The Great Chinese Adventure Continues.....
17.02.2007 9 °C
We are well and truly into our trip now, and China continues to amaze, baffle, and impress. I am writing from the World Heritage listed old town of Lijiang in northern Yunnan province. We also visited Dali, another old walled town in Yunnan. UNESCO acreditted Lijiang with a World Heritage Listing in 1997, but unfortunately the Chinese version of preservation and good tourism involves turning a place into a theme park. A bit tough to feel like you're on an epic adventure when every shop in town sells either t-shirts, combs, fireworks, burnt cds or any of the other tacky cliche crap. Fortunately, if you can see past that stuff or find some hidden alleyways it can feel a bit more like the real thing. The towns themselves are at the base of some pretty speccy mountains, which always impress.
Old laidies with their baskets in Lijiang
A gate in Dali's Old Town. Awarded photo count: 1-1 Will v. Kempton.
We've also been spotting a few Ewoks here.
Still on the lookout for a Thommo sized Ewok outfit.
The locals call this area of Yunnan the end of the Himalayas, and we have been doing alot of walking, climbing and riding up some shmassive mountains. We met a local guy, Richard (Dick), several days ago while eating breakfast who wanted to take us up the mountain to 5000m. Dick turned out to be full of crap, but we are pretty certain that we got beyond 4000m.
This is Richard pointing to Snow Mountain, which initially he had told us we were climbing. At this stage, apparently we were at the same altitude as Everest base camp. Perhaps not, Dick?
We took a shabby little van to a village half way up the mountain, then got on pack horses to about 3200m, and then walked for a bloody long way into and above the snowline for some pretty impressive vistas.
Kempo on his old grey mare.
Even more impressive was the Tiger Leaping Gorge. This was probably one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It is the third deepest gorge in the world, and rises 3900m from the frothy Yangzi river below to the 5000- 5900m monster mountains above. The trek lasted two days, and we were hiking at between 2000m- 2700m about halfway up. At times we were perched on sheer cliff faces way way up. I haven't been able to come up with superlatives to explain the walk, and given Chinese computers, I'm not sure that I'll be able to get any photos to you guys either. Fingers crossed I find a good computer somewhere. Until then:
We have been celebrating Chinese New Year with the locals, and as of the 18th, it is now year of the pig. I'm not sure if this is how they do it every year, but they seem to be celebrating by enjoying eating heaps of them.
Chinese kids/ babies win hands down as the cutest on Earth.
For you Moof. This guy cooked us some great noodles. Showing Kempo how its done.
Gotta love Chinese road signs.
Kenny wouldn't know what to do with the poo bats you cop in China. We have seen the worst (seriously) toilets in the world here. But this one must be one of the best. Little tv screens, cigarette ash trays, but no toilet paper. Got the priorities sorted there...
We took in some local culture in the form of Classical Chinese music in Lijiang. Think of senile old men banging pots with cats screetching in the background, completely out of tune and you're close. They looked pretty cool though...
Will try to get the gorge trek photos up asap. Until then hope you're all great.
Will and Matt