12 juin 2008

14. From Zongdian to Dali (21/05 - 11/06)

The past 20 days we have been travelling quite a lot on the small roads of Yunnan: Zhongdian, Benzilan, Deqing, Felai Si, Yubeng, Cizhong, Nuodeng, Shaxi.

We didnt meet so many tourists on our way but we met so many smiley and nice local people. We were walking quite a lot, sometime in a deep forest, on a dry hill path by Mekong river, on the road by Benzilan, in the snow to reach the sacred waterfall in Yubeng or to achieve the base camp of '91 expedition to Kawa Karpo... We had some very nice walks, sometimes challenging - from Felai Si to Yubeng we were walking down 1800m and then up 1700m in a hot day. Kids are incredibly strong and are walking quite fast, especially when they talk about their secret clubs, future house, animals to have there and they start to forget about the steep path and the strong sun. We still didn't succeed to overpass their physical resistance...

Magic view on Meili snow mountain (Kawa Karpo)

We suffered the heavy rain in the Tiger Leaping Gorge and couldn't appreciate so much the landscape there but we were rewarded a few days later by magic views on Kawa Kapro. This capricious mountain is still untouched and is one of the most famous in China. It is often wrapped in clouds. We were lucky to see the mountain in the bright sky at sunset and sunrise.

From Cizhong to Dimaluo

7 am: The backpacks are ready, we are just waking up the kids. We eat a big breakfast (fried rice with vegetables and eggs) and we go for a long walking day. 10-15 hours of walk? - we do not know exactly but for the first time we have a lot of food with us in case of an overnight up in the mountain. The day before Mr Liu drawed for us a nice and detailed map on a piece of paper to explain to us the way. The map seems ok but we do not know about the distance, difficulties and the time of walking to reach Dimaluo - 2 or 3 days. Mr Liu came with us to the bridge at the end of the village. After it is always up on the right side of the river. We met some people on our way carrying cables on the horses' backs for the future electrical network. When we pronounce the word Dimaluo they start to talk and look at us as if we are going to the moon. But we dint pay too much attention and continue our way up to reach the snow... 14.30h: We stopped for our 4th break of the day - a longer one for lunch and for a little rest before attacking the snow. Until now - no orientation mistakes, we are following the map of Mr Liu. After a short discussion with a cowboy we met on this meadow - he is a little scary and not very talkative but he pointed out the direction of the path to Dimaluo and we continue our way up. 15.30h: We encountered our first difficulties - the path is cut by an avalanche and is covered with snow and damaged trees. After a while we found another path on the other side of the river and we continued our way. We lost the path again and continued in the forest looking for it: the path seemed now to be on the other side of the river. We had to cross a bridge of snow... we were not so confident - the river under the bridge of snow is quite strong and scary - and it was anyway too late for today. We had to walk back to the meadow one hour below to sleep there and to try to reach the path next morning. We arrived there at dusk - it was cold in this valley with noisy and fast river. Damien asked the man if we can sleep in one of the huts and he confirmed by shaking his head. His face stayed cold, without any expression on it, busy with the life of the cows around him. We entered his hut, made from wooden trunks with holes in between. The wind was freely going in and out but in the middle there was a big fire, making the inside cozy and warm. From the ceiling was hanging the dried skin of an animal - wild goat probably. Later the man showed us his dried head - it was like a goat but with small horns and two long teeth going out of his mouth... When we were leaving the man showed us with his hand to come back to him again. He looked sad, we were waving to him while walking away. He was standing alone in front of the hut with his used clothes, his little dog, his cows, his noisy river - so alone and so far from the other noisy and fast world.The cowboy was not more talkative than in the afternoon but he invited us in his hut for a brewage made of yak butter and water, a dinner together and finally he proposed us to sleep there with him. We couldn't refuse - we were at more than 3000m, we had no sleeping bags and we were quite happy to sleep in a not too cold hut. We didn't sleep so well this night. We were sleeping on a few planks of wood, Nina huddled up with the kids and Damien blocked next to the fire. Nina was very cold, a refreshing wind was entering into the hut. Damien woke up a few times with the feeling that the hut was on fire - the man was putting wood in the fire from time to time and it was so hot for a while. We spent the night sometime burning when the fire was activated or freezing when the cold wind was coming again. We were happy when the day was finally rising, It was the end of a strange and a tiring night. By the way kids slept quite well...like usually. We had a breakfast together with the man. He finally explained us that the slope on the other side of the mountain, which we were supposed to pass, was very steep and slippery. The weather was also not so clear and it started to rain. We decided to go back to Cizhong. One hour later we were on the way back to Cizhong. We thanked to our shepherd. He looked scary at first but in fact he was very nice and he looked quite sad when we were leaving. It took us 4 hours of walk downhill to go back to Cizhong. On the way back we had time to chew over our disappointment - we failed but maybe it was more reasonable and safe like that.

