Xiahe in upland Gansu - a precious moment of travel
Looking at an evening satellite image of China, it was apparent from the urban lights how relatively little human settlement there is in the country's northwest compared to the densely populated eastern areas. A consequence, of course, is much clearer skies with excellent visibility. This was certainly my impression while staying at Hezuo, the capital of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu, in September 1997. During the afternoon, I had been sitting on top of a grassy hill viewing the extensive grassy plateau that surrounded me. In the evening I looked from the roof of my guesthouse at a sky literally filled with shining stars. The air was so clean and fresh that I felt it was a pity to leave after only a short stay, but more experiences awaited me.