A breath of fresh air...and the clearest water

Trip Start Nov 09, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  ,
Sunday, August 6, 2006

We took a long bus journey into the mountains (12 hours, it's really nothing to me any more, considering the missions i have been on) to jiuzhaigou, China's most famous scenic reserve, a gully in the foothills of the himalayas with breathtaking lakes and mountains - they really have to be seen to be believed, i'd seen photos before we got there, but the water there is incredible, the brightest blues and green and so clean and crystal clear, and freezing!

Like everywhere in china it's been slightly spoiled by mass tourism. there's a huge resort with a milion coaches, and at 5 am every morning every one was making an incredible amount of noise in the hotel, (why can't chinese people communicate without shouting) but by seven the resort was a ghost town...until you get to the entrance of the reserve where a sea of people congregate to take a bus which drives the length of the reserve (about 150 km) so they can see all the sights of natural beauty without having to leave their air conditioned haven.

at the entrance we were handed our tickets, and on more than one occasion were told we had the wrong ones - we had to explain we wanted to walk, and all the staff were astounded - how can white people who can afford to take the bus, want to walk? They don't seem to appreciate that we came there to breath the fresh air and walk through the woods...so we had the luxury of taking the woodland path, which snakes around the lakes and waterfalls and pass tibetan style villages - although part of china, this is near tibet, and lots of tibetan people have created a community here. On the first day we walked for 12 hours, covering about 40 km. It was stunning, and boiling hot, by the end of the day we had resorted to dunking our heads in the ice cold river, and as we came back to the hotel we could barely move, our feet were so sore, and as we trudged along all the chinese looked at as like we were some kind of aliens...

Tried some yak, and ate in a tibetan tent, tnet was good, yak not so good, but a very useful creature - they make tents from it's hair, fire from the dried dung, milk cheese and butter, combs and hair clips from the horns, as well as trumpets and jewllery, also from the teeth, then they use the skins to keep warm in the bitter winters. If you're going to use and animal to live, that's the way to do it.
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virginiathorn on

SO lovely to hear your tails of far away. I enjoyed your email very much and have thought about you lots since. Been reading your travel entries in my breaks and they have been taking me to exotic places in my thoughts. I'll drop you a proper as soon as I have a second to think. Am excited you are coming home though, hope it's for long enough for us to get a chence to meet. love. x

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