Tiger Leaping Gorge => Shangri-la (Zhongdian)
After a couple hundred of years, the Monkey King began to get antsy about his position in life and the prospect of death. He shared his worries with his monkey brothers and sisters who suddenly became aware of the dreary fact. A wiser monkey spoke up and said that those who follow the Way (Buddhism) can become immortal and avoid the eternal wheel of death and reincarnation. The Monkey King was enthralled by the wise monkey’s explanation and decided to go on a journey to find an immortal. He set off the next day. For decades, he sailed across seas and hiked continents until he found a human woodsman that pointed him to a temple that hosted an immortal. When he approached the gate, the immortal was expecting him…
Dragon Clouds–Morning at Halfway Before the Hike
We woke up to find a stream of thin clouds hovering across the gorge. Molly mentioned that the stream of clouds looked like a head and body of a dragon. Later, when I was watching them float by, I actually saw the dragon too. We got breakfast with the group and then set off to finish the hike. The hike was pretty easy accept for trekking through a waterfall and a heavy stream of water.
Crossing the Waterfall
Taking a Break with the Gang
The Chinese family’s little girl, Cece, was the most adorable thing ever. She also loved to draw. I asked if she could draw for me, so she drew a chibi character into my sketchbook. I will cherish it forever. We finally made it to Tina’s Guesthouse where we would take a bus to Shangri-la (Zhongdian). The family and couple were going to Lijiang, but the Korean, Jason, would join us to Shangri-la (Zhongdian). Before taking the bus, Jason, Molly, and I took a hike down to the bottom of the gorge to see the cascading rapids. We only had two hours to do the entire hike, so we ran down the steep canyon in 20 minutes and observed the river.
River Dividing the Gorge
We heaved our tired selves up the canyon and barely caught the bus to Shangri-la. We said goodbye to the family and the couple and then got on the bus. On the bus ride, we got to know four vunderful Germans who became immediate friends. The ride was incredibly scenic and within an hour we were surrounded my snow fields and white mountain peaks. I could feel the drop in temperature in the bus! After the 3-4 bus ride, we made it to Shangri-la in time to find a hostel and then get some dinner.
Shangri-La Ancient City
I found a small restaurant that sold Tibetan food (which was surprisingly hard to find) and then ordered for the group. I was the most familiar with Tibetan cuisine. Afterwards, I met with a fellow Fulbrighter’s previous mentor in a bar. We talked about his life, research, and my own research and ambitions. He was great to talk to. His life was fascinating! He lived with nomads for a couple weeks in Tibet when he was younger and decided from that point on that he wanted to study Chinese culture. I plan to visit Shangri-la once again before he goes back to University and to meet his little son.
I went back to the hostel and got ready for bed. We planned to wake up early the next day to go see the monastery and then buy tickets back to Lijiang.
[I apologize if it feels like I am speed telling my experiences…I will add more to the posts when I get back from Taiwan]