Day 32: Military Horse Camp #1 (军马一场) – July 19

We headed back into the city of Zhangye, and found a European-themed coffeeshop with WiFi! Stuck around for a few hours drinking espresso and eating 煲仔饭as we couldn’t get our bus tickets yet. Strange note, the bus leaves at 1:00pm, but the ticket agents weren’t aware if any buses were available until 12:30pm? Fortunately for us the bus did come today, and we got this brand new spanking bus that had leather seats, and a working clock! Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been on 8 separate buses, and all of them were pretty dirty, run down. One common feature was that, they all had clocks at the front of the bus, but they all don’t work!

Fortunately, the bus was comfortable because the ride was ridiculously not. The distance from the bus station to the camp was only 166km, and we drove well over half of that in less than 2 hours. However, everything went bumpy after that and the remaining 80kms took well over 3hours! The road was so bumpy, people started throwing up in the bus….gross. Again, on the way into the camp we drove past some amazing scenery, rolling hills with herds of horses galloping around. We also saw the real life version of the “Windows” home screen!!

Ironically, the “windows” is dirty.

 Once we got into the camp, it was even more surprising as the “town” of the camp was extremely small, and looked like a shell of its former self. Background information, this place used to be China’s largest camp for horses in the 19th century, and there were tens of thousands of horses running around and a total of FOUR camps. Now, only camp 1 is open and a few thousand horses left, and not many people are around. Surprisingly, somehow the government built a hotel to accommodate guests of the camp, and was also ridiculously clean but cheap – and it has 24 hr hot water to shower (no kidding, that’s a luxury!!)!

I’ve heard some baaaad stories about horse riding (it involves the rider’s bum and the verb, smashing), but I really can’t wait for tomorrow to see for myself!!

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