July 29, 2012
It is Halloween. Vicki wishes us a Happy Halloween. It’s strange to think of this American Holiday in the midst of a an ancient city, dining on fried dumplings and sweet black rice in a hotel with no glass in the windows. We hate to leave this beautiful mountain village of Jiliang as we are still aglow with unforgettable memories of our time here.
From the bus, we see overladen donkeys hauling goods, people walking the roads, scenic villages, cows, horses, children drying corn or grain outside. Most pictures from the bus are too blurry to keep.
We look back at the Eastern Himalayas, our last look at the beautiful mountain and marvel at the many exciting experiences we had in this special area just 250 miles from Tibet. So close. Tour mates discuss our next trip and we swear it will be Tibet. Someone recommended the movie, Seven Years in Tibet, Lady Yang, about a famous concubine, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and so it goes as we head for the airport to fly to Kumming. (koo-ming.)
At the Naxi Stone Drum Village, we stop for lunch. The restaurant is crowded with Naxi people. Service here is more casual than other restaurants we’ve been to, Vicki tells us. The food simpler. Did we care? The place was fascinating with its chili pepper curtains, dividing the outdoor diners from the indoor diners. We are seated inside a small room with a wonderful view of this interesting gathering.
The faces are intent as they play mah jong. We realize no one is eating lunch but us.
Everyone plays. Women tend to stick to tables with women, but mix when the numbers are uneven.
This old fellow sits and watches the game, quietly smoking his opium pipe.
Viki said it is unusual to find this group of people gathered here and she asks around and finds out a government official is set to visit the village and the “seniors” are waiting in the courtyard to hear his speech.
I sneak a peek into the open air kitchen.
There is no refrigeration. Everything is fresh or stored in vinegar.
A photo bonanza for us, as we watch the activity and listen to them chatter among themselves. They totally ignore us. This table of women is playing some kind of card game and have apples to snack on. One woman is asleep at the table with her head bent low.
When the government official arrives, they listen with rapt attention.
Their meeting ends about the same time as our lunch. Wanning, with an interpreter tries to engage this elderly gent as everyone leaves the restaurant. But, the dialect is obscure, and she nor the interpreter can understand anything he says.
Now the Naxi are very curious about us. They do not shy from the camera and enjoy seeing themselves in our little screens with smiles and much straightening of their clothing. No hands come out for money.
We walk around the area to see what we can see and stretch our legs. This gentleman apparently has a car. He took out a bench from his trunk and proudly showed it to us. Or, maybe he was hoping we would buy it. We couldn’t tell. A car here is quite rare. We see almost no private auto traffic on the roads.
As we load into the bus, a beggar woman stands outside our window gesturing her need for food in her plastic covered dish or to sell us something Viki speculates. Vicki says it is too late but those in the bus who have snacks demand to stop and hand her some salty nuts, candy bars and a few yuan we offer. Vicki disapproves of encouraging begging and she says it is also very unusual to find a beggar in this remote village.
As we get back on the road in the bus, we see these two Naxi women walking back to their homes. Everyone seems to enjoy relatively good health and good spirits. Walking is their main mode of travel. Tomorrow, Kumming.