May 11, 2017
In Amdo, everyone uses the Lan tou, or Blue Camel in Chinese. A blue three wheeler pickup truck, it has become the most popular form of transport in the pasture, on country roads, for small village merchants, for distant construction sites. It has taken the place of the yak for moving camp, for bringing supplies and transporting goods. It takes people to town, and is a popular means of setting up a pop up store. No one outside of Gansu understands when we say Lan tou, and they laugh when we point at the Blue Camel trudging along the road. They call it something else, and it may not even be blue.