Published: April 22nd 2005April 18th 2005
Now that I have decent internet connection available I am trying to catch up on the journal...
After coming back from Deqin I've decided to leave the guys I was traveling with, because I understood that they are looking for other things on their trip, and we don't share the same interests. Since there was no other foreigner around - the meaning was to continue really alone.
They took a bus out of Zhongdian the following morning, and I stayed there for another day all by myself.
I spent the day walking around the old town, walking out of the center between the fields of the villagers there, taking a lot of pictures of the local people and their houses. There was a small hill in town that had a small temple on its top. I climbed it, and saw the views from there, and took pictures of some more Tibetan flags.
Near the temple I saw some Tibetan women and their children. The kids thought that my camera is very interesting and asked me to take their picture. When they saw the picture on the digital camera they were very happy. The women also really liked it, and
Tibetan woman and kids
This is the family that invited me for dinner.
I ended up taking some more pictures of the group. After that they asked me to give them the pictures. I explained that I can't take the picture out, and that I need to print it first. Until this point all the communication took place without understanding a single word. At this point one of the younger women wrote down something that later I understood was their address, and they asked me to come to their place for dinner!
After all that I went back to the city center, found a place to print the pictures, and printed for them a few pictures. When I went back to my guesthouse, where the owner speaks English, and showed him the address, he told me that it is a village out of the city, a bit far away. So my dinner plans were ruined :(
I left him the pictures and the address and he promised he will make sure the pictures will be received by the family. I also added there my address, hoping to get a letter someday...
The next day I took a bus to Daocheng, leaving Yunnan province and going into Sichuan. The ride was 11 hours long,
A woman working in construction
It's very common to see women in china doing hard labor.
and most of it was so dusty that I am not sure what I was breathing during that time. The road was very bumpy, and actually that was a ride I will prefer not to remember.
To make things worst - my ipod decided to stop working in the middle of the ride! I was just listening to music when it stopped, and the display showed a frightening error sign. The thing I feared most is that all of the pictures I stored on it were lost.
All that night in Daocheng I was working on recovering the pictures and burning them to CDs.
A couple of days later I found out that the ipod can't function over the altitude of 3000 m, and that I may have caused it permanent damage. Hoping for the best - I am now using it only in lower altitudes, and I backup all pictures to CDs as well.
Daocheng is a very small town (it's amazing how smaller in sizes the towns get - I just don't know how to call them other than very small towns, but if you are thinking of Gedera, than you are thinking too big). There isn't much
A pig in Zhongdian
Yes, they are just sitting there next to the houses in the middle of the town. Dinner anyone?
to do here, except going to Yanding national park for hiking. Since I was alone - I didn't go.
I stayed at a guesthouse that is about 3 km out of town, where there are supposed to be hot springs. There was actually a hot water canal running through that village, and the guesthouse used it to fill some small baths, calling it hot springs.
The main attraction in Daocheng itself was, as I found out, me. A foreign tourist with a camera is something that attracts attention. Everybody wanted to get their picture taken, posed for the camera, gathered around me, tried to grab my camera and see themselves, etc. Look at these people - if this kind of crowd was gathering around you in Tel Aviv or New York, you would have probably prayed for your life. Here it felt safe. Once again - trying to communicate was the frustrating part. Being able to talk to them could have made it a much more enjoyable experience.
Early in the afternoon, when the kids started going home from school, I saw a man selling caramel candies he made on the spot. He let the kids spin a fortune wheel,
and made for them the animal that they won. He gave me the biggest dragon without even spinning his wheel!
Later that day I had to find a new guesthouse, closer to the bus station, because I had a very early bus to catch. I was looking for a place with a shower, because I haven't had one for almost a week! Most places don't have showers (there is a shower shop in town if you want to take a shower), and I was walking around for a long time. When I finally found one, and paid the expensive rate they wanted (~10$), I wanted to take a shower. Only then I found out that the hot water they promised didn't know they were supposed to be there. After a long argument with the owners (I speak Hebrew, they speak Chinese) - I got my money back and went back to the street. It was almost dark, I had nowhere to sleep, and I was alone. This is when I felt how it is to travel alone...
Of course eventually I found a place and took a shower (not before a small incident while I was trying to shave), and
Kids playing pool
As I wrote before - pool tables are everywhere. This is a tiny village, and the only reason I saw it was that we had a toilet break here during the bus ride. Satellite dishes are also everywhere in China.
the smile returned to my face.
Well, this has become a long one, and as I know most of you - not too many people reached this point :)
Hope at least that you enjoyed the many pictures I've added. Since I am alone - there is nobody to take pictures of me...
I'll leave the next tale to a separate entry,
There are more photos below