[ Sept.1996 ] We had a day trip to Tienchi (Heavenly Lake) by bus from Urumchi, a big city in Xinjiang in China.
While we were waiting for the bus at the North Gate of People’s Park in Urumchi, we had a breakfast of small steamed meat buns.
I tried first three and as they were so delicious, I had another two.
5 buns cost 2 yuan ($1=8.28 yuan in those days).
Tienchi was a national park and we had to pay the entrance fee.
It was 30 yuan, though our guidebooks said 5 yuan.
One of the tourists told us that it jumped up only 4 days before.
The price hike was one thing but another difficulty was to buy the ticket.
Chinese people do not queue and in front of the ticket window, everyone scrambled seriously.
Maybe because the population in China is huge, they always had to fight to get whatever they wanted since they were children?
After a short walk from the entrance, we could see the lake.
The weather was perfect and the view was stunning.
This lake apparently is a glacial lake and the colour of the water was deep green mixed with a little bit of white.
It was surrounded by the deep green conifer forest and beyond that there were mountains in purple colour.
And we could see the white top of Bogda Shan mountain whose peak was apparently 5445 metres, too, which was making a great colour contrast with the bluest sky.
It was much cooler than in Urumchi, so I was happy that I was wearing a jumper.
I rode on a horse which was waiting for tourists (20 yuan).
It went around only for a short while which was disappointing, but the view was even nicer from the higher position.
After that, because a man who appeared to be nice approached us and invited us for lunch at his Yurt, we followed him.
Yurt is the portable round house for nomad people and I saw a few of them before arriving Tienchi from the bus.
People who could be Kazakh were taking care of sheep or riding horses around the Yurt.
The ones in the national park were maybe for tourists, but it was obvious that they were living in the Yurt.
When we entered, a young woman served a drink which seemed a mixture of sheep milk with tea and a lot of bread.
A half of the bread were fried and they were nice and soft.
The man asked if we wanted Kebabs, so we had 10 skewers.
Also they asked if we wanted a bottle of beer and when we said yes, he opened the cap of the bottle by his teeth!
The frame of the Yurt was made of red wood and they were covered by the thick felt.
The gate was wooden.
And the strap to fix the felt was some woven cloth which looked like a Kilim.
The half of the space inside was earth floor and the rest was covered by felt and we took off our shoes to step on it.
In the centre there was a heater with a chimney and all their household goods were surrounding the space.
The cost of this visit with foods was 70 yuan, which was more than I had expected.
We should have asked and negotiated the price beforehand.
It was an interesting experience anyway, but I felt that for the people here the tourists were mere money trees, so it was not the warm genuine welcome like the one we experienced in Shilin.