Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On the Road to... Datong

West of Beijing is a town called Datong. Last Sunday we decided to take a little road trip to see the giant Buddha statues just outside this city. I'll include some of the sightseeing pictures in a next blog post, but it might be interesting to get some idea of the scenery from our house to Datong.

Beijing -- in addition to being a city -- is actually also the name of the "prefecture," the land around the city itself.

(Unlike Washington D.C. where the "District of Columbia" is smaller than the city itself, the Beijing prefecture is much larger than the city, so you can drive for a while in the countryside and still be in Beijing.)

This picture just above is in the northwest of Beijing, close to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. See the Great Wall?

Driving in China means zigzagging between big trucks.

Another part of the Great Wall.

On the road to Datong - just to show you there isn't always an awful lot to see. It is always very dry here, but this time of year in particular. We crossed many dry rivers and the soil had huge cracks in it because of dryness and erosion.

Driving along.

Arriving in Datong, an industrial city with lots of coal mining. I can't complain too much about the pollution coming from this plant here, as it may very well be supplying the power for my home in Beijing. (And if not this one, another one is.)

My Chinese driver.

People shopping for fireworks and "baijiu" (rice wine) in Datong. It's just three days before the Chinese New Year.

A typical picture in China: Big buildings and lots of construction cranes. As usual, Datong turns out to be a much bigger city than I thought it would be.

The end of the road trip (for now): We arrive at the Yungang Grottos near Datong.

In het Nederlands: Eerder deze week hebben we een uitstapje gemaakt naar het stadje Datong, ten westen van Beijing. Onderweg kwamen we langs een deel van de Chinese Muur bij "Badaling". Dit is een van de meest druk bezochte stukken van de Muur. We zagen ook veel droge grond, uitgedroogde rivieren, en natuurlijk een steenkoolcentrale bij Datong, want Datong is een stadje met veel steenkoolmijnen. (De electriciteit in ons huis in Beijing komt wellicht van deze centrale.) Datong is -- zoals elke stad hier -- weer groter dan ik verwachtte. Overal zijn enorme flatgebouwen en je kan zien dat er nog veel meer gebouwd gaat worden. Aan het eind van de rit zijn we bij de Yungang grotten aangekomen waar we grote, bijzondere Buddha beelden gaan bekijken...

No comments:

Post a Comment