At 8 in the morning, I went downstair to have breakfast at the hostel restaurant. But I opted for a dish of Taiwan rice instead of the buffet. I decided to stay inside for the whole morning because I’d get tired of waiting at the airport later.
I checked out of the hostel at noon, and got to the airport by metro. Because I was 1-hour early, I tool a stroll around the airport and took some pictures. It seemed to change a lot compared to the picture of 10 years ago in my memory.
I guessed Langmusi was the best place of my trip. I even preferred Langmusi to Danba, but there was no special place I’d like to return. Next time, I’d like to see more of China besides Sichuan.
Overall, I have traveled 1,756km on this Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture trip, sitting around 29 hours 22 minutes in a car or a bus. And according to Pedometer, I have walked 262,269 steps during these two weeks, rounding to 125km on feet fortnightly.
Continue ReadingNgawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 15: Chengdu To Hanoi
My company organized a 2-day trip to trek Ta Nang for managers. Despite advice to practice before the trip, I didn’t think it would be as hard a the hikes/treks I did in Kangding, Danba, or Garzê in 2009. Turned out I was wrong somehow.
The day before the trek, we finished our work early and left the office for the Tan Son Nhat airport. We flew to Lien Khuong Airport at Dalat and then checked in to the hotel.
The next morning, we started off quite late, and only after the farm truck arrived at a small house did we begin to really walk off the paved area, around 10AM. It was very sunny, but I didn’t feel any tired in the morning because we only walked through a meadow. We were taking a rest real soon, around 1PM. After siesta, I began to realize that we had to climb over some steep slopes. Only at those places was I slower than others.
We reached to the tents at Ta Nang top at 4PM. Too early. I learned that we walked just about 8km today. My thighs hurt a bit.
I had a really fun night with my colleagues. We had a warm dinner by the fire, then we sang the night away. Though I brought my own backpack all the way up to the top, I had to admire the health of porters who brought almost everything that we needed.
This was the first time I slept in a tent on a mountain. It was a good experience though.
We woke up early the next morning, and helped unload the tents before going down. Because we had to take the flight home in Lam Dong, we didn’t have a chance to continue but go back. The road was not too difficult but there were many turns. Unluckily, I saw no waterfall.
Still I had the fear of crossing a very tiny tree bridge over a stream.
We were present at the small house around 10. I really walked slowly on the way back to talk with some female colleagues my age. The best thing about this trip was to connect with other managers.
I guessed I’d have a good tan now after the trek, and sore legs for a few days ahead.
The top wasn’t as high (as in China), my health wasn’t as good as I had been 9 years ago, but I wanna trek more mountains after this tiring trip.
My new pair of trekking shoes were a bit damaged after the trek. I’d have to bring them to the seller to repair soon.
Check out the video of the trip done by the organizer team:
Looking back at the trip, it was my most memorable moment in this company. The previous company trip wasn’t as delighted.
I watched “Jumper” all over again. I watched the last part yesterday on TV. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I’ve let my freak flag fly. Actually, flying could metaphorically comes a poor second to “jumping.” I don’t wanna fly no more. No catapult, no gliding, no paragliding, not even hang gliding. I just wanna “jump.”
If there was life after death, I wouldn’t wanna be a bird no more. I would only wanna be a “jumper” so that I could say like David Rice, “Let me tell you about my day so far. Coffee in Paris, surfed the Maldives, took a little nap on Kilimanjaro. Oh, yeah, I got digits from this Polish chick in Rio. And then I jumped back for the final quarter of the NBA finals–courtside of course. And all that was before lunch. I could go on, but all I’m saying is, I’m standing on top of the world.”
I decided to take the red pill. Can somebody come show me how deep the rabbit hole goes, NOW?
My first jump would be to Danba. It would be great sitting waiting watching the sun setting in a watchtower. Arghhhhhhhhh, all the imagination about where I would go if I could teleport myself made the day more damning than ever.
We got up very early, packed up very fast. We shared a cab with an Asian guy, costing 3 yuans each. We were early for the bus so I had a light breakfast. The drive to Chengdu got us stuck in 2 traffic jams, one of which was caused by our bus driver. He hit a car and quarreled with them for about 1 hour. The we got stuck in another traffic jam spot somewhere near Ya’an where we had been stuck on the way to Kangding on day 3 (???).
