Posts Tagged With: Hanzai


After each day’s activity, we return to Jiliang, (lee-john) with its waterwheel churning, strange characters walking the streets and at night, the marvelous market place with people of every description eating by torch-light  along the moat.

The place is fascinating but each day, our guide has plans for us.  After the snow-covered mountain, we returned early enough in the day to grab few pictures before it got dark.

A diverted part of the Yangtze and Jade  rivers flows right through the middle of town and is used for everything including washing dishes, dogs and clothing. We wonder about sewage, but don’t ask. The water always appears to be clean.

If you get hungry before dinner hour,  which starts  quite late here, you can always grab a snack from a small stand. We joke, Chinese fast food. Ha, ha! We saw a rat being carried out of a candy shop with a tongs but we refuse to be squeamish.  This town rocks, day or night. So, who needs candy?

Children play in the streets without a hovering parent to watch them. It feels like we are in some magic wonderland.

There are unreadable signs everywhere. Little bridges, too, with watering troughs for animals. You are as likely to look up and see a yak or llama wandering the streets on a leash as you are a dog or horse.

Town is always teeming with people. We eat along the moat each night. Viki buys us an unattractive looking bean cake with spices for all of us to taste and it is wonderful, but none of us would have chosen it from its looks. We order various vegetables and meats on a stick the waiter  brings to your table with a small wok of boiling oil in which to cook your food.  We have fried milk for dessert. Safe! We avoid the crickets, snails, pigs tails, beetles, ants, grasshoppers, moths and the ever popular dog meat.

Again, the bus takes us into the Eastern Himalayas, this time in the opposite direction of the snow-covered mountain village of Hanzai to a place called Tiger Leaping Gorge.

When the bus can go no farther, we are taken about a mile by rickshaw. We meet our  driver and are thrilled that this is a real rickshaw, not a bicycle peddled device like the one we rode in Beijing that was touristy and contrived.

The trip into the canyon is gloriously beautiful. It follows high above the clean, glacial river crashing down below us.

The road itself is chiseled out of solid rock. In some places, it is wide enough for a small car to get through.

The rickshaw jiggles as we move and the pictures jiggle too. The rickshaw takes us as close as he can to the narrow place where the Emperor was hunting a rare black tiger and it leaped across the gorge and got away. Thus the name of Tiger Leaping Gorge.

And there, at the very point of his jump, a magnificent statue of the rare beast. The canyon appears to be about 70-75 feet across at this point and some of the men decide the tiger couldn’t have jumped it. Viki tells us the canyon was 7-8 meters, (24 feet)  at the time and the river has widened since then. Other people hike into the mountains beyond the tiger to see a beautiful waterfall, but Viki has asked that we do not go off trail though we see back packers coming in from the wilds. Our tour isn’t set up for hiking except for somewhat easy, controllable hikes like at the top of the gondola to see the snow covered mountain, or something that can be done by all with a guide making sure we don’t get lost or hurt.

Our rickshaw driver waits for us but we pay him off and several of us decide to walk back. The driver is glad to rush away and return for another fare.

The Chinese are supposedly going to dam this narrow UNESCO canyon on the Yangtze River as part of their 12 dams project. Hopefully not, since the road is something special to behold.

The stanchions holding the chains are quite close to the edge in places and we wonder just how safe it is. It looks as though you could just push one of the posts over. And, up ahead in this photo,  there are guards standing with their backs to the canyon,  making sure no one walks too near the chains.

Near the end of our walk, the water is closer to the road. The return trip is down hill.

The scenery is majestic but the road is ever fascinating.

The canyon road continues but is  fenced off . The chiseled road continues and brings us back to our point of entry.

We hate to leave the beautiful canyon and a tour mate,  Joyce, clowns around as a rickshaw driver. We decided this canyon has more beauty than the Yangtze River canyon.

In a recent conversation about UNESCO, my nephew insisted UNESCO was part of the United Nations. It is not. It began because the Egyptians were going to flood some amazing antiquities to build the Aswan Dam. A group formed to raise money and protect them by moving them from the flood zone. That committee went on to protect and preserve many, many places as world heritage sites so important they should be shared and maintained for all people of the world. To read more about UNESCO, click the link below.