Yesterday we went back to Wu Wei Si to say hello to the Master and to the kids of the temple - and to Luling . We had also to confirm that we are still alive. Nina's family called the Bulgarian Embassy in Beijing after the Sichuan earthquake. The local police in Dali was looking for us during 10 days and everybody in Dali seems to be aware of this story.

Tomorrow we are leaving Dali, taking the bus to Kunming, a night flight to Bangkok, and after a night in the transit zone, we will catch the morning flight to Yangon for our last month in Asia. We will be back in Bangkok on 10th of July and we certainly will not have access to Internet in between. We spent more than 2 months in China, it is time now to leave. We did not go to Tibet, to west Sichuan, to Dimaluo... but we visited some beautiful villages. We had very nice time in Yunnan. For sure we will come back to visit again Shitoucheng, Shaxi, Nuodeng, Cizhong, Yubeng...

a few words after 10weeks in China: Discussing with foreigners living here since a few years we got some information about the activities of the Chinese government, their repression in Tibet but also in west Sichuan, with the images passing all day long on TV about the tragedy of the earthquake, about the Olympics in Beijing. We are quite disgusted by the propaganda of the media and the government, about the methods used to create strong nationalism feeling in China. But our everyday life during these 2 months in Yunnan was far away from the hypocrisy of Beijing and the busy life and polluted air of the east coast. terraced rice fields everywhere, everywhere at steep hills, bended people working on them; golden wheat fields in the bottom of mountainous hills; people spitting everywhere - in the bus, on the floor, in the courtyard; high snow capped mountains - quiet and untouched; deep river gorges surrounded by dry, grey, stony, steep hills; cars and buses beep-beeping constantly through their way; smoking people everywhere - in the bus, in Internet cafe, always offering you cigarette; big pots with hot water everywhere; drinking strong tea at any time; women carrying babies on their back; Mao Zedong portraits on the walls of houses in small villages; people coming by horse to the Sunday market; retired people practicing Tai-chi in the park or playing table tennis, or dancing with scarfs and flowers; fried rice and noodle soup; women working at the fields; old men gathering in the temples, eating and drinking together and inviting you strongly...

Posté par ninadam à 01:15 - - Commentaires [6] - Permalien [#]

Commentaires sur 14. From Zongdian to Dali (21/05 - 11/06)

    Ici la cote Est, la vraie!

    Content que la sagesse l'est emportee sur votre fierte dans votre conquete de la montagne. Est-ce le resultat de ces heures de pratique au temple?

    Bon vent dans la derniere ligne droite de votre periple.

    Bise virtuelle en attendant de vous voir.

    Posté par Etienne, 13 juin 2008 à 20:39 | | Répondre
  • c est ou yangon

    where is yangon? what will you do there?
    photos are beautiful, and your story seems great!!
    bisous et a bientot

    Posté par cecile+yann, 14 juin 2008 à 14:16 | | Répondre
  • so many beautiful photos,
    next time you can not stay visiting us just one night, it will be too short to show and explain what you have seen.

    Funny when you compare kids' photos between your homepage and the last ones ...


    Posté par les guillemouche, 14 juin 2008 à 18:13 | | Répondre
  • Euh

    Y a pas moyens deux corrigees m'a manifique doubble fote d'ortografe?

    La prochaine fois je fais dans l'english, plus facile et en plus il y a l'excuse d'une langue etrangere.

    La bise

    Posté par Etienne, 18 juin 2008 à 19:28 | | Répondre
  • Electricité statique

    Je n'ai pas encore lu le récit mais déjà j'adore les photos.

    Surtout "working in the fields" et "no comment" (surtout pour l'effet élec statique).

    Grosses bises

    Vivement qu'on voit vos tronches !

    Posté par Chups, 20 juin 2008 à 23:25 | | Répondre
  • People, people!

    Ninush and Damien,

    You are sending all the National Geographic photographers to eat pastries with your photos!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    Unbelievable, magical, transcendent!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm in for your next visit to China and Burma

    Really nice hairdo, Ninush : )



    Posté par vlady, 23 juin 2008 à 04:38 | | Répondre
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