I have driven a fair bit in India and seen quite a bit of the Indian countryside, the life of farmers, their ways of life etc. And when we drove through the Chinese countryside I was amazed at how many of these images resembled those back home. There were a few differences too and I had a happy time comparing the two. Sharing my own impressions on the rural Chinese landscape via a short photo essay below :).
Traveling within Yunnan, for different reasons, was full of surprises as well as misadventures and our arrival in Lijiang was no different. We stayed in the old town of Lijiang where cars are not allowed on its narrow lanes. Per the email from our B&B, we had to reach the entrance to the old town and then they were going to come and pick us up. We reached the entrance and promptly informed our hosts to come for us. But for some reason, maybe a language hassle or they were busy with something, they just wouldn’t come. We waited on the main road for almost an hour and called them multiple times and moved from one spot to the other, because we were occupying the spots of the local fruit-sellers or hindering their sale. After an hour of waiting, a local police woman came to our rescue and spoke with our B&B people. Though I didn’t understand a word but whatever she did was pretty effective. Immediately after the call our hosts came for us and we took a small local bus that drove us inside a part of the old town and left us at another gate. From there we dragged our luggage on cobbled streets to finally reach our quaint wooden B&B. Despite the rocky start we had a good trip in Lijiang.
While researching for things to do around Lijiang; the most recommended item that I came across was a 2 day hiking trip around the Tiger Leaping Gorge. I had heard of gorges and tigers but was quite intrigued by this name as it kind of brought back images of the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and the gorgeous landscapes around which the movie had been shot. Further research yielded that the Tiger Leaping Gorge is actually a canyon and considered to be deepest gorge in the world on the Yangtze River. It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site and is divided into three sections – Upper, Middle and Lower Hutiao. It is called the Tiger Leaping Gorge as at one particular point of the river a tiger had leaped from one corner to the other to escape a hunter.
Before my recent trip to China, for some reason, I had a bunch of wrong notions and misconceptions about this country. In hindsight I feel that some were so random that I can’t even begin to fathom where did they originate from. But whatever my expectations or beliefs China proved me wrong on nearly all of them. Hence it’s not surprising that this holiday also doubled into a learning experience – that I term as China 101. I discovered many new facts, explored some different facets and met some of its amazing people. Some of these experiences / discoveries were amazing, some shocking and some downright disgusting.
Bidding goodbye to any year is never without mixed feelings. On one hand there is an excitement about planning for the new year anticipating new possibilities and potential opportunities. While on the other, there is a sadness like bidding goodbye to a good friend (time!), who has been a constant companion through the year, seen us through life’s ups and its downs, taken us to new shores, helped us grow another bit and discover that one other aspect about ourselves which we didn’t expect to find.
For our trip to Baishuitai in Yunnan region of China, we drove through some remote areas in the Shangri-La county. And during this drive, we saw some of the most gorgeous untouched mountainous landscapes and got a glimpse into the lives of local Naxi tribe that lives around these parts. And I am sharing more on them and their culture via a photo essay below-
Like India, China too has numerous ethnic groups and tribes. The Naxi tribe is an ethnic group that inhabits the northwestern part of Yunnan Province and the southwestern part of Sichuan Province in China. Originally from the nomadic clan of Qing people in North Western China, they later migrated south toward Tibet and usually live around fertile river land. In Yunnan they live around the Yangtze lands.
Today as I sat down to write a post I was looking for peace. Repair work at home has made the last two days full of crash, bang and vroom… and amongst this din of noises I couldn’t help but reminisce the peaceful time I had recently spent in China driving along the Yangtze (in the Yunnan region) and witnessing some of its many moves and moods.