Sep 30, 2006
Jan 16, 2010
Another 4 hour drive brings us up steep roads that make us believe we really are intrepid travellers, but reward us with incredible views. Miles and miles of open countryside, with only low grassy vegetation, make for sweeping vistas. We travel for miles without seeing trees or water, when finally we come to the Yellow River, which on this day is a refreshing, deep blue contrasting against panoramas of wheat colored grasslands. We were privileged to stay in a traditional nomadic home, where two Tibetan women hosted us for the night and fed us a delicious noodle stew (with yak if desired) and sang us traditional songs they would normally sing while out working on the fields. Our hosts slept outside in about 30 degree weather to make room for us. I watched in amazement as they picked up yak dung to dry as fuel for the stove, brought the yaks in for the night, made sampa and noodles for us and sliced potatoes with a meat cleaver. These women invented the words self-reliant!! After the incredible hike up the mountain ridge behind the Dacanglamu saichi Monastery the day before, where the clouds finally cleared and revealed a mesmerizingly blue sky over prayer ribbons and flags, this homestay was another remarkable experience. Waking up to the sun rising over the Tibetan plateau, the yaks running out to the plains after a night's rest, the adorable but intimidating Tibetan mastiffs guarding their herds, seeing the mist on the water - just a fantastic start to a new day. To think that these two ladies, the mother 67 years of age, worked on this farm day after day with no running water, in only a two room rustic house, was humbling. And the winter has only just started. After eating the best eggs ever that morning, we set off to visit the giant pandas in Chengdu.