Xiahe - feels like I'm back home!
Trip Start Oct 18, 2006
117Trip End ??? ??, 2008
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The temperature is a bit cold for jandals and a light sweater, so I kept up a good pace while exploring the very interesting mud-walled villages
Xiahe is pretty amazing - the prayer wheels surround the village, they are kept squeakily turning all day by the locals who walk by, turning each one as they walk by. At certain times of day, there is a pilgrimage around the village walls, where interesting people of all sorts can be met on the way. From young toddlers carted by their bundled up mothers, to smartly dressed maroon robed monks, to old hunchback ladies hobbling along painfully with their crooked canes and legs, one wonders at the numbers and diversity of these interesting folks. I'm sure I can be forgiven for sitting and watching passerby; the staring I receive as a tall white gwelio seems along the same lines of curiosity. Even the design of the enclosed-courtyard mud dwellings, small walking-streets, and the ornate temples were worthy of much attention.
Now, attempting to get onto the internet here proved a challenge, not because there is no access, but because it is so limited by the government. Locals coming to a Tibetan village are likely to be interested in certain information, and the government does its best to prevent that transmission from happening. The great firewall of China is alive and well. Even when the power was on, the water was flowing, and the computers not having brownouts every half hour, I had no end to frustration in trying hook up to the net, and I've used dial up for most of my life, so that's saying something
Despite my western mindset getting in the way with my demanding my rights in a foreign country, I got over myself pretty quickly. I went for a walk up one of the small mountains which hug the town on all sides, checking out the large stacks of prayer flags ceremoniously but untidily dumped in various spots on the peaks of these steep hills. Tibetan culture shock 101. I like it, I think I'll come back when everyone forsakes me for home.