When I left Xining to drive north, the day was greyish and visibility not all that good. After hours of driving, which was mostly up because Xining lies at "only" 2300m, the sky was still overcast and the colours of the houses I saw were not very noticeable. However, when we stopped somewhere to take fuel and I had a possibility to get out for a short walk, I was at once very amazed to see a family with very colourful clothes on the other side of the street. I followed them a little and took some pictures, because I had never seen similar people or clothes before.
However, when a few hours later we arrived in Mato (Tibetan) or Maduo in Chinese, it felt like walking into a movie set or a folkloric museum. I was very excited to see people in traditional clothes everywhere. They were riding fantastically decorated motorbikes, going shopping, having a chat on the pavement, or going out to a restaurant. They all wore winter clothes and especially the women seemed very well protected against the biting cold with their mouths covered. They all seemed friendly, smiling at the lonely traveller and some tried to communicatie in one way or another.
Quite soon, I was invited home by a young guy who was pretty fluent in English, and he could tell me more about his life in the village. Before I knew it, I was sipping Tibetan tea (the easier to digest milk tea), met his parents and some friends, and was showed his room. A great guy, and I was sorry he couldn't travel with me to tell me more about his native land. After travelling south - and I met more Amdo Tibetans during my trip there - I was again struck by the beauty of the Tibetans in Mato/Maduo. The weather was brighter, and especially in the late afternoon the colours of the people's dresses was strikingly awesome. When the moment came to leave for Xining again, I was not at all ready to go and had wanted to stay in this pleasant town with its beautiful inhabitants.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Amdo Tibetans (China). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Amdo Tibetans.
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