Horse trekking in Langmusi

Trip Start Jul 17, 2009
Trip End Sep 01, 2009

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Where I stayed
Langmusi hotel

Flag of China  , Gansu,
Thursday, July 23, 2009

Well, we've had no luck with the nomads. They are apparently still at war with each other, so that has been written off. How very rude!

However, in the Nomad bar last night, we met a Chinese girl who had gone horse trekking that same day - sans nomad guide! She said she would speak to the organiser of trip on our behalf, as they speak no English, and that we should be able to do our horse trekking through the nomad area, but without actually spending the night with the nomads. This actually sounded pretty good to us, as it is ball freezing out there at night and they eat crazy food. So this, we thought, was the best of both worlds. We get to see everything without having to be cold or eat weird food.

After drinking copious amounts of Baileys and Absolute vodka in the bar, we made friends with the owner of the hostel/bar, then got a bit wily with a marker pen and drew all over the bar in the hostel. The Chinese LOVED this, so we used it as an opportunity to teach them English 'through art'. The owner then put the Chinese character next to whatever we were drawing for easier translation. We basked in our glory.

Back in our own hostel, we attempted to get an earlyish night, but once again the incredibly noisy Chinese stomped and shouted until gone midnight and then were up at 6.30am. They are like tourist machines! I even marched down the corridor to SHHHHHHHHH them face to face, but it didn't make a great deal of difference. I am slowly going over the edge through lack of sleep.

Our hotel is 12 per night, which is quite expensive for western China. It is cold and damp. Our shower is basically a hose, but at least we can get hot water between 7-11 am and pm. So that's a plus. There is no shower cubical, it is like a really crap dated wet room. The water fills up on the floor to about 3inches because the drain is blocked. We would move hotels, but it is too much effort. The lady who runs it is nice and it is fairly clean, except for the blood on the bedsheets...

This morning, we met the horse guy at 10am and he walked us a little way out of the town to meet the Tibetan people who would be taking us horse trekking. The weather, for the first time since we arrived, was gorgeous and hot all day: blue skies, 30 degrees. We couldn't have asked for more. We had a horse each, led by a Tibetan lady and her son and we rode around the Sanke Grasslands for about 5 hours, taking in the amazing scenery. I had never been on a horse before and it was absolutely brilliant, although a little sore after 5 hours! The horses were treated really well and were well fed, not skinny, no sores and seemed happy. I refused to go to Songpan, further south, because I had read that the horses wee badly treated. Not so in Langmusi.

Wr rode over hill after hill, at the amazingly high altitide, with nothing in sight except the odd nomad village. The air was crisp and fresh and it was practically silent except for the sounds of the horses. It remained beautifully clear and warm all day and we just took in the scenery and thought about how lucky we were to be there, where hardly any westerners have ever been. It was very calming and an incredible experience. Who goes horse riding with legitimate Tibetan noamds these days?

We are finding it a little difficult to sit down now after the ride, but it was worth it. Afterwards, we made friends with some Chinese girls who ran a little restaurant in Langmusi - I ordered beef and tomato stew, which turned out to be the best food I have had in China so far. And then we wrote all over their walls too! The Chinese seem to love graffiti and especially crap drawings by English people. The walls were pretty much untouched and freshly painted in white... not for long though!

Langmusi is a great little town and we have really loved our time here. It feels like we've been here ages, even though it's only been about 2.5 days. We've seen a lot of the surrounding scenery and spoke to a lot of locals, as well as being stalked by many. The only thing that freaks me out is that there are skinned animals everywhere. A recently gutted fox skin or dead animal lying on the floor here, a sheep's head in a washing up bowl there. I practically have to walk around with my eyes shut. But that is their way and I am in their environment, so I try to just not think about it... as grim as I may find it.

We are staying here in Langmusi one more night and then getting a taxi to Jiuzhaigou, which is south east. We will stay there for 2 days to visit the nature reserve and then head south to Chengdu, which is the city where the pandas are!

Thanks muchly to all those who have got in touch, it's great to hear from you xxx There are virtually no other westerners in any location we have been and where there are the odd one or 2, they aren't very friendly - so compared to our last travelling experience it has really been very isolating. In addition, China have also censored the majority of the websites we would use for communication, since the 10th July Tiananmen issue, so we are really having trouble keeping in touch. I also think some general emails to me have been blocked, so it seems that only comments through my blog get through. Although knowing my luck, that will get blocked too soon! Bloody Chinese.

Just having another Baileys as I sit here writing thisn in the 'Nomad Youth Hostel' where we were last night. Lizzie is on the terminally slow computer they have, which keeps crashing, so I am grateful for wifi and having my laptop with me. Small comforts.

Speak soon x

PS - more photos added to Xiahe Labrang blog and previous Langmusi blog.
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megan_bm on

Hiya Girls.! (Hi Dani, i'm one of lizzies friends, thought id better introduce myself lol.!)

Sooo glad to see your having a good time.! I've just spent nearly an hour reading all the blogs.! Sounds fantastic (Dani, you should be a travel writer.!)

Glad your keeping well.! I've got to jet off to work now (booo) but will keep popping on here for updates.!!

Stay safe.!

Megan xxxxxx

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