Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tibetan horse festival

Words, or at least my words, can't do justice describing the amazing and beautiful sights I have been able to see in the last month or so. After leaving malaysia I flew to china and that evening again enjoyed the delights of chinese sleeper buses. as before, when nathan and I took overnight buses, I realized I do not quite fit into chinese size sleeper buses! However, I arrived safely in lijang the next morning only slightly worse for wear. The city of lijang is, as I soon learned, like many chinese historical sights. It seems when china discovers tourist are interested in a beautiful historical region, they tear it down and rebuild new buildings to look like the old ones. Add a few discos, night clubs, a few hundred souvenir stalls and a couple thousand chinese tourist and ta-da, the city is complete. Nonetheless, looking past all of this, lijang was beautiful and I discovered the most delicious yak yogurt.

From lijang I went to tiger leaping gorge. Did a pleasant 2 day trek through the gorge before continuing north. Saw, and walked on, my first glacier. It was a tough 4 hour hike up the mountain, but well worth it. From here, I made it to litang, the reason I came back to china in the first place. Although they wouldn't sell us bus tickets initially, we were finally able to get a guest house to purchasethem for us. they claim that the roads are too bad for tourist, but I think it is actually because it is so close to tibet and the gov didn't like tourist to get too close without being supervised. litang was an amazing town. Everyone was dressed in traditional tibetan clothes, spoke tibetan (not mandarin), and was so nice.
In the morning we headed to the horse fair. We were told to just follow the people and we would be able to find where to go. By following this advice, we ended up in a wedding procession to the temple! Watched the 5 minute ceremony and was then invited upstairs in the temple for the reception. I took a quick look around the temple but didn't want to miss the horse races so I didn't stay long. Finally found the horse races, wow. It was spectacular. - there were maybe 100 horses or so, but they were elaborately decorated with ribbons in their tail and mane. I watched as riders, all dressed in full tibetan outfits

In the morning

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