JULY 24, 2021

12 years ago today marked the first time I was about to move to another time zone, GMT+8. It was a 15-day trip to Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, China. My first ever long trip.

Cả đời quay đầu nhìn, năm phần hậu tri hậu giác, ba phần không thể làm gì, có thể có hai phần không oán không hối, coi như đáng giá.
//
一生回头看,五分后知后觉,三分无可奈何,能有两分无怨无悔,就算值了。

Continue ReadingJULY 24, 2021

JUNE 10, 2021

I used to think it didn’t matter whether I go to Tibet or not. But after watching a TV program, now I think I should at least try once. Không biết hết dịch có đổi ý không, nhưng tạm thời quyết định vậy đi đã.

Thay đổi, như ánh nắng mặt trời, có thể là bạn hoặc thù, phước lành hoặc lời nguyền, bình minh hoặc hoàng hôn.
//
Change, like sunshine, can be a friend or a foe, a blessing or a curse, a dawn or a dusk.
//
改变,就像阳光一样,能成为一个朋友或者敌人,一个祝福或者一个咒语,一个黎明或者一个傍晚。

Continue ReadingJUNE 10, 2021

NOVEMBER 6, 2020

Nếu như bạn chia tay liền đi Tây Tạng, có thể chữa thương; nếu như bạn độc thân liền đi Lệ Giang, có thể diễm ngộ; nếu như bạn thích ta, ắt cùng ta đi làm công.
//
如果你分手了就去西藏, 可以疗伤; 如果你单身就去丽江, 可以艳遇; 如果你喜欢我, 就来跟我一起打工。
//
If you break up, go to Tibet, you can heal; if you are single, go to Lijiang, you can have a romance; if you like me, come and work with me.

Continue ReadingNOVEMBER 6, 2020

JUNE 30, 2020

Người dân tộc Tạng thường nói: “Ai biết khi nào sẽ chết!” Điều này giống như Tony nói trong Green Book: “Mặc kệ làm gì, đều dốc hết toàn lực. Công việc ra công việc, cười ắt cười to, ăn cái gì cũng coi như là bữa ăn cuối cùng.”
//
藏族人常言:“谁知道啥时候死!”这跟《绿皮书》里托尼说的:“不管做什么,都要倾尽全力,工作就工作,笑就大笑,吃东西,就当是最后一顿吃。” 相当的契合。
//
Tibetans often say: “Who knows when we will die!” This is like what Tony said in Green Book: “Whatever you do, do it 100%. When you work, work. When you laugh, laugh. When you eat, eat like it’s your last meal.”
P.s.: Pictures taken in Ruoergai and Langmusi, Aba Prefecture, Sichuan and Gansu, China in 2019.

Continue ReadingJUNE 30, 2020

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 15: Chengdu To Hanoi

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

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 14: Chengdu Shopping Spree And Wenshu Temple

Luckily for me, I could sleep well until 7AM because 2 girls checked in long before midnight yesterday. Because it was raining, I waited for a while then decided to go out shopping.

It took me an hour to get to Decathlon. It was my first time at such a big sport store in any country. I wanted to buy many things, but then decided to buy some small gifts and a 10-lit rucksack that can fold up into a small ball. I need extra storage for my stuff.

I also saw IKEA nearby so I dropped by to see why it was famous. Many people came here for a snack or lunch (?!) I also went into a mall and checked out Zara, H&M, Uniqlo stores, etc. But I didn’t buy anything.

In the afternoon, I visited the Wenshu Temple. I used to visit one of the street here 10 years ago but I wasn’t so sure. This area even seemed to be bigger than the Wuhou Temple area where I stayed.

After getting back to the hostel, I took a late afternoon stroll to the so-called Tibetan Quarter which was near. But there was nothing impressive.

I met 2 of my companions at the Jinli Street. I decided on trying the giant grilled squid after drooling a few times. And it was indeed very tasty.

Another one of the girls in the dorm room thought I was Hongkonger because of my English, except from the girl I met on the first night here.

Just figured out I was a lil bit too naive about the metro system. I didn’t need to buy separate tickets for connecting trains. It wasted time (queuing at ticket booths), and maybe money (the longer distance I went, the cheaper it was).

The Pedometer app said that I walked 30,471 (later 29,337) steps today.

Continue ReadingNgawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 14: Chengdu Shopping Spree And Wenshu Temple

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 13: Chengdu Panda Base, Jinli Ancient Street, And Yulin Street

Though there was a girl checking in the room yesterday afternoon after me, I was still woken up at midnight by 2 others. They also switched the aircon to a temperature that made me hard to sleep again.

I tried the buffet breakfast. It cost me 15 yuans and was worth it. The Dien Bien girl then joined me for the panda tour opposite the hostel. Then I found out the code the hostel staff sent me was different from what other people in the bus had. Thank goodness, I got accepted no matter what.

The Chengdu Panda Base was very crowded today, unlike 10 years ago. It was very sunny, unlike 10 years ago when it had been raining nonstop. I had a better view this time, because I was in no rush. I could come back any time with any bus. But the heat stopped me from staying here past noon.

As Jinli Ancient Street didn’t seem as hot or crowded, I made a stroll around here. I was more attracted to the local street food than handicrafts and teahouses. I think I should pick something for dinner later here.

Taking a shower and change clothes, I went out alone to find the famous Yulin Street in the song Chengdu by Zhao Lei. Turned out I could walk there without taking metro. The street didn’t have anything prominent as I thought, but I found the old Little Bar and some good wall paintings.

When I was back to Jinli Street, I decide to eat pineapple sticky rice (the black one).

