190906 in some unnamed village (a Mongolian name?) in far northwestern Xinjiang Province, in far northwestern China. If we were any closer to Mongolia or Russia, we'd be in it!
In the past 24-hours, an experience with a ghost, a collision with a camel, and an eagle on my arm! Such is the life of Haqi, 'spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety!'
I don't remember my last BLOG entry, I'll have to look...? Ah, it's the 12th of September. In the meantime we made it to Loch Kanas, and stayed 2.5 days ('In Search of the Loch Kanas Monster!' cycling video).
Kanas Village, where we rented beds (I camped out) reminded me of the Kalispell Valley (Montana, U.S.A.) in 1962 (I was there selling magazines door-to-door).
The Chinese ('capitalist roaders' ) have developed Kanas Village to the point I could actually get online via China Unicom. Kalispell Valley, Montana, days... Heck, we hadn't even heard of computers, much less the Internet! I remember huckleberry pie, grizzly bears and the 'Hungry Horse Restaurant,' up at Whitefish Lake.
Kanas Village (China) is adjacent the Loch, and inside the 'National Park.' We had to pay 130RMB / $15 U.S. per, just to get into the Park (some 30KM from the village). But, it turned out to be a good idea, as a wonderful experience! We'd cycled some 907KM / roughly 600 miles, from Urumqi, so what to do...? It was raining for one thing!
The Chinese have come into Kanas like all tourist sites, and developed, thus modern facilities for 400RMB per night, or the rustic (Kalispell, Montana, circa 1962 style). We housed and fed four people per night for 200RMB / $25U.S., 'Kalispell style.' This in old log-cabin type buildings, and wood (actually) coal) burning stoves.
It was a jolly affair, being in Kanas, with many Chinese tourists out for a good time (in groups)!
But, the number of the Chinese tourists, waves of them, and a tsunami of buses... Ugh! I think I told 'Tom, I'm going to find a place in China where the tourists don't come, or find another country!' It's overwhelming to me! You get to the 'end of the earth,' only to discover you're 'sharing' it will a million others!
And the noise... If you think you're getting away from 'it all' in Kanas (4,000Km from Beijing), guess again! Dogs barking, rock n' roll music, honking horns, cattle bellowing, people talking (incessantly), and the infernal combustion engine!
But, we were there in search of a 'monster!' At least the legend of the Tuwa people (local Mongolian trible). It seems there was 'one,' a 'monster,' in ancient times, probably a crocodile-like creative that rose up out of the water to grab livestock grazing too near (and had them for 'breakfast'). Thus, mothers warned their children, 'stay away from the lake or the monster will get you!' You know how this goes! It gets passed down from generation to generation to this very day! Now, good for tourism!
We got several good interviews on video (although I couldn't understand the language spoken) about the monster. People exclaiming how this 'thing' came up out of the water, even a women who works at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told a story about her discovering huge 'red fish' (been there many times(. She spoken English having studied in Canada.
I've had the feeling too, that there are some very large 'fish' in the loch (fishing not allowed), maybe trout as I've heard of such in the deep (180 meters / 500ft.) lakes of this part of the world (Kyrgyzstan, and Siberia included). Trout so large, you think there are 'monsterous!'
We didn't see 'the monster,' except in the form of large tourist buses. One almost injured me, running me into a guard rail (no place to go) on the highway comong.
But, we did discover a beautiful part of the world! Put, a aqua-marine-water- colored lake at the foot of Crestone Mountain in Colorado, and you'll get some idea of the 'Colorado-mountain-like' beauty of this part of China. Note, I'd heard it was the most beautiful lake in all of China (although I'll take Nam Tso in Tibet over, as few tourists yet!).
Our last day in Kanas Village, the weather was sunny so we bought a ticket (100RMB / $12U.S. per) on an excursion boat. It powered by twin Evenrude 425HP engines)--a 'bus' on water. A Chinese girl gave a spiel as we 'whizzed' over the water at 25 knots. We went as far as the Chinese Government allows stopping, allowing us to climb to the deck above and take the obligatory photographs (I 'shot' video of course).
It wasn't by accident that I had planned this cycling excursion for September. I'd heard from Toby Wheeler (who'd visited last year) the leaves would be turning color (yellow and red) and the best time to see. He was right, and we 'hit it' at exactly the right time (hope you can see in the video, images and photographs we amassed).
The day before we had gone to the top of a hill overlooking the Loch. Of course, the Chinese tourist takes a bus everywhere! 'Tom' (Xu Tan) and I rode our bicycles as far as we could go (7 KM), then hiked up another 3 KM (they don't allow bicycles on the narrow paved road). 'Ceres' and Mr. Gong, 'bussed' and walked (Mr. Gong having to retreat from the exertion) .
Tourists covered the hill like ants looking for food. They, however, looking for the right 'angle,' for the photograph to take back home (on the bus)! The vista I must say pretty spectacular of the Loch and river valley below.
I was asked several times to pose with various Chinese tourists, as I'm somewhat of an anomaly in China (an old foreign man on a bicycle). I told 'Tom,' I feel like a 'movie star' in China!
I must say again how hospitable the Chinese people are (atleast to me)! Always friendly, always encouraging, except when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle! They are always telling me how 'strong' I am (doing what they think impossible). But, it's like when you know you don't deserve the 'compliment,' as riding a bicycle long distances relatively easy for me as much experience (seven years now).
