Sunday, 28 April 2013

Observations and thoughts from the mountain roads, Kangding to GanZi

What has surprised me:

- Buddhist monks seem unhindered by their red and orange robes, and look
perfectly at ease doubling on motorbikes on the fast, plateau roads.
- Yaks have taken inspiration from their near Indian bovine neighbours, to
assume an elevated and stately position in their world. They unhurriedly
wander, stand and lie in unhurried serenity on the roads, be they state highways
or town mains.
- There is a feeling akin to the American Wild West in some of these western
Chinese (Tibetan) towns. Is it the bumpy main streets of concrete and mud,
the tall fronted buildings close to the street, the long hair, hats and vests of the
men, or the barren land that surrounds them? Or is it simply our own feeling of
isolation and foreign-ness that give me these vibes?
- That our faces would change colour so quickly, adopting the local red, weather-
beaten cheeks within barely a day.
- That a greeting can be said with such consistent warmth and feeling as “Tashi
Daleeeee!” is, as it is called out by all we meet or pass by through our days.
- That the food would be so good! Steamed buns, pork, vegies and rice, big
soups… And that Ollie’s favourite food ever would be commonplace here, the
wee round tasty protein balls: boiled eggs!!
- That we could comfortably ride in shorts and T-shirts at 3800metres (when the
sun is out!).
- That road works are not always done in small sections, like we find in NZ. It’s
never one street, but all the streets in a town at once. It’s not a section of the
National Highway, but nearly the whole 90km from Luhuo to GanZi, dug up
and stripped back to rugged rocks and dust, worked on by disparate groups of
workers dotted along its length.
- That the smaller the town, the easier it seems to find what we need. People
there seem to naturally understand that we want food and shelter, and they are
helpful in giving what they can, and adjusting to our stunted communication
style of charades augmented by odd, badly pronounced words. In the cities and
big towns, amongst so many options and so little obvious vulnerability on our
part, we struggle to order a bowl of rice.


Valley towards Longdeng

Hail shower welcomes us to the barren highlands

Our friends, heading out for dinner,  XinDuQiao

Tibetan country. Stunning houses

Tagong and Mt Yala

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