Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Up, up and up!

Can't hang around Lijiang town much. It's depressing to see rows and rows of silly shops selling the same-old-same-old tourist trinkets. Determined to find the quieter spots in the area that would redeem Lijiang of its slightly comical touristy vibes. I imperiously demanded to go out for walks and easy bike rides. Got them. Through the ridiculously picturesque villages around and up Guanyin Gorge (观音峡— 悠悠茶马滇藏情,是丽江观音峡的写照,可谓是茶马古道滇藏线上第一个险关要塞).

Decided to visit the Naxi villages. Thank goodness for a cloudy day without rain. Took a hike to Wenhai Village (文海村), went up up and up, picked our way across rocks, mud, cow, yak, goat and a ridiculous amount of horse manure and dunno-what poop, and crossed hills over to the Naxi minority Yuhu Village (玉湖村) nestled at the foot of the Jade Dragon Mountains (玉龙山). It was meant to be a quick two-hour hike, but we took three hours because we stopped along the way to chase cows and yaks and dipped fingers into gurgling streams. :P


We explored Yuhu Village (玉湖村) and its fields. The villagers were friendly and seemed used to tourists taking random photos of their homes. There were many tourists who chose to cycle to the village as well to spend a day there. So this is where Austrian-American botanist/anthropologist/explorer Joseph Rock lived for years before he had to leave China in October 1949 along with fellow resident Russian-born explorer Peter Goullart. Joseph Rock lived in Lijiang for 26 years or so from 1922 to 1949, learning the Naxi language and publishing his research and finds. making a home base in Yuhu Village. His home is open to visitors for...I forgot...about ¥20 per person.

One could ride horses up across the trail we took. Did a double-take when we came across a few people in like...corporate-wear on horseback led by long-suffering guides. Like in crisp white shirt and pleated pants. But I didn't quite like the horses the minders offered. In fact, the stables at the area around Lashi Lake (拉市海, similar to Zhongdian's Napa Lake, but less impressive) were the same. They kinda stank. The horses didn't look well taken care of as compared to those in Zhongdian. These in Lijiang had matted coats and held sad looks in their eyes. I wasn't about to condone that. Well, not aloud anyway. So I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and sauntered over to the other side of the mountain where there were many more fields of greens and rapeseed.

Down, down and down to Yuhu Village.

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