Sunday, July 13, 2008

shangri-la (zhongdian)

Shangrila, located at 3200 meters, greeted us with a chilly breeze, overcast sky, and a slight headache. Taking the evening easy to acclimatize we got to know several travelers, all escaping the cold within the walls of the hostel. A dinner at a Tibetan restaurant was none too overwhelming, but the tea (jin cha) heated us from the inside out. Delicious! The next morning, feeling much better, we started exploring this small Tibetan-ish town. The old town was geared for many more tourists than there actually were. We quickly found a food stall with some great Iraqi-pita style bread, baked on the spot, and would return there many more times during our short stay in Zhongdian. We climbed up to the small temple at the edge of old town and admired the calm of the surrounding mountains encompassing this village. And then it started raining. And it rained, and rained, and rained. Despite this we saw some of the new town, and then ran into an Israeli couple that we had met in lijiang, Hagit and Shmulik, who had retired early and are currently living in Chengdu. We went together to the main Tibetan monastary outside of town. It was amazing: the monks smiled and greeted us in every doorway and passageway, the incense created a mystical atmosphere, and the bright colors livened the mood. I think that Hagit and I were more excited than the boys but nevertheless we were all enamored by the surrounding green fields. We continued on together for a dinner of jiao-zi (dumplings), then split off when we saw yet another traveler that we had met in Lijiang. After getting some more tips for the road we went back to the hostel, to be greeted by yet another plesant surprise: Kim and Will had made it to our hostel. Waking up to another rainy day, we had one more breakfast together the next day, before parting ways. The weather had decided for us, it was time to head back south. We spent most of the day on another eight hour bus to Dali.

2 comments:

  1. amazing how you meet Israelis everywhere!

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  2. Michael and Daphna. It's so cool every step of your trip.
    Can you post more pictures?
    I printed all pages from your blog. It's now 10 pages long.
    Keep going. Have fun, but be safe. Love you both.
    Roby

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