Wo shi mei guo ren (I am American)

Monday, May 17, 2010

This morning I heard a call to prayer. My hotel room provides a prayer rug, slippers, and teapot container (for washing before praying).

– solo visit to Heavenly lake by way of tourist van outside of [People’s Park?]
– opportunity to observe Han Chinese interaction with ethnic minority (Kazakh) in tourist context…
– there are eight of us on the tour, plus the tour guide and the driver
– XieLi (Beatrice) is from Sichuan province, once worked as a tour guide herself, and speaks English
– stopped off at a place where we were given a pitch to buy herbal/homeopathic medicine, and then had lunch (incidentally, the tour guide had specifically told Dr. Z that we would be going directly to Heavenly Lake without stops)
– again detoured to a Kazahk community (yurts)…given milk tea, kebabs. A young man played the dombra and sang several songs. Two young women in ill-fitting Kazakh style dresses (you could clearly see jeans and tennis shoes underneath) danced to music tracks blaring from a tinny sound system. The performers invited people from the tour to get up and dance as well…I declined.
– outside, tourists try on Kazakh style clothing and take pictures of each other
– As I walk on the footpath alongside the lake, I hear booming coming from the far end. Using my binoculars, I see heavy equipment (bulldozers, dump trucks, etc.) moving around in the area that on Dr. Z’s map there should have been an easy stream crossing.


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