Left the Eastwood Inn for the last time at about 6:30 am. Said goodbye to 迷你我 (mini woo) the resident kitten and he was sad to see me go. Walked over to the Yongningmen Subway stop and went to Xi'an North Railway station.
The train to Tianshui took about 2 hours. I exited to the normal confusion of trying to find the bus to the Maijishan Grottoes. I couldn't find bus 34 because I think it leaves from the regular train station. I asked the bus people how to get to the grottoes but they gave me a long answer so I assumed it wasn't one direct bus.
I went over to the taxi line and negotiated with a few of them. I drew a big crowd as usual. I got one guy down to 200 CNY round-trip because the grottoes are about an hour away and he would have to wait for me.
We took off and he started regretting his decision so he bailed on the return trip. I told him that it was no problem and I could take the bus back. Of course he wanted the whole 200 but I yelled at him a little and gave him 100.
There was massive road construction and it was chaos for about half way. Everybody passing on both sides and playing chicken with the big trucks, business as usual.
The Maijishan Grottoes were pretty good. My favorite grotto place is still the first one that I went to, Yungang Grottoes near Datong. These were still pretty good and photogenic. I was able to leave my big backpack at "left luggage" while I toured the grottoes.
To get back to Tianshui I asked a teenage couple about the bus and the girl went on a mission to find out how to get me back to the bus station. They even missed their first bus to make sure I got on the right bus and confirmed it with the driver when he finally showed up. I just show people my train ticket so they can see where I'm trying to go.
The bus finally left and getting back to Tianshui was a challenge because the traffic had become stop and go. The bus went right to the Tianshui South Train Station and I killed an hour at KFC before my train left. I love the fast trains.
Got to Lanzhou at about 7 pm and found that bus #31 goes downtown to the start of the Pedestrian Street. I got off there and took a motorcycle rickshaw taxi to the hotel for 10 CNY. I could have hiked in but it was getting late and I didn't want the hotel to give away my room.
The Ibis is very comfortable and right in the middle of everything. I had some Dim Sum right next door in a tiny little food place. The weather seems a lot cooler in Lanzhou than in Xi'an.