Zhangye Shi, China
After an early flight from Chengdu to Lanzhou We arrived in Zhangye in the late afternoon. The purpose of our sojourn is to see the unusual Rainbow mountains. How did they get to be so colorful??? They are striations of different colored sandstone and minerals pressed together over 24 million years and then buckled up by tectonic plates. Adam, our guide picked us up from the one tiny terminal Zhangye airport. Adam is a pleasure to be around, he has a great sense of humor. After checking into our room, quite a few of us ventured out into the town. We walked and walked trying to find a good restaurant. The first one was a no go, somehow the smell was not appealing. so we all walk right out. On one of the walking only streets, we found a place specializing in “Hot Pot” another Chinese delicacy we just had to try it… We spent at least 20 minutes trying to communicate with the restaurant staff, to find pictures of what we wanted because no one in the restaurant spoke English and of course none of us know Chinese. So we had to show photos on our phones and write words on paper to explain that some of us are vegetarian. Finally we stay and are up for the experience of not knowing what in the world we will eat! Fourteen of us split up into two round tables. In the center of the table is a lower stove where the hot pot cooks. It is also hot because they love it very spicy!! They bring us an appetizer of vegetable kimtchi, it was delicious! They do not serve liquor or wine in any of the restaurants we’ve been to so far. We always end up sharing large beers. It doesn’t seem to matter much, because we sure find lots of things to laugh about. Now the dinner starts. None of us recognize anything. So we end asking this young boy with the translating app what everything is; This is the sample of the wildest things I’ve ever eaten, fish gills, duck blood sausage, strange looking squid, cow tongue, Chinese grilled cheese, mushroom bokchoi fried dumplings, wide textured bean curd noodles, then of course there were the more normal things like wild mushrooms, dandelions, regular noodles and tofu We were very fortunate that at each table, we had the chef’s assistant who cooked in a systematic order the various meats and vegetable we were to eat. I actually ate a tongue, very chewy and stringy, I just couldn’t stomach the fish gills. But I tried the bean curd noodles and so did Kat. It was mostly tasteless and the texture was like wet paper.. We just kept asking each other what everything tasted like and laughing our hearts out over the comments. Truly priceless…. All this including beer and tea for 15$ a person! Wow! We must have been there for two hours but we worked for it! All the shops stay open until 10 on a Monday night! We split into various group to go back to the hotel and here is the funniest part, we all end up at the same bar, drinking some strange multicolored drinks with 4% alcohol! Lots of Chinese people take lots of pictures of our group, since we have lots of blonds, In our group, definitely an anomaly here, especially where we are!