So I've decided to take the traditional name for Shangri-la as the location for this blog- Zhongdian. This is because this place was only renamed for the tourism industry a few years back- because Shangri-la sounds like some exotic destination beyond the Tibetan platau. But despite the touristy name, this place is every bit as interesting, welcoming and incredible as you can imagine.
One thing I cannot get over here, is the simple kindness, generosity and overall friendliness of the locals here. Already in my first week here, I've made so many friends, and now when I walk the streets of old town, I pass by people and give them a wave and a friendly greeting; just like I've lived here for years. :-)
The people at the Thanka Academy are especially lovely, and I've really enjoyed spending time with them and helping them with the english, and whatever else I can do for them. The kids are really great too- some of them really try hard at english and study very hard. But just like any teenage boys they also love to have a bit of fun and chase each other with sticks and the like. I'm glad
I decided to volunteer here for a few weeks, because not only is the accomodation cheap and the food amazing, but I get alot out of it myself as well. When you see the looks on the kids faces when you teach them a new word- it really lights up my heart.
The community of Zhongdian is amazing too- every night there is Tibetan dancing in the main square, and this is such a great way to meet other people and especially the locals. What is really great about this dancing is it doesn't matter if you're the most un co- ordinated piece of flesh in the world or 100 years old or 2 years old, anyone, and I mean ANYONE is welcome to join. There is not judging or laughing from anyone so its really easy to take part. Even the young teenage boys take part- and thats saying something. I find it hard to imagine young Aussie blokes doing this sort of thing in a public square back home!
This morning I participating in some Buddhist chanting. At first, it was a little strange to get used to, but after a while- I found the meditating
very relaxing and quite beautiful. We all had to smirk a little though when the youngest boy, a student, probably about 7 or 8 and he is usually known for being a bit of a rascal, came into the meditation towards the end; and starting giving Orin Pies to everyone! (Orin Pies are a bit like Wagon Wheels I suppose, but probably not as tasty). He even threw and Orign Pie to the master conducting the chanting! Ah, life. :-)
I could tell you a little more about the experiences I've had and the people I've met, but I think I'll save that for the next blog, I still have 10 more days here or so, so I'll be sure to blog again in that time.
My first week here in Zhongdian has given me good impressions and humbled my heart.
Tot: 0.04s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 10; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0111s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb