Danba is home to some of China's prettiest villages according to China Geographic Society. We went to one of them. Transportation to the villages is almost nonexistent. One has to hire a taxi to get there, wait and take you back. The owner of the hostel charged us 160 yuan to take us there, wait and to take us back. We arrived in the new city which is a dusty and grimey Chinese town with this river running through it.
Perched in the valley are the beautiful and unusual houses of the locals, a tribe of Tibetans. They farm the land and sell handicrafts.
There's a charge for entry and the positions are all staffed with Han Chinese. This was our guide, she's Han and not Tibetan. She's pretending to be Tibetan.
The drive was so beautiful, rolling green pastures, blue skies, white clouds. It was magnificent.
There was a spring whose water was supposed to bring blessings. The other occupants of the minivan wanted to stop which we did. They went to scoop up some water to cleanse their faces. We waited by the minivan.
I think there was iron in the dirt because I saw red streaks coming out of the spring water.
We went into the restaurant looking for the owner only to find her teaching her daughter to read from a Tibetan book. The little girl is like every kid, she's restless and fidgety. The Chinese government has schools but Tibetan is not taught anymore. So parents have the responsibility to teach their kids Tibetan or else the language will be forgotten.
All of us foreign backpackers were scattered among these three guesthouse, all are mentioned in Lonely Planet. I think all of us who were there used Lonely Planet. I still prefer Snowland where we stayed. We did spend a lot of time at Khampa at their restaurant.
The current Dalai Lama once asked, 'how is it that Westerners have so much but yet are the most dissatisfied?' Tibetans, those who still live in their original homeland are contented and happier. This is the 'Kham' area and during the Communist take over of Tibet, the Khampas put up the fiercest resistance. Hence they suffered the most. Here there seem no memory of the struggle. They go on their merry way, living and worshipping as they have done for centuries.
The Tibetan name for Tagong is Lhagang. Notice the 'lh' as in 'Lhagang' and Lhasa! Its very Tibetan. Cheese curds from yak milk are sold everywhere. When we ordered a cheese pancake, the owner of Snowland guesthouse had to go out to buy some cheese curds from one of these vendors.
We met another traveler from Israel.
We spent a day in Tagong doing nothing and enjoyed every minute.