Climb every mountain

Trip Start Jun 13, 2011
Trip End Jun 30, 2011

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today is Saturday!  That means that we can sleep in and have a later breakfast!  I have been tired so some extra time to sleep is most welcome.  We were due to leave at 9:30 AM but a problem with the bus delayed us and we left at 10:30 AM.  Lisa and I went in the black car for this trip which was great since this car has air conditioning.  Sareen said that the weather was going to be really hot so I made sure to wear light clothing.  We left the villa and headed towards the mountains.  Today was a particularly beautiful day to see Snow Mountain since there was not a cloud near it.  The beautiful white top pierced the blue sky as we headed north.  As we headed out of town, the road got quieter and there were more and more people and animals in the road.  The winding twists and turns took us ever closer to the mountain range and soon we were headed up.  At some point along the road, the paving ended, and we were on a bumpy, rock-filled, dirt road.  It reminded me of a trip to Utah where I thought Jonathan was going to drive us off the edge of a cliff.  The bus that was drving the students broke down several times during the trip up and we had to stop and help them.  We traveled up switchbacks and curves to our final destination, the Naxi village.  Here, the Orphanage had built a replica home with donated land for their students of Naxi descent.  Humama and the children greeted  us with many welcomes and soon we were walking around the grounds. 

The house is currently being built as a place where these students can come and live back in their village once they are adults.  Another idea is to use this home as a teaching place for travelers and to have the Orphan children run the place as a guest house.  Right now the top floor is almost complete.  From this top room, Snow mountain can be clearly seen.  The room was furnished with a carpet floor (for sleeping) and a long table made from a stone tablet.  Downstairs several rooms are being constructed.  Also downstairs is a large kitchen area.

We spent some time looking at trees that were planted last year.  Plaques were at the base of many trees and the only name I recognized was Johanna's.  I think that the names of all our students from last years trip where there too, but I was unable to see them.  This area is being reforested in an effort to help erosion that has been a problem.  Mud slides in this area has caused a lot of damage and the buildings are so weak that any extra mud and water can be a real problem

After seeing the trees and touring the house we were interested in looking at the beautiful purple flowers in the valley near the winding stream.  The girls and the photographers spent a long time photographing this beautiful area.  Having the snow-capped peak if Snow Mountain as the backdrop was a truly breathtaking scene.  In the summer months, perennials are all around and the valley changes color from purple to yellow to pink.  The purple flowers were in bloom today.  Besides our being in thee area, there were some Chinese campers and several groups of brides photographing in the valley.  The water was clear and cool and I was able to see large tadpoles swimming in parts of the eater.  The people in this area trap and funnel the water for their own use.  I jumped over parts of the winding stream to get to the other side and we took pictures with some of the students coming to the US in October. 

After the pictures were taken, we headed back to the house for a traditional Naxi lunch.  We sat around an open pit of coals where bowls of cucumber, soy noodles, pork and tofu with vegetables was served over rice.  We were handed bowls of rice and then ate whatever we liked.  I especially liked the cooking pot for the Tofu and vegetables and was interested in how hot coals are inserted inside and under the food chamber.  I immediately thought that this would be a wonderful thing for our fire pit and asked Eve where I could get one.  She was so surprised that I was interested in this but maybe I will see it in town before I leave.  After we ate, we headed off to take a walk through the Naxi village.  We left the house and headed off on a small path through the meadow.  The man who served as our guide lived in the village now and had grown up in the orphanage.  We saw the rustic homes and the immense fields of wheat and potatoes that are grown in the area.  We came across a bride getting ready for her photo shoot in the back of her car and an old woman and her grandson cleaning wheat.  To say that this was remote us an understatement.  It was so interesting to see the many different parts and cultures of China.  After walking, our vehicles magically appeared at the end of town and we were were off.  We headed back to the villa over the same roads -- still bumpy, ruddy and dusty. 

Once we came back, I decided to take a nap and rest before dinner.  It was so nice to take a nap with the windows open.  There was plenty of sunshine and lots of cool, fresh breezes to rock me to sleep for several hours.  I woke up just before dinner which gave me enough time to change clothes and get ready to take a mini-shuttle over to the hotel restaurant.  The girls really seem to like eating here since there is plenty of food and lots of choice.  Today I saw sugar on a table which made several girls at my table quite happy.  At the end of dinner we all met Wang Bao Sheng, a reporter for the China News Service.  I thought that might have to speak to him about our trip but he spent the time talking to Mr. Wang and Humama. 

Lisa and I walked back to the villa to take in the beautiful grounds an the great weather.  I spent the rest of the night looking for my passport (which I did find) and uploading pictures.  It was a great day but I think that I'll go to bed on the early side since the schedule tomorrow says we'll be out from 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM.
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