We returned to Chengdu around 7 PM. Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel was all booked. Because we had no advance reservation, we went to the hotel next door called Angelica Hotel (安祺高酒店). The price here was cheaper, and I thought this was the best accommodation we had stayed in China so far.
We went to eat noodles and wonton dinner at the place Alex picked the last time because he liked the noodles here a lot. The weather was kinda hot so I didn’t enjoy my wonton much.
We counted money. Except for the camera, I only spent very little here. That was a surprise to me! But then think again, we ate little and I must have dropped some weights after this trip.
We’ll have breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant the next morning. Yahoo!
Last night I had the longest sleep ever. I didn’t wanna go out, but then to please Alex’s desire to walk more, we got out of the hotel at 9 AM and walked along the road out of town until we found a track. We met a Tibetan woman, later she gave Alex two oranges. And he gave me one. It must be the best orange in my life.
But unluckily, at noon, we couldn’t keep going forward anymore because the way was blocked by a lot of grass bushes. After trying in vain for another way to come up to the mountain, we gave up and gotta go back, also because of Alex’s allergy to pollens. We stopped under a big tree to rest and wait for the sun to go down a bit. But we only sat there for 1 hour or so because the clouds seemed to be afraid of the sun, too. While sitting on a rock, I was thinking I wouldn’t wanna leave Danba, and Danba was the most beautiful place on earth.
While walking back to the hotel, there was a guy in a car signaled if I wanted a ride, but I rejected. We reached the hotel at around 3:15 PM. Then I took my shower while Alex was searching for peanuts. I liked the shower I had today. I feared the coldness no more.
I was waiting for the round moon, but it hid behind the mountain. I could only saw it a bit on the way back to the hotel.
I so loved life here. Danba had everything: mountains and rivers, trees and grass, downtown and countryside, sunny and rainy days, cloudy and starry nights, lovely and friendly Chinese Han and Tibetan people, the food, the dancing on the road in the evenings, stores of all kinds, and especially, the roads that glitter every step I take.
I shed few teardrops when I thought tomorrow I would have to leave these beautiful sights. The only thing that Danba didn’t have was Facebook.
I hardly slept so I got up early. I rushed Alex to pack things up because we had to walk to the bus station.
The bus looked like a truck with so many things on the floor, blocking the isle. The music on the bus was too loud. Also, the driver used too much of the horn. Anyway, I didn’t feel like I would get a fever again. Hope my tonsils won’t hurt me again, either.
At the bus station, we realized that there would be no bus back to Chengdu tomorrow. Thanks to another Chinese girl who spoke English, we could book the bus ticket for the 6:30 AM bus the day after tomorrow. We decided that we’d go about Danba tomorrow because we only could come back to Chengdu the day after.
On the way to have dinner and back, I bought a pair of earrings looking like the one of Aussie woman for 30 yuans and gifts for my siblings (a folding fan for my sis and a prayer wheel for my lil bro). We had another beer but Alex didn’t like the black beer much.
Tonight the sky had a few stars. I saw the round moon. It must be day 14 or 15 of the lunar month. These were the first stars I’ve seen since I came to China. I had expected more than that.
We woke up very late around 8 AM. Didn’t know what to do so I listened to music while waiting for the rain to stop. As Alex wanted to go out, at 10 AM, we walked to a monastery nearby then another temple on the way we went to the mountains yesterday. 4 hours of walking today was nice, I felt no pain in my feet. We bought the bus tickets to go back to Danba tomorrow.
Even when it rained, I still loved the place too much to leave it behind. We had some cakes for lunch. I thought that cakes in China tasted better than in Vietnam.
At 4 PM, Alex wanted to walk out again, so we went around, passing a military base. Alex told me not to take photos of the soldiers, or else I would be in a complicated situation. I took a pic of a cosmos flower instead. Later I found out it has a beautiful Chinese name gesanghua after a legendary story of a Chinese princess marrying a Tibetan king.
