June 13, 2008

Shangri-la, the tibet outside of tibet

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:39 am by changisme

Shangri-la is the Tibetan Self-governing Region of Yunnan Province in china. It’s half way intot he sky among the alpine meadows and glacier mountains. What’s different here from other alpine meadows is probably the characteristic Chinese landscape: the meadows are all plantations. On our way to the town of shangri-la, whenever there is a valley, whenever there is a piece of meadow, there are patches of Qing Ke, corn and other crops. The climate is obiously quite harsh due to the high elevation, and the lands are hilly. Nonetheless, food is the essence.
When we were in a village walking around, we knocked on the door of a local household. A woman opened the door looking baffled. We asked if we could take a look inside of their home, and she said yes. There’s an old woman in side, and she’s much more relaxed about visitors. She talked a lot with us and invited us into her living room. It’s a beautiful house, with Tibetan decorations. There’s not an inch of the walls that is empty, covered either with carpets of pictures or Buddhist statues. She also told us that she’s unhappy about the young people using the agricultural lands for developments, because food is more importan. As for money, if you have more you can spend more, if you have less, you can spend less. The men were out working, and later on we found out that it seems to be the case in every household, the women stay at home with the animals and lands, and the men out working on something else, tourism probably?
One thing I have been quite unhappy with Shangri-la and Lijiang is that they don’t seem to understand that some people don’t eat pork. Yoni’s a jew, so we always try to find more dishes that has no pork for him. When we order something, and made sure that it doesn’ thave pork, there’s usually something that’s wrong, ham or whatever inside. I can kind of understand in a way, because when I asked our guide, he said that, the local people here mostly eat pork, because cows are mostly for working but they do sell yaks and beef. Chicken are more for eggs than anything.
On the plantations around here, thare are usually big wooden wracks, it took me some pains to find out what they are for. Apparently, they dry the Qing Ke (local crop) and grass there. The grass is for feeds in the winter. Another thing that’s for feed is Lima beans. It’s interesteing because we saw so many plantations for it down in the lower elevation, but we can never order it for food. The locals say that lima beans are only for pig feeds. Isn’t it weird?
I also wento the Lama temple here. It’s a very grand group of archichture, and there are a lot of constructions going on there too. There are about a thousand monks there. The top one is the only lama, and we went in and he touched our head and gave us a safety knot made of red strings. Our guide went in also, and he told the lama that his arm has some pains, and the lama blew a few breaths on it, and our guidesmiled. He said that his name is nongbu, and it was given to him in the temple as soon as he was born. zone other thing I really loved, was this little bell shop. It sells all kinds of copper bells, all very pleasant sounding, especially some of them made of what the owner said is called Shang Tong in Mandarin. It means the top copper. It’s really too bad that I’ll have to go downt to Indonesia and Malaysia, otherwise, I would really buy it. The sound puts me intoa  trans. It sounds like water running down fromt eh sky and like the eagles gliding through the mountain ranges. I havne’t seen these beautiful bells before in other places.
Another thing we found out that’s interesting: every evening, in the touristy area, ther is tibetan dance. We were surprised how many locals there are. today we fiound out, that it’s because they get paid for 400 or 500 yuan to have one person per household go and dance there. I presume is either by the goernment or by the local business. I guess it’s a good thing.

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