Tanggula Mountains Town, located at over 4,500 meters above sea level, is an enclave of Golmud City, Qinghai Province, and known as the first town along the Yangtze River. A railway station of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is also built here. Prof. Xu and I came here to conduct fieldwork in anthropology, it was also my first experience as a student anthropologist in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, after the investigation of Jiuzhaigou valley two months ago. Besides, we also served as volunteers at the Ecological Protection Station of the Yangtze River Source for a few days.
I finally felt how magnificent the Yangtze River is, for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Highway are both built above the Tuotuo River and the sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. The train passes by the railway very slowly, forming a wonderful picture under the sunset.
It is very easy for a person to calculate the distance wrong by using eyes on the plateau due to its broader horizon. Fox example, I can see the herdsmen’s tent across the river clearly when I stood by the Tuotuo River, and I was under the illusion that the river was only two or three hundred meters wide. Then I prepared to fly the drone to the tent across the river. However, the drone, with a farthest distance of 500 meters, was hovering above the river and can’t fly further, and also alerted me with message “Maximum Distance Reached” on the iPad. Then I focused on the piers of the bridge that erected the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in the distance and it counted more than 30, so I estimated that the river was at least one kilometer wide. Tudan Danba told me that its width was almost one kilometer and five hundred meters later on. A river with such a wide may mean something unfortunate would happen. In the afternoon, a drone flew by a pilot from another team was out of control and crashed into the water straightly, disappearing immediately. We made a joke of the pilot that he would go to the Huangpu River in Shanghai to salvage his aircraft.
Then I took the aerial panorama of the town in a sunshine morning.