Monday, September 30, 2013

Danba 2

 The valley is lush and fruitful.

 Scattered all over are these beautiful and colorful houses.
 Pear trees are everywhere. There were a lot of walnut trees ans Sichuan peppercorns (something we didn't care for). The pears were sweet and delicious, we helped ourselves to some.
The flowers we have in our gardens, many of them, if not all, came from China. They grow wild all over China especially Rhododendrons and these pretty Japanese Anemones.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Danba 1

 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.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The way to Bamei

 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.
Then we were on our way to Danba...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Goodbye Tagong

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.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Evening in Tagong

 The sun is going down and on top of the ridge we see riders.

 We spend our evening oin the balcony of the Khampa restaurant looking down at the village square.
 In the center is a round patch of grass which we were told that on some nights a fire is lit and the locals would dance round it.
 We see the roof of the temple.
Dinner is a yak burger.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How do you travel?

 This is not the French Rivera or a Mexican beach. This is the backyard of a very humble guesthouse. It felt like a home stay and a very charming one.
 There's no Laundromat, we do our laundry in the shower or sink or in this case, in an outside trough.
 Hang the wet clothes to dry in the sun.
 Tibetan monks playing with their cell phones in the afternoon.
 The yard is overgrown, there's no landscaping services here.
We had a ball, even with no modern conveniences.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The three guesthouses in Tagong

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.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I love Tibetans

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.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lhagang (Tagong)

 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.