Wulan, Qinghai Province, China:
Today I awoke in Wulan, a small dusty town that could pass for dozens of other Chinese towns I’ve been in ... a wide modern boulevard lined with shops and restaurants, people riding bikes and scooters to work, cooking smells wafting about. No quaint architecture or chic shopping district in Wulan, it sits on the edge of Qinghai’s western desert and is off the main highway.
As often encountered in China the sidewalk I was strolling on was a construction site, no warning barriers of course, just a four foot deep trench where a sewer line was going in. Carrying the bricks and mixing the mortar for support walls were these two women laborers. Posing for me with their protective scarfs lowered, I was impressed with their easy relationship and self confidence.
Heading east, as we entered the Qinghai Nanshan Mountains, the landscape turned to rich green grasslands and we climbed to about 10,000 feet. At this altitude families of Tibetan herders were tending their yaks, sheep and goats and were camping in summer tents.
Just inside the door of one tent I met another very self confident subject, a Tibetan girl about six or seven years old who proudly showed off her festive costume.