To the Mystery (1) 去秘境(1)

The driver called me at 7:41 in the morning saying he’s waiting for me outside the hostel, which was 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Very punctual. We picked another guest, Ms. Zeng, and set off for the two lakes that are not ravishingly exploited yet – Wusute Yadan Geo-Park and East Taiji Nai’er Lake. 

Driver Mr. Wang pointed to the buses on the highway and told us all those buses running between Salk lakes and Golmud belong to the company he works for. The bus drivers are not allowed to surpass another bus from the same company. If reported, they will be fined with 200 RMB, which equals to their one day salary. He also asked for our permission to drive fast because his company once received a complaint from one of his guests about speeding, who didn’t say anything while he was in the car. ‘It’s not easy to make a little bit of money…’ Also not easy to make a little bit of money are the cleaners working at the free public toilets by national highway 315 where nothing else is around within tens of miles. The job is remote, dirty, lonely and insignificant, yet so important in terms of keeping a satisfying sanitary condition for the passers by. I wonder what motivates them to take on a job like that, what kind of attitude they have for life. And I hope one day technology will help eliminate this type of jobs without affecting their living standard… yes, talking about Andrew Yang.
王师傅指着高速公路上的大巴告诉我们说,在盐湖和格尔木之间接人上下班的所有大巴都是他公司的车。公司规定大巴车不得超本公司的另一辆车。一经举报则罚款200元,相当于司机一天的工资。他还征求我们的同意开快车,因为曾有一位乘客投诉他超速,而在他车里时什么都没说。“赚一点钱不容易啊……”另一群赚钱也不容易的人是在315国道边的免费公厕里工作的清洁工,几十公里内都是荒凉的不毛之地。这项工作是偏远的,肮脏的,孤独的和微不足道的,但在为路人保持令人满意的卫生条件方面却如此重要。我想知道是什么促使他们从事这样的工作,他们对待生活又是什么样的态度。我希望有一天技术可以使这样的工作消失而不影响他们的生计……没错,我是在说Andrew Yang。

We drove through Sebei natural gas field where the West-East Gas Pipeline project extracts natural gas and transport to Xining and Lanzhou via massive pipelines running all the way for thousands of miles. After the gas field we encountered Xitieshan (锡铁山, literaly Tin-Iron Mountain) where, obviously, metal mines are located. The landscape reminds me a lot about Death Valley, where the colors of the mountains change from earthly yellow to brown to dark grey. The second lake we are going to today is actually a lithium mine. What rich natural resources they have!

Next is ‘the most beautiful road of China’, which also reminds me a lot of west USA. This kind of long straight roads out in the wild are not easy to find in China. It is in a Yadan landscape area surrounded by huge soil hills. 

National Highway 315

Despite the very special and nice view, of you pay attention, plastic wastes are everywhere. With our current technology, it is impossible for the time being to thoroughly clean up the road side wastes. I hereby call for all tourists to not litter where it doesn’t facilitate a proper disposal. 

After almost 4 hours driving, we finally arrived at Wusute Yadan Geo-Park. I do not want to describe how beautiful this place is, so that more people would come to damage it. Just look at the picture. It always makes me sick to see plastic waste, seriously, although there isn’t much yet here. Same for East Taiji Nai’er Lake. 

Plastic bottle on the lakeside

My travel companion today, Ms. Zeng, is a girl few years older than me. I like her personality very much. Having a child of 9, she decides to go working in Japan to realize her own value, after working as a Japanese translator and then housewife for several years. We both are waiting for the suspended visa from the Japanese embassy. We hope the pandemic come to an end soon, and see each other there. 

Back to the hostel, I met another girl going to a different volunteering project of Green River, starting also from 1st July. What a coincidence! We exchanged each other’s wechat, and looking forward to live streaming both projects!

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