Too much walking today made me want to sleep early; however, the freelancer guy told me there would be a live music session happening downstairs at 8:30PM. So I decided to stay and another Chinese girl started talking to me and added me in WeChat. Thanks to the hostel’s music night, I enjoyed some of my fav Chinese songs like Chengdu, Baby До свидания, Hua.

According to Pedometer, I walked 31,497 steps today. I didn’t know that I walked more than I did at all the hikes in Sichuan this year.

Continue ReadingNgawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 13: Chengdu Panda Base, Jinli Ancient Street, And Yulin Street

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 12: Mt. Siguniang To Chengdu

I realized that I was unlucky yesterday because it wasn’t raining any more. We went to the grocery store to find out the bus would only be here around 10 AM. So I decided to have another beef noodles. I was surprised that other companions didn’t have lunch.

I sat on the last row of the buses together with 2 Chinese girls. I dozed off once in a while and was woken up by hearing the sound of puke nearby. Luckily I could move to a better seat at the Gengda stop.

I reached Chengdu around 4PM. Then it took me an hour on the metro and foot to reach the Dreams Travel International Youth Hostel (near Wuhouci aka Temple of Marquis).

The Jinli Ancient Street next to Wuhou Temple was so crowded in this early evening. I guessed I would be back here tomorrow after revisiting the Chengdu Panda Base.

After checking in, I booked my panda tour with the help of a hostel staff in the station at Wuhou Temple opposite of the hostel. I paid the same price as others. Then the guy took a picture of the QR code and send me via WeChat. They didn’t speak as well as the people in the previous hostel in Chengdu, but they seemed to be more friendly and honest.

To my surprise, my companions offered to treat me dinner at a hotpot restaurant near the hostel. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see the 9 separate compartments; however, I thought it was Sichuan hotpot, maybe a lil bit different with the Chongqing one. The oil helped make the spicy taste go away, I thought. If I go back to Chengdu again in the future, I’ll try another hotpot place.

When I was back at the hostel, a guy from Xinjiang working as a designer freelancer here started talking to me. His English choices of words gave me a headache from time to time before I lost my patience and waved him goodbye.

Only in Chengdu could I feel the heat of the summer. In previous places, the weather made me feel like spring.

Continue ReadingNgawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 12: Mt. Siguniang To Chengdu

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 11: Changping Valley

Before I went on this trip, I thought Mt. Siguniang must be a place for climbers. I only liked hiking for a day of about 30,000 steps which was tiring enough. Stargazing on the snowy top of the mountain at night under the cold wind was no fun to me. I didn’t really wanna go to Mt. Siguniang though it was in my initial plan. Because the Dien Bien girl didn’t intend go climbing alone, and I didn’t know how to see pandas in Wolong, I decided to give Mt. Siguniang a try in the end. Turned out this world heritage had several valleys and was worth seeing.

The highest place of my journey: somewhere near 3,700m beside a waterfall.

I met a forest keeper on the hike (first I thought he was a traveler), and after chatting for a while, he told me my Chinese was good. I also felt at ease with my ability to converse for more than just 1 or 2 sentences asking for direction.

The most picturesque view must have been some pine trees with no leaf under water.

After the boardwalk, there was a muddy trek because of the continuous rain from yesterday. I decided to wait for others at the roadside stop, enjoyed my 10-yuan hot milk tea to keep me warm, and looked at other hikers chatting and eating barbecued food. I also helped a couple bargaining for their horse ride because their kids seemed to be worn out. Turned out their horses just went down halfway instead.

On the way out, I entered the monastery near the gate which I couldn’t get in in the morning because it was closed then.

I thought I’d go to 2 valleys today, but Changpinggou (Changping Valley) turned out to be so long a hike.

When I was back to the hostel in the afternoon, I was also trying to ask for the bus to Chengdu with the owner, and she said there were 3 buses tomorrow. I’d like to take the noon one.

Later, I bought more milk teas in a grocery store. 1 cup cost only 4 yuans.

My Pedometer app first indexed 30,535 steps for today, but then later I saw only 28,849 steps. Huh?

Continue ReadingNgawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 11: Changping Valley

Ngawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 10: Barkam To Mt. Siguniang

Barkam to Aba/Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture was like Kangding to Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, meaning it was the seat of the prefecture. There was a river flowing alongside the town, too. But I felt that Barkam seemed to be much less crowded than Kangding and had no sign of international travelers.

Today was a great public transport experience. Because the driver said 8:30AM the bus to Xiaojin would depart, this morning, I came to the station early to buy a new ticket. Turned out I was too early, again. The bus would depart around noon, again.

When I went back to the hostel for a seat, they invited me to have breakfast. So kind. Or they didn’t know that I had already checked out. And it was a square meal with green bean and rice porridge, two Chinese steamed buns (mantou), a boiled egg, peanuts, and pickled cucumber. Best breakfast so far.

It was a bumpy bus ride to Xiaojin via winding roads and passes. Sometimes, I thought the bus couldn’t get through some big stone piles on the road. But thanks to the onsite wheel loader and rotary mixer, plus the help of the bus staff, there was a connecting bus waiting for us somewhere on the way to Mt. Siguniang.

The 10-hour on the bus ride yesterday was not as tiring as 6 hours today; however, I enjoyed this crowded bus from Xiaojin to Mt. Siguniang, and moreover, kindness of Chinese people.

They stopped near the Changping Valley site under the rain, so I picked that hostel right there. Its decoration looked warm and comfortable.

The Changping Inn hostel’s owner didn’t speak English, but I found their bookcase interesting.

Continue ReadingNgawa Tibetan And Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Day 10: Barkam To Mt. Siguniang