Saturday, October 02, 2010

021010 Lijiang, China

021010 Lijiang, China

Where was I...?  Oh yes, I was cycling in Tibet.  But now back in Lijiang.  It took four months to get to Mt. Kailas (from Lijiang), on a bicycle.  But, via train and plane, only 4 days to return.

I thought it a good idea to try to synopsize 'Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas,' (five-month bicycle adventure) and this even though I have a daily log of literal events (the pain of it all).

After returning to Lhasa via motor vehicles, we had much to do.  This, of course, took most of our attention, but I did get to indulge myself eating 'laowei' food.  I had lunch everyday at the Dunya (restaurant attached to the Yak Hotel), coffee and treats at the Summit Cafe (copying Starfucks), and our favorite (the Accordian Bakery Restaurant).

We  had our big meeting with TCITS (cost us a mere 5,000RMB), and dealt with our truck (destroyed engine).  The truck cost us another 8,000RMB!  So, it turned out to be an expensive trip (home).

Nonetheless, I managed to deliver/offer our two holy objects to Mt. Kailas (my reason for living in China).  What price, peace?

After nine days in Lhasa, I along with Xutan and Xuni took the train.  I got off in Xining, but they stayed on until Xi'an.

The rest of the group:  Zhu and Shingo cycling from Lhasa to Llijiang (through Kham).  Elvis back to Shenzhen.  Mr. Peng went home (?).  Fei is cycling to Kathmandu!  We started something a  'rhizome' of sorts, a giant spreading root (idea) that will spread all over the world!  It's called, 'Bicycle the World!'

I spent time in Xining walking all over, enjoying eating at Casa Mia, The Green Place, and The Amdo Cafe.

I gave a dinner/party for my Xining Chinese family, some 30 people, that Ms. Chen paid for.  It was a wonderful time, the laundry women even crying when thinking of missing me!  I was overwhelmed with their love, for which I've done nothing to deserve!  I felt humble in their presence!

Then the next day I flew back to Lijiang via Chongqing.  Lots of waiting in an overcrowded airport.

Luckily, Bruce and Keith were there to greet me when I arrived back in Lijiang, this in the brand new (open only two days before) airport terminal. 

Now, I ensconced in Alex, Michel and Odile's 'Rhizome - Lijiang Art Center.'  It's many things, but also food and shelter for friends, artists, and anyone who's smart enough to partake of such an ambience.  But, this place requires an invitation!

I'm staying on the 2nd floor equivalent to a four-star hotel room (all the conveniences).  The total facility large (2000sq. M) , and in courtyard shape.  So, during the day we sit in the sun, in the evening we sit in front of a wood fire. 

I love wood fires, which you can't have any more in the U.S.   I'm Sagittarius, a fire sign!  And my Tibetan name, Nima, means 'the sun!'   All too yang actually!

Living here reminds me of living in Mexico.  It has the same ambiance.  Relaxed, comfortable, good food, luxurious living, flowers, sun, marijuana ('dama' in Chinese) and wonderful climate. 

I'm blessed to know Alex. (Michel and Odile), the 'innkeepers,' as he/they invited me.  They have a wonderful group of friends, some local, some just passing through.  But, part of the reason I travel you meet the most interesting people.

I'm here for at least three weeks, possibly longer if I can extend my visa.  But, if I can't I've (along with Xutan) got to move to another country.  New Zealand being the country of choice as it's best to be there in summer (opposite of here).

While I'm here I'll try to finish all there is to write about our recent cycling adventure, my 'Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas.'

Stay tuned!