A gorge leading up to mountains south of Qinshui, Gansu Province, China

On the other side of those mountains is Qinghai Province. Another province similar to Xinjiang. Lots of nothing, except at a higher altitude. A prelude to Ti ** bet, one might say. Indeed much of it was part of Ti ** bet until relatively recently (asterisks added to prevent censoring – you can’t be too careful).

An hour before lunch, I came across a herd of camels grazing by the roadside. Such wierd cretures. They were none too stoked by my presence, and wouldn’t let me get too near.

A camel east of Qingshui on National Highway G312 in Gansu Province, China Camels east of Qingshui on National Highway G312 in Gansu Province, China

Camels east of Qingshui on National Highway G312 in Gansu Province, China

Camels east of Qingshui on National Highway G312 in Gansu Province, China

Signs on the roadside…all very aesthetic.

Chinese character for fish (seen on sign near Qingshui, Gansu Province, China) Chinese character for water (seen on sign near Qingshui, Gansu Province, China)

Dunno what this one is... (seen on sign near Qingshui, Gansu Province, China) Chinese character for peoples or tribe or race (seen on sign near Qingshui, Gansu Province, China)

Still skating (west of Gaotai, Gansu Province, China)

I had a run-in with miscommunication at lunch today. I pointed to the mushroom and vegetable stirfry on the menu. “I’ll have one of these,” I said.

“OK,” the waiter said.

“And a bowl of white rice to go with it,” I added.

“I’m sorry, we don’t have rice ready at the moment,” the waiter informed me.

“Oh, OK, well I’ll have the beef noodles instead,” I told him.

10 minutes later I had a plate of stir-fry and a plate of beef noodles. This was not what I ordered. I orderd only the beef noodles. At least, that’s what I thought was understood that I wanted. I thought that they understood that since they did not have rice, I did not want the stir-fry, since you usually eat stir-fried things along with rice. In reality, they thought that I still wanted the stir-fry, in addition to the noodles, since I did not expressly say that I no longer wanted the stir-fry.

It was no big deal, and the staff ended up eating the stirfry, as it was lunch time for them also, and I had my noodles. I felt dumb though for not making myself clearer.

After lunch the desolate skating continued. Nothing for miles around.

Long flat skating east of Qingshui, Gansu Province, China

The road was smooth enough, although in its smoothness, it posed a particular kind of challenge. The road surface was tar, and it was getting upwards of 40 degrees celcius. The tar was going soft. As smooth and comfortable as the surface was, it sucked the rolling energy out of the wheels, and made progress slower.

Soft tar on road makes for slow skating (west of Gaotai, Gansu Province, China)

Nearer to Gaotai however, new residential development meant smooth hard concrete cycle-ways.

Tailed by a kid on bike near Gaotai, Gansu Province, China)

I arrived in Gaotai, a city 8km north of National Highway G312, late afternoon. Entering the city, the outskirts are intensively farmed, with many hot houses.

Hot houses in Gaotai, Gansu Prefecture, China

The time for heading to Hong Kong to get myself a new visa is drawing nearer, and I am thinking I will start in that direction in a couple of days. The next big town from here is Zhangye, so I think I will skate to there, take a bus to Lanzhou, and then train from there to Hong Kong. Just hoping like mad that I will be able to get a new visa…I have had conflicting reports that suggest that getting a tourist visa is getting harder by the day.


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3 thoughts on “Day 708 – CHINA (GANSU): From Qingshui to Gaotai

  • Aunty Lyn

    The countryside is amazingly huge and empty. When you think there are one and half billion people in China there must be some pretty crowded places somewhere else! Anyway, glad you got safely across the desert. Good luck with the visa. We have heard that things could be tough till after the Olympic games.

  • Aunty Les

    How high is the pass over those mountains you're heading towards? It'll be nice to be off straight, flat and uninteresting country.

    Will pray for you re visa.

  • Justin L.

    Just tell them you need the visa to take part in the long-distance skateboarding event at the Olympics. At least you're not trying to sail in China, apparently the sea at the Olympic sailing venue is full of green goo they are trying to remove.