China West (03) by Yo NAGAYA
Driving further west from Xining, we headed for Ching Hai Lake located at an altitude of around 2,500m above sea level. Road condition was not so bad, except there were numerous road constructions where they dug huge holes for burying drain pipes for snow runoff. Every time we had to pass the site, one or both lanes were closed for a short detour. Since we were driving during the daytime, it was fine, but I would hate to imagine driving at night on these roads.
Although the winter at Ching Hai Plateau tortures residents with harsh weather, it becomes beautifully rush green pasture during the short summer such as this time of the year. Livestock were seen crossing the road here and there as we drove through the countryside. 18-wheelers seemed to be oblivious of those animals on the road and they plow into the pack although they slowed down a little. Miraculously the animals escaped injury, most of the time.
For the first time in my life, I saw “Hairy Cattle”. In Chinese, they are called “Mao (hair) New (cattle)”. As the name shows, they sport really long hair. English name is Yak, and if my memory serves well, globally famous lactobacillus beverage known as Yakurt has its origin in the fermented milk of this animal. Aside from Yak, the Tibetan cowboys drive sheep and goats with help from Tibetan dogs who are quite obedient to masters, but ferocious to others.
By some reason, most of the Chinese trucks are painted in this color. If this were a bull fight, these Yaks would crash into the trucks.
A Tibettan cowboy drives livestock across a road.