Lanzhou is located in Gansu Province in Northwest China, south of Inner Mongolia, west of Shaanxi province (where Xian of Terra Cotta Soldier fame is located), east of Xinjiang Province, and north of Szechuan Province (of spicey food fame). It has a very dry continental climate and frequent winds blow in sand and loess silt. (Visit in March 2008)

Lanzhou is located in the Yellow River (Huang He) Valley between Mountains which frequently have holes dug into the hillsides, where people lived in former times and stored materials. This statue on the south Bank is called Mother of the Yellow River. There are also these very interesting sheep-skinned rafts that can be rented for the ride along the river. Right across from river from this recreational area, the White Pagoda Mountain Park can be seen. One of the major parks in the city, Five-spring mountain park, actually does have springs flowing from the mountainside, with this bridge over the stream fed by one of the springs. This mountain park has a series of temples of varied sorts, Taoist and Buddhist. Soon after entering the park, there is a statue of Confucius, which relatively rare in modern Mainland China, compared to places such as Taiwan. There are beautifully ornamented walls and doorways such as this one which is a representation of Guan Yin's vase. The monastery lodgings for the monks also shows their day to day living with laundry hung in the temple courtyards. There are also a fantastic array of Tibetan Bells in one of the temples. The grounds are kept clean by a whole army of groundskeeper such as this one with king-kong sized pluckers.

The streets of Lanzhou were still decorated after celebrations from the Spring Festival (Chinese New Lunar) a month before. Some of the old buildings have very ornate door guardians . In the Dragon Park on the North side of the Yellow River, even the streetlights have dragon ornamentations. There is a large muslim minority in this city, and there are many mosques. Nestled among the city highrises, are still vestiges of ancient China, with this pagoda and drum at one of the museums.

Lanzhou University has a campus in downtown Lanzhou. This scene from 8am shows University Staff hard at play before a day's work. The building right behind them is lodgings for University Staff. Students also stay on campus, often in groups of four or six in a single room. These lodgings are subsidized by the University/Government, and current prices are less than RMB 1000 ($140) for a year. The student cafeterias cost about RMB 15 $2 per day. However, there is no hot running water in the dormitories, and electricity is turned off at 11pm (so obviously there is no airconditioning during the hot summer months).

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