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Our guide Wu pushed us to leave the quaint  Naxi village of Yunshangping and head  up the mountain to Hanzai.  The road is gravel out of the village but is paved as we near Hanzai.  In the middle of nowhere, no town, no warning, we come to a huge modern restaurant that Wu tells us is the only one that serves travelers on this rural  mountain road. I grabbed a quick picture of a man adjusting his feathers, just because he was so exotic looking. Haven’t a clue who, what, why; no one near by to ask.  A five star restaurant in a place like this?  Obviously government run.

Under a bridge over terraced falls, locals are bathing  their yaks. Vicki okays a one minute stop for a picture because there is no easy stopping place.

The cowboys were quite laid back, taking a break, with plenty of watchers besides the few of us who got out and grabbed a picture from above.

Lunch time is in full swing as we arrive in Hanzai.  Braiziers and  portable woks  reveal a fascinating variety of  foods we don’t recognize and would love to try. One can’t blame Vicki, or any tour guide for that matter, to ask us not to eat at vendors like this because then she has to deal with someone who gets sick on the tour.

  Some of the foods are recognizable, but the hot pots with boiling oil, spices and chilis scenting the air mixed with a bit of burning incense wafting by?  You know you aren’t in Kansas.I’m such a foodie. Oh how I wanted to taste the hanarabi made by taking a piece of flat dough with rounds of what looks like salami wrapped  inside of it and then fried in a wok that measures three feet across.  And boiled peanuts. Ah…well, its a good thing Vicki made sure we were well fed. The sights and smells really are an unforgettable memory.

This young couple appeared to be getting ready to cook duck for their lunch on the sidewalk.

But, we are here to see and photograph the mountain, and we load into a gondola in Hanzai at 7,800 feet elevation that carries us to a flat, beautiful meadow at 10,000 feet.

We take the boardwalk about a half mile through the woods and run into exotically costumed Naxi people from the Mossel tribe and they are not shy about  picture taking.

Since it is lunch time, these people seem to be enjoying a picnic on the grass.

We arrive at the meadow and see 30 or more kiosks and soon learn why these Naxi people are readily photographed.

For what to us is a small fee you can have your picture taken with a costumed Naxi with the beautiful mountain in the background.  Chinese tourists line up for the pose but our group avoided the commercialism and simply enjoyed the atmosphere.

Riding the gondola back down was particularly enjoyable for the  beautiful view of the surrounding area.

I talked to my gondola mate and she couldn’t understand a word I said. She spoke to me and I couldn’t understand a word she said. We smiled and talked. She accented to a picture. As the gondola nears the bottom it slows for the photographers to take a picture with their polaroids. They quickly lay them out so that by the time you get unhitched you can see your picture and buy it. I thought I’d buy the picture for my friendly companion. She held up a hand and said, “No pay!”  She bought the picture for me, instead. I was grateful that I remembered how to say thank you in Chinese. She indicated that I should walk with her and she took me to meet her daughter. Annie, it turns out, spoke perfect English. She was on vacation from San Diego. What a delightful exchange.

When I got on the bus, everyone was talking about the Chinese sex manuals. Sex manuals?  It turned out I was the only one who hadn’t seen them. One of my tour mates pointed at a kiosk in the bus parking lot. The bus was running but Vicky wasn’t aboard yet. I got off the bus and bought one. Tedd told me at dinner that night that some of the workers on board the ship had surreptitiously tried to sell him those same carvings. He didn’t buy and I did. We laughed. I was curious and obviously so was everyone else or they wouldn‘t have been talking about them. I passed them around the bus for everyone to see. They are 2 inch square pieces of bone joined together in a circle like a bracelet, showing sexual positions.

I complained about the pit toilets at the tourist center?  Oh, these were much worse. Thank goodness I’m a camel and could choose to wait until we got back to Jiliang.




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