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Qinghai, Away from the Beaten Tracks
2005-08-24 14:46:26
Qinghai Province boasts multiple ethnic cultures and the beautiful salt lake...

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Situated in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai boasts multiple ethnic folk cultures and the beautiful Qinghai Lake, the largest inland salt lake in the world. And he will also introduce you to the local people's unique way of drinking wine.
Yunfeng: Qinghai Province is in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. It has an area of 724,000 square kilometers. China's fourth largest province in territory; and most of its land is more than 3,000 meters above sea level. So you can imagine we were afraid at the beginning of the tour that we may short of oxygen since most of us living on the plains. But later we found it was no problem, at least for me, I felt nothing at all.
Qinghai has a continental climate. The greater part of it is dry and cold and with long winters, short summers, frequent winds, little rainfall, long hours of sunshine and great differences in temperature between day and night. For us, we went there in early august, so pleasant cool weather, a great runaway from this year's Beijing sauna days.
Qinghai Province is called "Qing" for short. The province lies in the upper reaches of the Yangtze and the Yellow river valleys in the southern part of northwestern China. It officially got the present name in 1928. Qinghai is the origin of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, abundant in river branches, streams, lakes as well as wildlife resources. And Qinghai lake is the most famous place of interests, we will talk about it later in the program.
The first thing I know about the local people is that they like drinking. They drink spirit, very strong ones, smelling like pure alcohol to me. I am allergic to alcohol, so I am trying to avoid any possibility to drink. But I was so lured by the way of local people drink. They Huaquan while drinking.
What you just heard is the most popular local drinking game. It was so complicated that even after introduction I still couldn't understand. But I managed to learn a very simple one. That is Tiger, Stick, Chick and Worm. Both people use chopsticks while speaking out any of the four things Tiger, stick, chick or worm. The rule is tiger eats chick, chick eats worm, worm eats stick while stick hits tiger. So it is simple and very much fun. We played a lot in a local Tu Ethnic village while visiting
Talking about the Tu ethnic group, the costume we can't miss. Like most Chinese ethnic groups, The Tu costumes and personal adornments of the Tu people are strikingly unique. Men and women alike wear shirts with delicately designed embroidered collars whose colors are bright and well blended. Men like to dress in cloth robes, putting on high-collared fur gowns with waist belts in winter. They often dress up in felt hats with brocade brims.
For women, jackets are tilted in the front with sleeves made up of five different kinds of cloth. Sometimes they slip on a sleeveless garment done in black, indicating formal attire. They used to be very particular about hairstyles, which numbered seven or eight different varieties. But this custom was suppressed under the Kuomintang regime before the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. Nowadays, simple hairstyle topped by a brocaded felt hat has become fashionable among Tu women.

Travel Express Vol.19: Travel in Xining, Qinghai

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