I successfully ordered noodles without chili for dinner tonigh. I got fever before going to sleep (due to tonsillitis, I guess). Damn!
We climbed a mountain across a river from 8 AM to 4 PM. We started very early when there were clouds over them, but when we reached the top, it was all sunny. My big toes didn’t hurt me much like the hike in Kangding. My feet surely preferred walking on the grass to on the rocks.
Was it the first time I crossed a hanging bridge? Alex wrote about it, “When a way begins that way, it can’t be bad ! The flow of the river was very strong, and the bridge was moving a bit under the steps”.
The sky was clear. The sun shined directly on us. I got sunburned on my hands where they were exposed to the sun. Alex’s neck was so red. We spent about half an hour on the top of the mountain chatting. I didn’t really wanna go down at all. Why was life made of choices? I was thinking hard almost every hour that I could live here in Sichuan forever and didn’t wanna come back to Vietnam. I preferred Ganzi than the Tagong Grassland.
Alex was very nice today, letting me walk slowly without rushing me. Each of us had 2 ice creams on the way back. I was breathing in ice and breathing out cream to encourage myself that the way wasn’t so long.
On the way back, we met a group of Tibetan women. They must be peasants. They were resting on a carpet or something like that and invited us to have some tea. As usual, they thought I was Chinese, but I explained that I came from Vietnam. They probably didn’t know where Vietnam was. I tried to talk to them in Chinese. Must have been the day when I spoke so many Chinese sentences.
We also met Gal on the way back. The Israeli guy said tomorrow he would go to Litang.
Had dinner by Alex’s random choice like he did in Danba. But the food today wasn’t that good. It was too spicy for me.
Ganzi had a lot of barbecued carts on the sidewalks. We had beer with some barbecued food in front of a house. I liked it. I saw some Western backpackers copying us.
I heard fireworks again. Unluckily, there were no stars in the sky at night.
Alex and I met Gal at the bus station where we tried to buy 2 tickets to Ganzi aka Kandze. Gal was on the bus with us. There was another fireworks when the bus was about to start for Ganzi. It took us 11 hours to reach there. The bus stopped a few times at nowheres. Once, the bus driver stopped to take a nap while waiting for the other driver to come back.
The sky was clear somehow, but it still rained in the afternoon. I slept a lot on the bus. My shoulders were burned a bit due to the sun yesterday.
Actually, I didn’t know why we went so far to this town. Maybe just because the name sounded similar to the prefecture.
As the hotel owner told us to go to the Zhonglu Tibetan Village at 8 AM, we went downstairs on time. However, we had to wait for 1 hour for an Aussie couple.
The Aussie couple were old, but they were nice. They talked to us a lot, about their trips to Eastern Europe and Mongolia, and many things else. Alex even talked to them about his robot work and scientific research.
I liked the hike today a lot. The sky was clear. It was sunny. I preferred the sun to the clouds. I envied the Aussie woman who told me she moved out of London at 21 and traveled a lot. I wish I could travel that much.
We got back to Danba around 1:30 PM then went to see what I thought the famous Suopo Watchtowers. Didn’t cross a dangerous bridge because it was unlikely that we could climb those watchtowers. We talked to a young Austrian couple on the way back to the hotel.
On the road to the downtown in the evening, a Chinese guy came talking to me in English. He said he was traveling from Hunan and was studying architecture. A nice guy indeed. He also showed me where to buy a mosquito racket. Actually, I didn’t intend to buy any. Just wanted to show Alex how it looked like.
Met a Western guy who speaks Chinese at the hotel lobby. I told Alex, “I so love him,” and Alex said he could speak Vietnamese very well, too. The Western guy helped us with info of where to stay in Ganzi. He said he was married and living in the north of Beijing. His wife is Chinese. Alex joked, “I want his wife.”
I missed the fireworks due to my shower. Then Alex told me it might be fireworks from a wedding or so.
Though the hotel was modern, Danba was a nice mixture of Chinese and Tibetan. I loved life here very much. I didn’t wanna go to anywhere else or go back home. Maybe after a wild and rainy Tagong, Danba made me feel a lot better.
Continue ReadingGarzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Day 8: Zhonglu Tibetan Village