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Back on our bus for another Silk road drive to Lanzhou. At every kilometer is a marker showing the distance to Beijing, which seems to be the center of the Chinese universe. The entire country runs on Beijing time, including the Westernmost reaches. We've been taking planes, trains, and buses across China, but most of our time has been in a bus - a great way to see the countryside. Gas is cheap. There's only one type of gas station, the government owned and operated PetroChina that sells gas for $1.60 per gallon (specifically, 40 cents per liter since China is on the metric system). Soon, China will join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and that will create significant change. For one thing, you may have a wider choice of goods and services in the interior. We haven't seen anything other than Chinese products since we left Pakistan. We're craving something Western - a Snickers bar would do nicely...
China's unique blend of new and old: the new highway cuts through the Great Wall as we pass a donkey cart on our modern, air-conditioned bus.
China is an equal opportunity employer - we see plenty of women, head and faces covered, performing back-breaking construction work.
An interesting concoction called "Muslim Tea" - just add dried dates, lychees, rock candy, and tea leaves to hot water.