Trip Start May 01, 2010
90Trip End Apr 30, 2011
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Where I stayed
Deqin Tibet Hotel
Deqin itself is is an ugly, concrete town but we had come here to enjoy the mountain scenery
We were hungry after our long bus ride so found a little restaurant just up the road from our hotel where we enjoyed a big meal of stir-fried shitake mushrooms, tofu, and mangetout. The restaurants in Yunnan are great because although no one speaks English there is always a large, open refrigerated unit full of vegetables where you can simply point to what you want.
We woke the next day to cloudy skies which was disappointing as the mountains we had come to see were mostly hidden from us apart from a few quick peeks when the clouds parted for a brief second. We decided to hire a minibus to take us to the Mingyong Glacier, an hour's drive away. The drive took us down into the dramatic gorge of our old friend the Mekong, last seen in Cambodia, a very different river there to the fast-flowing torrent here. After crossing the river we passed through small hamlets of Tibetan style houses surrounded by vineyards, whose juicy wine we have been drinking! We then drove through the village of Mngyong to the foot of the valley which leads to the glacier, where our driver waited for us.
Our guide book made no mention of how tough the walk would be so we were surprised to discover that it was really hard going, climbing steeply for a good hour and a half
That night we were tired from the day's exertions and went to bed early only to be woken a few hours later by the hotel owners and their friends having a bit of a gathering in the courtyard directly beneath our room. We asked them several times to be quiet, at first calmly and then angrily but it made no difference and we eventually fell asleep at some point in the early hours.
The return journey back to Shangri-La started off well. We were sat next to each other this time and Tom didn't have the fold out seat in the doorway! However, the second half of the journey was a series of frustrating traffic jams due to the road construction. Then we got a flat tyre so had to wait some time while this was fixed
Back in Shangri-La, we walked past a hairdressers and decided to save some money by both getting our hair cut here rather than back in the UK (it cost us £1 each!). I went first and was rather alarmed when she started manically hacking away at my locks, taking off quite a bit more that I had asked for and doing it in a layered style which I also hadn't asked for. She had finished the whole thing in about 5 minutes! Luckily, it actually looked ok so I was pleased. Then it was Tom's turn. He now has a grade one up the sides and only a bit left on top after we gestured urgently not to take it all off! He is rather embarrased by his new look and refuses to remove his hat in public!
That night, remembering from our experiences with the karaoke bar next door to the last place we stayed in Shangri-La, we checked into a different guesthouse
From here, we head back south to warmer climes and the rural village of Shaxi where we will spend a few days.