• 06Sep

    (well, my Chinese family that is).  I was bummed that I couldn’t go on our family camping trip… so I decided to take a trip of my own!

    10 days ago we (Ruth, Lucy (XiaoLu), Cindy (Chengcheng), Pei, Heng Yee, Andreas, and I) went on a nice excursion to Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian (Shangerila).  I’ve been to both Dali and Lijiang before but not Zhongdian.  For everyone else it was their first time to these places.  For Ruth it was her first time ever on a train, boat and gondola!

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    Our first stop was a Bai Minority house place.  Our taxi driver, who suggested it, said that it was a beautiful place and that we were going to be in awe of it.  It was pretty, but lacked the awe factor.  We later found out that he is of the Bai Minority, so perhaps he was a little biased.  Just for clarification… from left to right… Heng Yee, Pei, Ruth, Lucy, Cindy and Andreas in the back.

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    Here we are in the gondola thing going up the mountain in Dali!

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    Here we are in the mountains where for some reason the Guiness World Record for the largest Chinese Chess set is.

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    The water was pretty cold!

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    Sometimes I like taking funny pictures like this… here’s a horse walking through our picture… so I thought I’d take it anyway… hehe.

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    Lijiang Old Town at night!  I think it looks so much better with all the pretty lights!

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    Tiger-leaping gorge!  Definitely one of the trip highlights for me.  The best part was the car ride to here!  We arrived by van to one spot where we were told that the road is under construction so only locals were allowed to drive.  At first we thought that it was just a plot by the locals to get you to pay for their car but once we were on the road we started to think otherwise!  Imagine driving on the edge of the cliff with no guard rails, the road is not only unpaved, but uneven, and at times flooded or muddy, plus add in trying to share the road with construction equipment and trucks!  It was something that needed to be put in Disneyland.

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    At the end of the treacherous driving path was a just as treacherous hiking path.  5 of us ventured down to the river via a path that a man supposedly constructed.  The story goes that this man started a path from his village down to the bottom where the river is.  However, as we were driving on the road we passed by a pretty beat up and rusty car… supposedly the very man that constructed the road was coming back home when a rock slide crushed his car and killed him.  The path is quite impressive for someone to have done it as a private project.  It was a tough hike but well worth it!  Here you can kinda see how steep parts were.  My walking up and down the 7 flights of stairs everyday really came in handy!

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    This was about 3/4ths of the way down the mountain.  The river is that brown water that’s behind my friends here.  It was quite a strong river.  Our driver was telling us that just the day before we were there that a boy had gone out into the water to play but was swept away.  Crazy.

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    Our hike was full of breath-taking scenery and postcard like pictures!  So cool.  This place wasn’t the very touristy place to see the river so it was really nice to basically have the path to ourselves!  The only drawback is that Lucy and Heng Yee weren’t able to join us because the hike would have been really hard for them to do.

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    Happy hikers!  This was on the way down.  Needless to say, our faces weren’t quite the same when we had to go back UP!

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    Finally at the bottom!

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    Here we are in Shangerila going to the top of one of the snow mountains.  It’s nice that they have these convenient gondola things so you don’t actually have to hike all the way up!

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    Brr!  The temp was supposedly around 4C, but with the windchill factor I’m sure that it was around 0 or even less!!  You’re supposed to get a fabulous view from the top of this mountain… but as you can see it was a little cloudy/foggy.  No great pictures but I think maybe it was more fun to be SO cold.

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    Here’s the very top!  The Tibetan prayer flags were pretty in the wind.

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    4500 meters high!  That’s my new record.  Supposedly that’s about as high as Mt. Whitney in California!  Breathing wasn’t too hard but climbing several stairs put me just a little out of breath.  It was far too cold to be thinking about whether we could breathe or not!

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    Here is a famous Tibetan drink.  I think that they should call it Tibetan Tea instead of it’s real name… it would scare a lot less people because this tea is called… Yak Butter Tea.  It comes in sweet or savory (salty).  We got the sweet one.  We were all very nervous to drink it.  The smell is less than ideal for tea but once I finally drank it, it was pretty good.  It was very similar to a really rich milk tea.  I think a lot of my companions couldn’t get past the name and didn’t give it a fair chance, but I think I had about 3 bowls!

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    Yay for new friends!  This is Er Lu.  She used to live in Kunming with my roommates but is now working in Shangerila.  She was so fun!  This is a picture of the “Three Street Gang”, or at least that’s what I’m calling them.  They all have the word “Lu” in their names, which means road!

    Now for some fun people pics!

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    Quite the fashion statement!

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    Sorry for the poor quality, but Molly this one is for you.  A store called Panda House!  With a little boy wearing a PANDA vest and hoodie!!!  The vest is a panda hugging the person wearing it with the hood being the panda head!

    What a fun trip!  Guess it’s time to get back to work though.  Summer is officially over on Wednesday as I’ll be back in school.  I suppose I should get to my summer homework too… eeks!

    I hope all is well where you are!

    Lup

   

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