so as usual been super busy - china is very tiring! there is so much to see and do and you have very little time to sleep!
on wednesday we took yet another night train on our way to lijiang. it was a 14 hour journey and unfortunatly all of us had the top bunk beds which was like being in a coffin! you couldnt even sit up and the ladder to the top was scary! we had some drunken chinese men beside us that just sat drinking 'alcohol' - thats all it is, not wine, whiskey, rum, just 'alcohol' of 54%. one of the men on our trip had bought this awful chinese rice wine and so him and the chinese men bonded over their awful drinks. one of the chinese men then told him to try what they were eating (by sign language) and so he tried it only to later discover it was chicken feet!!! he felt a little ill after that. the top bunk did not agree with me as during the night i ended up being sick twice :( and in a squat toilet which is not very pleasant at all! straight after the night train we had to go on a 12 hour bus journey as lijiang does not have a train station. it got worse. the bus journey was up on back mountain roads as the usual main road was closed due to part of a mountain collapsing. the roads were horrific, so bumpy with pot-holes everywhere and the 'driver' we had whizzed round the roads at high speeds right at the edge of cliffs while speaking on his mobile phone - i honestly thought we wouldnt make it to lijiang! even our tour guide was scared! on the way we stopped for lunch and made a toilet stop which i am still traumatised by. at the restaurant there were two squat toilets together with no doors and some chinese woman walked in and sat down next to me. i felt violated. the second one we made a stop at was basically a hole in the ground with bugs etc everywhere. i was so scared my bum was going to get stung by a wasp! this was the day i hit my limit with how much i could cope with!
anyway finally made it to lijiang and (i guess) it was worth the traumatic journey as it was absolutly beautiful. the people are so chilled out and it has a lovely ancient town that gets all lit up at night. there were lots of little stalls and local shops selling beautiful handmade things - had to control myself! a lot of the people wear their traditional clothes, most are from the naxi minority. the first night there we went to the ancient town which comes alive at night. lots of live music - singers and bands, people dancing around and bars singing songs to eachother across the stream.
the next day we went to snow-topped jade dragon mountain on the local bus which was interesting! to get to the mountain we had to go up in a cable car which was terrifying! i dont like heights that much as it is, it took us up about 4500 meters. it was cold on the mountain - like a scottish day which i am no longer used to! then we climbed up to the highest point we could go to. we were very lucky as it was quite misty and cloudy and when we got to the top the sun suddenly came out and gave us brilliant views. no one has ever managed to climb to the top of this mountain before for some reason - dad you can do it! at the top there were colourful tibetian religious shrines for worshipping the gods.
yesterday we took the bus to zhongdian (where i am now). on the way we stopped at the famous tiger leaping gorge where we were able to wander around and look at the wonderful scenery. it was beautiful to see but the chinese have a bad habit of ruining their nature by building stairs and tunnels everywhere. you wouldnt get that in the hills in scotland! they like to even control nature and there was a man with a loud speaker telling you to watch out for falling rocks from the mountain. i dont think you would be able to do much or get much warning if a rock fell on you!
zhongdian isnt the prettiest or most exciting city in the world, we are here just for today as surrounding the city there is some nice scenery. wandering around the town i noticed that the shops just hang the meat outside all day for you to buy (no thanks) so there was bits of animals everywhere with flies all over them. we thought it would be safer to eat at the hotel so we ordered a 'hot pot' which is just a mixture of different foods you help yourself to. in it there was pigs legs and feet, pigs cheeks and bones, and what most defintely looked liked brain! needless to say i lost my appeitite. some of the others were a bit more adventurous than me but id rather not eat! during the night i heard a pig squeeling really loudly and then some thuds and then silence ... poor thing. i dont want to eat pork anymore. i like pigs :(
today we went on a hike in the mountains. it was nice to see but completely tired me out! maybe il be fit by the time i get home! we saw lots of baby pigs (adorable) and cows and yaks. then we had lunch at a tibetian family's house. thankfully the food was all vegetarian as i saw their meat hanging outside as we arrived. i was only brave enough to eat bread and potatoes though as everything else was made with yaks milk.
tomorrow we leave for dali which im really looking forward to, its meant to be a lovely place. means another bus journey of about 9 hours though! and in the mountains again ... maybe i should take some sort of pill to knock me out for the journey! haha.
i tried to upload my photos from chengdu and lijiang but its playing up for some reason, will add them later when i can.
much love, hope all is well in aberdeen, missing you all!