Summer in China: Xining, Qinghai Province

Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, is one of the poorest provincial capitals in China. Qinghai is located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau with an average altitude of over 7,000 feet above sea level. I was excited about visiting this city not known for tourism but its natural beauty, its richness in history and culture.

One fine day I made a trip to visit a "national" park 2 hrs away from the city. I wasn't able to find any written info about this park; it's quite a hidden gem that was just being developed and looked nothing like an established scenic spot. It was a delightful ride when we found ourselves constantly surrounded by vast green fields and yellow rapeseed flowers spreading all across range of mountains. Utterly breathtaking.

Instead of focusing on the natural landscape and digging out scenic spots, I decided to just stroll around the park and do some people watching. The reality was that there wasn't much happening in this remote park, let alone trying to find hints of human existence. I ended up grabbing every moment to capture every single creature I could possibly find.
First there was this cute little boy. I literally chased after him for half a mile to get this shot.

We couldn't communicate with each other, and whatever I tried to do and say, he just gave me a pretty blank look, oh, with a pretty bad runny rose.

Next, I found some locals gather up on the other end.. there they were sitting around a little stand that sold... yogurt! Yogurt that's served in a rice bowl, was super sour and was made out of yak's milk. Believe me or not, I did end up liking it...

Oh another boy playing with rocks by the lake. Next to him was probably his sister, or another neighbor kid...

The highlight of this trip was about an unplanned encounter with a local lady at her home. Walking up to the hilltop, we leisurely strolled along an unpaved path which led us to some isolated rustic farmhouses built by locals. In front of us, we found fire being set out which we took as a sign of vitality.

There, an old lady was piling up bunches of dried plants and laying them all out by her front window.


With much kindness, she invited us in and as I watched her knitting dough making bread, I couldn't stop looking around, being amazed by all signs of simplicity under the wooden roof top. A small radio for entertainment, a small candle jar for light, and lots of newspapers for wallpaper. Simple, lovely.

Thank you.