The night before departing I decided it would be best to sleep inside 'Tom' and Mr. Gong's room (food storage too), as it was frosty in the morning and best to pack the tent when dry (the night before). So, I slept in my sleeping bag on a metal bunk facing the door, 'Tom' and Mr. Gong in a 'double' together behind.
I go to bed early, the others, in this case 'Tom' and Mr. Gong, later. I also arise early, as I like the early-moring silence to meditate.
But, I don't sleep as much as 'drift off,' and in and out of... I remember, them getting into bed about 2200 hours / 10P.M., and turning out the light (one bare bulb).
I have the 'older' urination problem, I wouldn't normally mention but since it figures into the following 'ghost story,' I must. In order to not have to get out of bed I have a bottle with top, a handy affair I purchased in our first village (unnamed) on this trip for such. Thus, I don't have to get out of bed, putting on clothing and walking to an 'outhouse' 100-meters distances (sometimes)--in the mountains, cold!
During the night, while 'awake' I 'heard' and saw who I though was 'Tom' move out the door (don't remember him opening it). From the back it looked like 'Tom' at least, thus nothing 'out of the ordinary.' And although 'Tom' rarely gets up to go to 'the toliet' in the middle of the night, I didn't think anything about it, it was so obviously 'Tom.'
At the same time I'd been having 'the urge,' and now wondering if I should do now, or wait until after he returned and was fast asleep again (I guess I'm modest not liking to pee into a bottle privy to others). So, I waited, but then when he didn't return for so long, I hurriedly pissed into my bottle (easy for men, impossible for women). Now, 'relieved,' and snug in my sleeping bag I got worried what was taking 'Tom' so long? Note, I get concerned when anyone is missing for too long (as 'guide' responsible)!
Finally, I turned on my 'torch,' (headlamp) to check to see who was in bed. Sure enough 'Tom' (and Mr. Gong) were fast asleep, but now 'Tom' asking, 'Anything I can do for you?'
I instantly knew what I'd experienced was a 'ghost' (male image going 'out the door,' although it didn't open the door, just went through it!).
Now, I wasn't concerned at the time nor now, as I've had experiences with ghosts (polstergeists) before. The last in Big Bend, Texas, in 1995.
Interestingly, as I explained to 'Tom' and 'Ceres,' the following morning: 'They' (spirits), at least to me, always appear in remote places, and in old buildings. I don't think 'they' like crowded cities (too much crazy energy) or modern facilities (as they're 'old').
I also explained this about the phenomenon: 'We are energy in form. When we 'die' the matter (the bodily form) returns as to the earth (in different form). But, the energy remains.
'Ghosts' reconstitute themselves 'in bodily form' with the help of other 'benevolent' energy (mine in this case, as they 'know' such). They are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they are afraid of us, and don't want to scare us into some kind of strange behavior.'
Conclusion about Loch Kanas... I'm not sure about monsters in the Loch, but I know for sure there are ghosts in the village! I experienced one as described.
Early, I also mentioned... two other unusual things happening to me! Both of these cycling back, as we had come, but both still in the Park. The first, with a camel, cycling with 'Tom,' but following behind with the camcorder (thus, he didn't see this).
Now, you have to understand here in Xinjiang Province, camels are the 'beasts of burden' of choice! The Kazaks and Uyghurs, use them as such, also to make money with, as the tourists like to ride (Rucha, 'Tom' and I did such outside of Turpan, months ago). They happen be prevelant in this region of Xinjiang (we've seen and videotaped) many on this trip surprising me (as not desert).
I was cycling up a hill, a herd of sheep to our left, much vehicular traffic on this highway causing me some anxiety (no room on highway). I hadn't noticed the group (Dick ? ) of camels behind me! Suddenly, and talk about an unusual feeling, one camel, scared by a vehicle, ran almost over me (bumping past to my right). But, the impact enough to cause me to recover from falling. When I realized what had happened or what could have happened, that rush of fear! But, at the same time, amazement! I've had some unusual experiences in my cycling career but this was a first!
Speaking of 'An Exaltation of Eagles!' (see footnote #2 on this page), I got to hold an eagle on my arm further up the highway! Of course, this cost 'dinero' (RMB in this case). I had seen this eagle (and the woman 'handling') on the way down, but couldn't get to my cash). Now, with 'Tom,' we stopped to videotape such (cost 10RMB or $1.50 U.S.)--the bargain of a lifetime!
The eagle is the symbol of America, holding in one hand olive branches (for peace), and the other arrows (for war). Note, you can see this on any U.S. paper money, the eagle looking in the direction of the olive branches (although I think in this day and age, 2006, the eagle is looking in the direction of the arrows).
I don't know what kind of eagle this was, I said 'Golden,' (to 'Tom and Ceres') as western terminology. Of course, is wasn't 'bald' (with white neck feathers), but a truly glorious predator! At only one-year of age (we found out) weighing atleast 5KG (13lbs), and the heavy enough to struggle holding up. Of course, we have this on videotape for you to see (eventually)! It's the first eagle I've ever been close to, and wonderful to experience (not in a zoo). I can die happily now!
So, like I said earlier... In the space of a 24-hour period, an experience with a ghost, a collision with a camel, and holding an eagle on my arm!'
Haqi, Hutch, and Alexander (for Rucha).... 'Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety!'
Somewhere in far northwestern China, making magic with you!