Saturday, September 17, 2016

Random Photos of Xiahe.

Tibetan Momos.  It's what was for lunch.  Can't go wrong with dumplings! :-)

The plan for lunch was to go Tibetan. Although there were plenty of Tibetan restaurants located right next to Labrang Monastery, Yim and Sal were leery because they didn't look all that clean. So, we ended up back on Zhaxiqi Street, walking past the place we had breakfast at this morning.

Oddly enough, the colorful soda cans and bottles fit in with the rest of the color scheme.

We passed a tiny eatery that looked very clean. It served up momos aka Tibetan style dumplings. We all agreed that momos would be good so we entered in. The man, whom I presumed was the owner, greeted us with a smile.

We took a table and with Yim and Sal at the ordering helm, we ordered up 12 momos.

While our momos were being steamed up, I stood on the other side of the small kitchen window and watched two women rolling out the dough wrappers and filling them with the beef mixture which was small cubes of beef, what looked to be small cubes of beef fat and some green onions.







Our momos were freshly steamed up so they came to the table piping hot!  First the photo op.


We only ordered up a plate of 12 momos to share.  They were good sized dumplings.


We all washed down the momos with small cups of tea.


The momos were delicious and just enough to satisfy the taste buds though I left the table still a bit hungry. 18 yuan for 12 momos.

Yim and Sal were determined to see the mountains that Xiahe is situated up against so continued to walk down Zhaxiqi Street which is basically one long commercial strip with at least one occasional table set out for Chinese checkers.



While the monks live inside Labrang Monastery, they shop on this street.  There were plenty of places serving up robes for monks and their ubiquitous boots.


I'm not about buying stuff but a bakery.....well, that's a welcome sight for me!   We stepped inside a Chinese bakery to find some very familiar looking pastries including the egg yolk puffs that I so love.  No, I didn't buy any.  I'm in a Tibetan town so I am going to focus on Tibetan foods while I'm here.




There are a lot of dumpling eateries here.  I've seen stacks of steamer baskets before - usually, you see stacks that are about 2-3 baskets high.  I doubt this stack contained dumplings being steamed - just a bunch of empty baskets stacked up high.


I am traveling with shoppers so we popped into a few stores along the way.  We kept walking and walking until it became obvious that we were not going to reach the mountains anytime soon.

I decided it would be far more interesting to walk down a side street so I convince the gals to take a different route back to the hotel.  We eventually arrived at the banks of the Daxia River which runs alongside the town.


Surprisingly enough, we've not been to any produce or spice markets yet on our trip.   It was nice to pass by this one dry goods store.  Lots of stuff I did not recognize.


Who needs a park bench when you can just sit in the back of your uber cute truck.




In this part of the world, noodles are typically hand pulled but we did pass by a noodle factory on our stroll through town.  It was interesting to see the collection of cutting dies.  The noodles looked good!


I had to take a photo of this bank of public toilets.  Very clean and tidy looking on the outside with modern Vacant/Occupied lights to tell you which stall was available.  Mal tested one out and came back with a partial thumbs up.  I guess looks can still be deceiving.  :-)

The Chinese really need to work on their marketing.  Either that or they really do mean to be boastful.


There wasn't anything open on The Most Beautiful Tibetan Style Commercial Street of China so we actually crossed over to the other side of the river.  Sharp nosed Yim detected the odor of something being fried.  Oh....she had already started pining for fried chicken and well, luck was on her side today.



Our noses led us to a small Western style fast food eatery that believe it or not, sold fried chicken.  The momos had most certainly not been enough to fill us up and while I was tantalized by the smell of fried foods, I actually didn't want any.



We took a small table and the gals snacked on their chicken.  Yim was in heaven.  Earlier, when we were at the bakery, she had bought a container of caramel popcorn.  That I did take a few small handfuls of.  I have a weakness for the stuff which explains why I don't buy it home.

Snack over, we continued our meandering and I took more random photos.  We're on the Han Chinese side of town.  Looks like any other small Chinese town.  In hindsight, we should have wandered in the Tibetan side of town.  Could've been more interesting.

This street deadends at the river.  Hang right at the river, walk a short distance and you'd be at our hotel.

Cheese??  Soft tofu??  Food is now popularly being sold in plastic containers which are so bad for the environment.

We did pass by a few small grocery shops.  There are not always a lot of options of what to buy but there can be quite a bit of variety available.  You can onlly get grapes and pears but you have some choice in what kind.  It's date season so plenty of that available pretty much everywhere.



The one thing I noticed about Xiahe, unlike Tibet, was that there was no strong odor of juniper incense being burned.  In fact, I only saw one incense burner and it was a small one.  If this was a town in Tibet, we'd been bumping into burners and large ones at that, every block!

Tibetan Buddhist incense burner.


Peeking down the small alleyways and seeing the more rundown parts of the neighborhood was a sight reminiscent of so many places where I've been to where the public (i.e., commercial strip) places are neat, tidy and beautiful but where people actually live are far more humble.  I guess you could say that's true of my own house.  Living room is immaculate but don't head into my home office! :-)



Xiahe is incredibly clean of trash and it's no wonder.  On our short walk, we must have passed by at least a handful of women who were busy sweeping streets and sidewalks. 


Interestingly enough, they weren't using the traditional twig broom but one fashioned from what looked like strips of plastic.  I wonder if this is how they repurpose plastic here.


Before arriving back at the hotel, the ladies decided to stop in for an afternoon break at the Norden Cafe.   Today, they didn't have the apple cake :-(


Looking bored and disinterested one minute.

Laughing the next thanks to the ever so hilarious Mal Mal.  I have given her a new nickname :-)

By the time we finished up at the cafe, it was time for an early dinner. Yim and Sal had spotted an appropriate place just two doors down. The four of us shared two small bowls of beef noodle soup. The thick, chewy noodles were shaped like small packets. The soup was slightly thick - almost like the consistency of a stew. 12 yuan for the two bowls.


After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. Mal and I relaxed and were joined later on by the other two who came bearing the bread we had bought earlier in the morning. The twiggy things had gotten a bit soggy but tasted like yau ja gwai. Mal said they would have been good with some Nutella. The fried braided thing, which looked like yau ja gwai tasted like yau ja gwai but it was really doughy. I think baking anything at this altitude is a challenge! The last thing was a round of bread topped with sugar. That thing was just dry and not very tasty at all. Sad to say, we pretty much tossed everything out.



I also worked on Mal's left ankle. Swollen. I massaged it. Painful for poor Mal. Then I boiled water, wet the hand towels with it and had Mal wrap it around her ankle. We did that four times and after that, her ankle was feeling much better. We do this again tomorrow.

Lights out. Tomorrow, we're doing a half day trip outside of Xiahe to see the Sangke grasslands. I hope the weather is nice as it's been more rainy on this trip than not.

Goodnight from Xiahe!