(as always…click on the pictures to see them larger…they are the best thing here)
I didn’t mention that after dinner last night, some of us ventured to the deck of the (not so) Halfway Guesthouse to star gaze.
I think this is one thing I was looking forward to the most. One of my most cherished memories was sleeping outside with the kids when we went river rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho (I said “cruise” Corey heard “boat”). The children had not seen a sea of stars, let along satellites crossing over. It was magical.
Well, the kids weren’t with me this time, but I could still look up, remember, and be in awe of the sight.
Too quickly it got just a bit cold for this, so I headed in.
The next morning our “Uber” hikers ventured out early to get a head start as they would be not only doing the 5K out to Tina’s Guesthouse, but also venturing into Tiger Leaping Gorge.
I arose to see them off, get last minute instructions from Betty (don’t lose anyone), and basically catch a glimpse of the brightening sky.
My appetite was still gone…nope…no broccoli this morning….actually pancakes, but eh, not interested.
I packed up my backpack and took some final pics of the deck.
Yes, that is a Communist Flag. On the pole are wood replicas of flags from all over the world. This place is POPULAR!
14 of us set off with our two guides to finish off the last 5K….which was advertised as Flat…then downhill. OK…NO….It was a relatively treacherous hike…doable, but I thanked heaven YET AGAIN, for my 30 RMB (5 bucks) walking pole. Very handy for balance!
Here are some snaps….
We moved along at our own pace, which is nice because it lets you chat with a person…then rest, and move on to another. I was with 21 of the most diverse and interesting women on this trip!
See these ? Down there is where we were heading…and not via the paved road (the very very bottom…where the water is, is where the first group trekked to earlier in the day)
5K and 2 hours later (exactly on schedule), we arrived at Tina’s Guesthouse for lunch…yes, you guessed it….same meal, different venue. We were ALL looking forward to getting to Shangri-la just for a change of pace.
We hooked back up with our big bus…but before driving to Shangri-La, we stopped at ;
TIGER LEAPING ROCK…yes…there is a rock!
We drove on towards Shangri-La. We stopped at “Small Zhongdian” to visit a traditional Tibetan Village. All I can say is WOW
We were greeted at the Village by THIS little darling and her family
Needless to say, the village was pretty simple.
Here is a villager moving through his day….trying to avoid the gawkers
Interestingly, houses are not “reused”. Once a family (probably 3 or 4 generations) leaves a house for a new one, the old one stands empty.
It’s hard to see here, but these homes are very ornate. The villagers help each other build their homes…and the craftsmanship is off the hook. (more on that in a second)
We made our way through the village and at the very end came upon a family working very hard clearing out their “yard”
They were building this mound from the muck and compost etc. See the lady waving!
They were so kind as to invite us in to see them.
After this we were invited inside their home! Wait until you see the mantle
Not a great pic…but this is all carved. The senior member of the house offered us cigarettes and a seat (no thanks…we have to be going). We gave them some money for their generosity and for posing for our pictures.
Back to the bus for the final push to our last hotel
On our way to the hotel we stopped at a road-side…”hole” for those that had to go. There is a keeper of said area…and it costs $1 RMB to use the facility. Well, facility is a loose term… NO pics of the hole…but here is the “keeper”
Our last hotel of the trip was the Songtsam Retreat at Shangri-La. It was right behind the biggest monastery in Zhongdian. It was a sight to see.
Just a couple quick pictures from the bus…We would run and check into the hotel…where we had 30 minutes to change and get to dinner.